Even if we take class divisions for granted (as mainstream economists do), then the real picture of material inequality in the United States is staggering. And it has grown much worse in recent decades. Watch the short video below to get a clear picture of just how much wealth the upper 1 percent owns in the United States. By the way, even that 1 percent might be broken out into subcategories, since the upper tenth fraction of that upper 1 percent also has a steeper increase in total wealth.
|Watch: The Staggering Extent of Wealth Inequality of America|
If we take capitalism for granted as the baseline of the economy (as the economist narrating the video below certainly does), then there is still a divorce between public perception of our class divisions and the brute reality.
But that ideal was far removed from the real picture of our economy even by the year 1975. Already the category of the “working poor” and of the unemployed was swelling out of proportion at the base, the middle class was shrinking in the central layers of the class pyramid, and the richest of the rich were skyrocketing into the stratosphere with rapidly accumulating capital. In other words, the “ideal” pyramid of class division looked more like a pancake of social distress at the base, a narrowing middle class tightening the belt in the middle, and a space needle of the ruling class projecting beyond the moon toward Mars.
Democratic socialists favor the extension of democracy into the realm of the economy. And we do not take the recurrent cycles of capitalist boom and bust for granted, accompanied by erosion of civil liberties at home and by imperial adventures abroad. When you watch the video, you will notice that socialism is implicitly removed from the realm of possibility. Only the reform of existing class divisions is marked as the outer limits of human hope.
Nevertheless, watch the video because it is a graphic explanation of the difference between public perception of capitalism, and the present reality of class divisions.