Wise Tim - Under the affluence

Author : Wise Tim
Title : Under the affluence Shaming the poor, praising the rich and sacrificing the future of America
Year : 2015

Link download : Wise_Tim_-_Under_the_affluence.zip

Introduction. When Charles Dickens began A Tale of Two Cities with the famous line “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” he was referring to conditions in eighteenth-century London and Paris, prior to the French Revolution: a time during which the splendor of great wealth and power rested uncomfortably aside the rising discontent of the masses. Pointing out the grotesque economic, social and moral contradictions of feudal Europe was Dickens’s purpose, accomplished by the author in a style and to an extent rarely matched before or since. And yet, although it was a very different time and a very different place than that in which (and from which) I write these words today, much of modern life in the United States calls to mind this opening literary salvo, for here too we can see a tale of two cities, or rather, two nations, increasingly in conflict. On the one hand, millionaires and even billionaires are being minted at a dizzying pace. McMansions, high-end real estate developments and gated communities are popping up all over the country, barely slowed for even a moment by the economic crisis that struck in the first few months of 2008. The high-end luxury market for everything from cars to private planes to vacation packages to fashion is steaming ahead full bore, with those able to access said markets earning more than ever, able to create for themselves a secure, private and cloistered world. This is an America that regularly pampers its pets at luxurious day spas, adds to its already impressive wine cellars bottles that will never be drunk but are merely to be possessed, and takes regular weekend trips to places most Americans will never see except by way of a Google search. This is an America willing and able to pay $1 million for a guaranteed parking spot in New York’s SoHo, or $9,000 a year to have their own private Facebook rip-off called Netropolitan, which allows them to avoid having their feed cluttered with pictures of middle-class people’s cats. This is an America where the thirteen-year-old children of the nation’s wealthy help their parents pick out multimillion-dollar condos for the family, and where twenty-two-year-olds to whom the New York Times refers as “creative souls” wince at the prospects of finding decent places to live in the city for a mere $3,700 per month. It’s an America that throws $50,000 birthday parties for its children because you’re only seven once, and it’s an America whose richest college students hire “concierge” services to help them do everything: “decorate apartments, get academic tutoring, snag coveted restaurant reservations and handle a litany of other bothersome chores,” not to mention assisting them when it comes to getting bidets installed in their fancy bathrooms. ...

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