Free-market capitalism, a flagrant plutocracy wherein the rich dictate everything, can be decomposed into three layers. The super rich, or upper class, comprise the top 5%, the middle class inhabit the next 45%, and the poor, the lower class, languish as the bottom 50%. Tactically, if the lower class wanted to take down the upper class, they would need to gain the support of the middle class, or at least prevent the middle 45% ganging up with the upper class.
Inversely, if the upper class, tiny in number, were to suppress the lower class, they too would need to gain the support of the middle class. Of course it would work in favor of the upper class to see a knockdown drag-out between the middle and lower classes. There’s a parallel in why there is an ongoing conflict of sovereignty between China and Japan in the South Asia region. The U.S., the “most powerful nation”, is terrified of China (second in military capability) outpacing them; thus they need to team up with the third to suppress it. By pitting the second against the third for the various breads and meats on the table, the first easily takes its fill. It even has the time to consider an appetiser, since those two morons are busy fighting against each other, and have neither time nor energy to eat. In the end, the first leaves without so much as paying a cent. That’s how the game is running.
By the same token, the defeat of the first can be attained only by either the second wrestling with the first, or by the second teaming with the third. Therefore, the stance the middle class chooses is highly influential. As a matter of fact, they, not the super rich, are the biggest deciders of the fate of free-market capitalism.
The middle class can be considered literally essential to free-market capitalism. In prior centuries, in a monarchy, there existed only two classes in society, which were the aristocracy and serfdom. You could belong to either one or the other. As everyone knows, aristocrats were vastly outnumbered by serfs. Sequentially and historically, the minority of aristocrats were put in a very dangerous position, that the majority of serfs could unite together and overthrow them easily, despite it taking enormous effort to push the masses to fight. It’s a simple formula: majority defeats minority.
Why do the super rich, so few in number, never encounter any challenge considering the vastly greater numbers of poor people? The middle class was devised to serve as a buffer class between the upper and lower classes, lest the latter stand up against the former. Think about it: who are the most devoted followers of the free market besides the super rich? The middle class. Who are the most zealous defenders of private property besides the super rich? You guessed it: the middle class. Who most abhors the intervention of government besides the super rich? Right again: the middle class. Above all, who are the most hairsplitting accusers of the Millionaire’s Death Tax (and any form of inheritance tax) besides the super rich? Can there be any doubt? The middle class. Unlike the super rich, they are great in number and hence capable of rivaling the poor, which are also multitudinous. Far from the conventional assumption, the poor actually have no numerical advantage on the rich.
In what way is the middle class formed as a whole? It’s a bribe! The super rich entice portions of the poor into siding with them by providing trinkets that they themselves in fact despise—an apartment (which a CEO of Goldman Sachs would rather die before inhabiting), decent wine (they’d drink water before fouling their mouths with it), high-paying jobs (most of super rich don’t even work), stylish apparel (off the rack? seriously?), BMWs (they would rather walk), and first-class fares (they own private jets). What the middle class is enjoying could never satisfy the super rich. Therefore, they sell it out in return for profits, which are much more appreciable. Cunning, isn’t it? What’s more, it gives the illusion that the poor can first become part of the middle class, and then members of the super rich, by a certain degree of diligence.
Middle-class status is just sweet feed, to lure the bull into the butchery. Why don’t the super rich simply use themselves to bait the poor directly? Isn’t it much more tempting than employing the middle class, to whom they are vastly incomparable? It is because if the super rich were to tell the (in that case) 95%—the poor—that they could become billionaires through hard work, no one would believe it. In fact the super rich themselves wouldn’t allow it. Therefore, they have no choice but to give up a tiny bit of their wealth and create a far less rich middle class to protect themselves.
They succeeded! Instead of taking back what the super rich had stolen from them, the lower class are fascinated by the life that the middle class are enjoying, and do everything they can to attain it. In order to continue this illusion, the super rich occasionally promote some lucky few to their status. This is what the real aim of having a middle class has been from day one: prevent the suppressed making any trouble—that’s all! In return for the safety and support provided by the middle class that they created, the upper class grant them what they want, but still retain control of everything. It’s the briber-bribee relationship, and it’s exactly what has enabled free-market capitalism to operate for so long without any serious threat.