The bottom tier of the American population is made up of slaves. Not metaphorical slaves, in the sense that we’re all slaves to some corporate master or another; the lowest economic class of the population are literal slaves, as in they wear heavy chains around their ankles, they sleep in cages, and during the day they’re brought from their cages and forced to do labor while a slave driver threatens them with a weapon.
Most of them were enslaved because they were too poor to buy their way out of a random slave round-up. Government attorneys — modern day slave traders — have slave catchers round up desperate people they find on the streets. If you’re poor and are hanging out on the streets, you are at risk of being snatched and pressed into slavery. If you have a bit of money, however (even a low paying job is enough), when you get caught in the wrong neighborhood you just have to pay a fee to a special concierge who will act like your friend and keep you out of jail. If you can’t afford one of these professionals, you’ll probably be enslaved.
The pretense on which most of these people are enslaved is drugs. The slave catchers (“police”) believe that if you’re poor and addicted to drugs, or are poor and participate in the drug economy, you actually deserve to be enslaved. They think that freedom is not meant for you. They also know that if you have money and they catch you, you won’t actually end up enslaved; you’ll pay the fine instead. The slave catchers don’t like this. When they go to work in the morning, their goal is to find slaves, not fee-payers. If you’re let off after all their hard work of bringing you in, they feel like failures. So they target people who are unlikely to afford the fine. Slave catchers focus their efforts on neighborhoods with lots of poor people. Poor people can’t pay, so poor people aren’t let off.
Drug use is only wrong if you do it while you’re poor. This is pretty much widely accepted these days. Expensive drugs are sometimes even considered cool. Being addicted to powder cocaine, for instance, is basically another way of saying you have a high social status. Only successful people can afford that addiction. But if you’re into crack cocaine (same drug, different delivery) then you ain’t cool no matter what you do. No one is impressed by your addiction, and the catchers will be eager to enslave you.
Economically useful drug addicts are allowed to keep their freedom. Employed people actually buy and sell more drugs than the unemployed. This makes sense: employed people have enough money to afford a wide variety of designer highs. But these employed drug users just don’t get enslaved in any great number. So at bottom, slavery is about economics. There is a widespread social agreement that people who are economically useless should be enslaved and made economically useful. It’s just good business.
If you get rounded up and can’t pay the fee, you’ll be bussed off to one of the thousands of slave colonies to perform useful, profit-generating slave labor. They’ll put you in ankle chains and wrist chains. You’ll wear an orange uniform.
Don’t bother trying to escape; the underground railroad hasn’t run for generations. Slaves are easy to spot by their orange jumpsuits, and any freeman or freewoman who spots you will use their pocket phone to summon the slave catchers again. No, escape is very much useless for a slave these days. You won’t succeed, but you will be punished for your struggle to be free. So the best advice is to avoid enslavement in the first place, and this means getting money.
Once you’re enslaved, you’ll usually work in manufacturing. Most American slaves work for the defense industry manufacturing high-tech computer equipment that the government has declared should not be manufactured by Chinese slaves. You see, Chinese slaves might be directed by the hostile Chinese government to sabotage American military equipment. At the same time, the American government doesn’t want to have to pay expensive freemen or freewomen to do these jobs that are usually done by Chinese slaves; that’s why it’s so important to have American slaves working for American corporations. American slaves do this grunt work for corporations such as Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas, making stuff like night-vision goggles, body armor, radios, components for 300mm anti-aircraft battleship guns and electro-optical laser range-finding equipment for the BAE Systems Fighting Vehicle. All kinds of stuff.
They say that in the 19th century, slaves were needed, or no one would pick cotton and tobacco. Likewise, today we need American slaves to do work that it’s just not safe for Chinese slaves to do.
So if you’ve ever dreamed of a career building cool military equipment, it’s actually easier to get that job than you think. Just head down to a poor neighborhood and do some drugs. Before you know it, you’ll be caught in a slave catcher’s net and headed off to a new life making night vision goggles.