America is built on that myth.
Pete Ross

Exactly. I have learned from history the people who start at the bottom rarely ever become the ruler, the boss, the CEO, the magistrate, or even middle management. They rarely ever make upper middle-class.

From history’s lessons, we will find that the only time the playing field has ever been level was during periods of upheaval and mass die-offs. Famines, plagues, natural disasters, and wars have allowed human civilizations to change for better or worse by upending and raising to the ground previous socioeconomic and political structures. The Great Plague killed off 30% to 60% of Europe’s population. This event effectively helped lower-class Europeans end feudalism. It gave rise to guilds and eventually mercantilism. The middle class was born.

Another plague hit Europe squarely in London, England in 1665. This was during a time London was also stricken with lugubrious poverty and an assiduous lack of waste management. The people lived on top of each other and regularly dumped waste into the streets. It was a very dirty city. The “self-made,” “innovative,” and “job-creating” classes, the elite, got creative and fled the city to the countryside leaving the poor to their fate. It took a great conflagration to purify the city and make it open and habitable. The Great Fire of London burnt down most of Medieval London within the old Roman walls, but it left the outgrowth of suburban slums and the aristocratic district of Westminster and Charles’ II palace alone.

Both world wars completely devastated Europe and Asia. Approximately 70 million people died in both World Wars combined. 3% of the population was killed off during WWII alone. Infrastructure and buildings were pulverized and turned into ruins. Only the Americas remained untouched. The US prospered, and Capitalism by sheer luck and arbitrariness spread. A new middle class was born in the US and big finance was reined in after the Great Depression. During the world’s recovery from two world wars, the US became the biggest exporter of Social Democracy. Why? Why not prop up right-wing dictators inimical to Socialism like what the US does today? Right-wing dictators are terrible at building infrastructure and improving the lives of their citizens. Allowing the citizens to collectivize, organize, and work together without the obstructionism and the fascism of right-wing governments are the fastest ways to rebuild countries and produce greater wealth and a greater standard of living.

Maybe this was not the desired goal, because after the rest of the world rebuilt their infrastructure and cities, they competed directly with the US causing its economy to tank in the ’70s, prompting the US to privatize its public assets and to get “creative” in finance, banking, and investment even exporting manufacturing and resource extraction into tax-haven countries and the Third World. Another round of austerity and modern imperialism to keep the Capitalist economic machine afloat. Anyway, I digress.

The moral of the story is revolutionary change becomes easy after wars, plagues, famines, natural and economic disasters weaken the elite’s hold on the people and obstructs their ability to do anything about it. We cannot expect any real change in behaviour from the elite or a revolution from the populace until mutual annihilation becomes a real possibility.

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