Are We Just Creating Feudalism, Again?
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Are We Just Creating Feudalism, Again?

I guess it's time to bust out your medieval peasant garb

29
Are We Just Creating Feudalism, Again?
https://medium.com/@gregorysmithgibbs/jeff-bezos-is-the-real-night-king-1fae62a49a40

Alright, that title probably sounds ridiculous right off the bat, right? Surely this is clickbait, and our society has significantly progressed past the olden days when kings ruled through divine right, nobles lived opulent lives while peasants starved, and the land was ravaged by plague. That's nothing like our current civilization, right?

There's currently a new type of thought that argues our society is actually trending back towards feudalism and the evidence tells a pretty convincing story.

Let's start right off the bat with the concept of 'nobility. While in the US there is no established noble estate, we do still have a class that could be considered an aristocracy. Back in medieval Europe, the noble class was defined by having a large quantity of inheritable wealth, which came in the form of land at that time. While the value of having a large estate does not have the same benefits it did centuries ago, there is still a massive amount of inherited wealth in the upper classes of the US. .3% of Americans receive over a million dollars as an inheritance each year, with the average having more than doubled in the past few decades to $6.6 million. This trend of a steadily increasing inheritance for the most wealthy individuals for several years has resulted in income stratification EXPLODING in the US - actually to the point where our income inequality is worse than that of France before the French Revolution. And the whole thing people were mad about during the French Revolution was income inequality!

Far more worrying is the fact that despite the problem of growing inheritances defining the upper class in the US, there is still a general attitude of the super-wealthy being 'self-made', so they deserve to continue holding power in our country due to their aptitude for finance and our die-hard devotion to free markets. However, if the upper classes are inheriting a large portion of their money, and that is what keeps them wealthy, then they aren't exactly self-made. In practice, this means that the people who have power in our society inherited it. Sounds a lot like how kings passed their power down to their children, doesn't it?

While the above points are concerning, there certainly is greater social mobility in the US currently than in feudal Europe. Additionally, other mechanisms do contribute significantly to the stratification of wealth in the US, such as the stock market, that I've chosen not to highlight because this article is about feudalism and those mechanisms are beyond the scope of this article. Plus, I found a feudalism-inspired meme, and just had to use it somewhere; inequality is a perfect way to make feudalism relevant to you and our society.

Reddit, r/HistoryMemes, u/DorklyDoc

In all seriousness, there is a far more worrisome trend in consumerism that may result in a sort of neo-feudalism, and it's already happening in some industries. Entertainment is probably the best example right now. I want you to think back and try to remember the last time you bought a show or movie - not streamed but bought it so that you have a copy that is your property. It's probably been quite a while, and you definitely don't buy every single show/movie you watch, or even each one that you like and would watch again. While this makes sense, as a subscription to Netflix is way, way cheaper than buying every single thing you could watch on that platform, the fact of the matter is that you don't own any of that media and are totally beholden to Netflix for supplying it. And entertainment isn't the only area of our lives where this is happening - transportation is another big one. As rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber expand, there are a decreasing number of people who actually own their own cars, again making them more reliant on these companies.

You might be wondering what the harms of this new development are. After all, it's cheaper and easier for you and most consumers, so why could that be a bad thing? Well, the issue lies in the ownership of property, or this case, the lack thereof.

Under any feudal system, the majority of people do not own private property collectively or individually, and so are dependent upon the minority who do. This means that functionally, the majority are subject to the whims of the minority who own property, allowing them to gain power and maintain it. Such a situation is what could evolve out of contemporary capitalism as consumers like you and I voluntarily give up our ownership of private property in favor of leasing or subscribing to an easier method. The question of how we maintain our power as individuals in a society where economic power is simultaneously prized and eroded will be fundamental to America's destiny in this century.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1252695

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

784974
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

779584
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

503754
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

313325
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

448800

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.

303469

Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

204366
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments