Return to the old world order?

Published 10:20 pm Monday, August 7, 2017

By Joseph L. Bass

Most studies of society have limited focus. But much can be learned from examining a larger scope. For example, much can be seen from looking at the ancient economic patterns involving classes of people.

It is possible to better understand our current political situation by examining three manifestations of the class-based pattern. There is a pattern that has dominated the world’s social structure since before written history. This involves a few politically powerful people controlling government and the economy. The wealth created by the many is claimed by the few for their personal benefit. This results in the social pattern commonly known as the “haves and the have-nots.”

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The United States was founded with the intent of breaking this ancient pattern. The broken chains at the foot of the Statue of Liberty are symbolic of this.

A core tenet of a class-based society involves keeping the poor and uneducated in those states so they will provide cheap labor for creating wealth. This most ancient social pattern took root in the American South during the early colonial era. It involved chattel slavery.

A different pattern developed in New York City, involving a steady stream of “huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” fleeing from oppression. Historically most of their ancestors were bound to the land as serfs. Some credit Alexandra Hamilton as the first to envision this road to wealth.

The history of the result of these two patterns is well known. Until the 1950s, most black Americans were kept in their place in the South through chattel slavery and Jim Crow. Many of those that escaped slavery migrated to New York, where they were kept at the bottom of the social ladder.

Newspapers frequently printed derogatory portrayals of blacks and ridiculed black aspirations for equal rights in voting, education and employment. They were targets of the 1863 Draft Riot during which some were lynched and others burned alive at the stake.

Wave after wave of mostly white immigrants came into New York City. They fared better than the blacks. But those that moved on or up were replaced with more penniless immigrants.

The extreme amount of wealth resulting from application of these patterns is well documented. The American middle class grew out of it.

The third political, economic pattern is new. Application of this pattern has had a negative effect on the American middle class.

This new pattern again involves cheap labor, but advanced technologies have made it possible for laborers in other nations to compete with our workers. They are residents of the many nations that have continued to oppress their people. Various trade agreements have enhanced this situation.

It is unfortunate that today’s mainstream Democrats and Republicans only strive toward returning the United States to the “old world order” in existence before Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. They need to pay attention to these issues, instead of bickering amongst themselves.

Joseph L. Bass is the executive director of ABetterSociety.Info Inc., a nonprofit organization in Hobson. Email him at