On the TV, there was a segment last night about consumer spending in this Christmas season. High-end items like Ferraris and entire libraries at Nieman Marcus were flying off the shelves. And then there were the ugly-but-labeled women's hand bags and ludicrous, hooker-inspired shoes ... v-e-r-y expensive and selling like hot cakes.
At the other end of the spectrum, dollar stores -- the places that advertise every item for 99 cents -- were enjoying a serious up-tick in business. Those who had once shopped between these two extremes were clogging the aisles in a push to save what little money was left.
Businesses that catered to a 'middle class' crowd were losing business because, of course, the 'middle class' is declining into a relative poverty. Middling businesses are losing their economic viability. The 'nobility' of the present (not terribly noble, but pretty damned rich) needed more and one way to get more is to create more 'serfs.'
In Saudi Arabia, I once heard, the oil wealth of that nation went partly into assuring that everyone got housing and education and medical care and even a car. The nobility seemed to recognize that when people were taken care of, extreme wealth would be bolstered and assured. No one who feels secure goes out and destabilizes the status quo.
Sometimes you have to wonder how the very rich can be so very stupid.