The following reader comment, posted originally in the FT is a must read, both for the world’s lower and endangered middle classes but especially the members of the 1% elite because what may be coming next could be very unpleasant for them.
Elites have lost their healthy fear of the masses
Sir, Martin Wolf (“The losers are in revolt against the elite”, Comment, January 27) and Andrew Cichocki (“Elites are listening to the wrong people”, Letters, January 29) skirt the key issue: global elites have lost a healthy sense of fear.
From the time of the French Revolution until the collapse of communism, what successive generations of elites had in common was a sense of fear of what the aggrieved masses might do. In the first half of the 19th century they worried about a new Jacobin Terror, then they worried about socialist revolution on the model of the Paris Commune of 1871. One reason for the first world war was a growing sense of complacency among European elites. Afterwards they had plenty to worry about in the form of international communism, which remained a bogey until the 1980s.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the spread of global capitalism, today’s elites have lost the sense of fear that inspired a healthy respect for the masses among their predecessors. Now they can despise them as losers, as the aristocracy of ancien régime France despised the peasants who would soon be burning their châteaux. Surely today’s elites are going to learn how to fear before we see any reversal of the recent concentration of wealth and power.
Is it time for pitchforks to restore the natural orders of fear yet?