/ Politics

Silver Spoons

At that time the contracts for farms ran for a long time, often for ninety-nine years. The progressive fall in the value of the precious metals, and therefore of money, brought golden fruit to the farmers. Apart from all the other circumstances discussed above, it lowered wages. A portion of the latter was now added to the profits of the farm. The continuous rise in the prices of corn, wool, meat, in short of all agricultural products, swelled the money capital of the farmer without any action on his part, while the ground rent he had to pay diminished, since it had been contracted for on the basis of the old money values. Thus he grew rich at the expense both of his labourers and his landlords. No wonder, therefore, that England, at the end of the sixteenth century, had a class of capitalist farmers who were rich men in relation to the circumstances of the time.

(Marx, Karl. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (Das Kapital series Book 1) (pp. 906-907). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.)

I am reminded of the vast middle class created by the economic boom after World War 2. Baby Boomers became petite bourgeois without even trying, and then proceeded to support politicians and policies that benefited themselves and other property owners rather than the overall public good. Now they wonder why their grandchildren have mountains of student loan debt, a tenuous week-to-week job in the service sector, and a room in their parents’ house that they still have to pay rent on and not a 2000-square-foot house in the suburbs, a new family car, and 2.5 beautiful children.