I so dislike it when people are careless with words because they think this carelessness makes for a good dramatic effect. See the following quote, for instance:
The conclusion is pretty obvious: The United States leads the race towards a banana republic. Or perhaps the return to a feudal society, given that upward class mobility in this country is weaker than in those socialist old-Europe countries.
This is an educated person writing, folks. A person who has every opportunity to read up on feudalism and figure out that what we are seeing in the US today is definitely not it.
I have also noticed several bloggers say things like “many people in the US have slipped into indentured servitude.” This is not only untrue, but also kind of offensive to people like me. My ancestors were indentured serfs, which was a form of slavery – and I don’t mean metaphorically here – that existed in my country until 1861. The accounts of how that system worked are widely available. People were bought and sold by their owners, families were separated, people were mutilated and raped by their owners for fun. So even if you work for Walmart and the work conditions are miserable, you are about a gazillion times better off than an indentured serf. And if you don’t think you are, you’ve got something seriously wrong with you.
As for feudalism, the only social mobility I, as a woman and a descendant of serfs, could have hoped for in a feudal society would be to marry somebody who wouldn’t beat me and rape me too much. I’d be a very stupid person to think that my social status is as immanent in the US as it would have been in any feudal society.
It is also annoying that this could have been an interesting discussion if it hadn’t slipped into this apocalyptic oohing and aahing. Is the upward mobility becoming harder in the US? Compared to what period of time and for whom? Women? Ethnic minorities? Recent immigrants? This is definitely a conversation worth having but it is useless to try to conduct it when the terms of the discussion are vitiated to the point where words stop meaning anything.