oftwominds | Combine identity politics with political correctness, and the New Nobility/Oligarchy can laugh their way to the bank while their pawn-serfs fight over how many politically correct angels can dance on the head of a pin.
I have long held that our economy is, stripped of propaganda, nothing but an updated version of feudalism, i.e. neofeudal: a vast class of precarious laborers (i.e. precariats--precarious proletariats) who own little to no wealth-producing capital ruled by a New Nobility/Oligarchy that owns the vast majority of wealth-producing capital and control of the political system.
I explained this structure in America's Nine Classes: The New Class Hierarchy (April 29, 2014), Neofeudalism 101: Strip-Mining the Upper Middle Class (April 8, 2015) and The Class War Has Already Started (November 14, 2015).
In the Marxist analysis, there are only three classes: those who must sell their labor to earn a livelihood, those who earn their livelihood from owning wealth-generating capital, and the dispossessed/ marginalized who are dependent on the state (bread and circuses) or who scrape out a living on the margins of the lawful economy.
In this view, there is no meaningful class difference between the well-paid liberal technocrat with the $1 million (mortgaged) house on the Left/Right Coast and the rural conservative "deplorable" wage earner. Both must sell their labor and neither earns a livelihood from wealth-generating capital.
If we extend this analysis, we find that the entire self-described "middle class" is in fact nothing but the better paid slice of the working class, i.e. the class who must sell their labor to pay their rent/mortgage, buy food, etc.
Both are precarious, but not equally so. The well-paid technocrat believes his skills will protect him from unemployment, and he is equally confident that the "wealth" in his mortgaged house and stocks/bonds 401K retirement account is secure and permanent.
He feels superior to the "deplorable" wage earner, but this superiority is contingent on 1) asset bubbles never popping (ahem, which they always do, eventually; 2) software that's eating the world will not eat his job or the premium he is currently being paid, and 3) the skills he currently has won't become over-supplied as the global work force expands into the sectors that require high levels of education.
So what inhibits the awareness of shared class membership and interests? Two dynamics come to mind: the liberal/conservative ideological divide, and the politically correct speech acts that differentiate the two.
The urban liberal technocrat feels morally superior to the "deplorable" wage earner because he 1) considers himself a "winner" and the "deplorable" a loser and 2) he has mastered the politically correct speech acts that signify his superior "progressive" status.