In a highly developed society, the Establishment cannot survive without the obedience and loyalty of millions of people who are given small rewards to keep the system going: the soldiers and police, teachers and ministers, administrators and social workers, technicians and production workers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, transport and communications workers, garbagemen and firemen. These people - the employed, the somewhat privileged - are drawn into alliance with the elite. They become the guards of the system, buffers between upper and lower classes. If they stop obeying, the system fails.
One percent of the nation owns a third of the wealth. The rest of the wealth is distributed in such a way as to turn those in the 99 percent against one another: small property owners against the propertyless, black against white, native-born against foreign born, intellectuals and professionals against the uneducated and unskilled. These groups have resented one another with such vehemence and violence as to obscure their common position as sharers of leftovers in a very wealthy country.
Photograph: Jimmy Sime, 1937, Toffs and Toughs