Hermit Poet’s Answer: Throughout history the wealthy and powerful have taken advantage of the less privileged. The difference is that today corruption is more in our face, more often, involves larger sums of money, and casts a much wider net which includes politicians, powerful, large and medium sized companies, wealthy, as well as the working professional 1%. Of course, some members of the middle class and poor participate is corruption, but on a much smaller scale than the haves.
With the growth over the last three decades of emerging markets, there is a larger amount of wealthy and upper professional class people in these countries. Further, the wealth has been created by either self made, employee compensation, family, political, or bureaucratic connections.
In developed countries, the wealth has been narrowed into a tighter funnel including large companies and the wealthy (self made or inherited ). Upper management employees have also gained with excellent compensation and stock options. Family, political, and bureaucratic connections have also played a part.
The problem is that although there has been more wealth created, the gab between the working stiffs and the wealthy or upper middle class has become wider. Today, having a nice home, a couple of new luxury automobiles, and his and hers Rolex watches is not enough. No, looking good means multiple multi-million dollar homes, yacht, private jet, and several extravagant vacations a year.
Finally, this brings us back to corruption, which is at a historical high because some members of the upper crust can easier cheat for much larger sums and also have the incentive because they need to continue to look and live a life of luxury. The CASH must keep rolling in to pay for it all. Likewise, cutting corners and rolling the dice to gain an edge, in order to keep moving up the ladder of opulence, is the the name of the game. Corruption will exponentially continue to spread its tentacles far and wide. In the meantime, the shrinking middle class and poor struggle to survive.
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