Again and again we witness violence and outbursts of emotion in our society. Burning refugee homes, shot dead policemen, open hostility, rage against politicians, against refugees, against the wealthy, against the lazy – the list could continue forever and it is the result of an extremely dangerous development.
In the last few decades, we have witnessed a significant increase in the prosperity of the wealthy and an increasing lack of opportunities for the poor. The middle class has been getting smaller. The middle class, who once held together the company, is now hardly present. The division of society and the gap between poor and rich continues to increase.
With the increase of the lower and upper class and simultaneous shrinking of the middle class, not only monetary but also sociological extremes develop. There are no more people who are satisfied easily, but only individuals who either want to escape from their misfortunes or those who want to save their wealth at any cost.
The rich see and realize that the lower class is growing and associate this with many negative factors: unemployment, crime, moral decline. In short, factors that could jeopardize their wealth.
The poor notice that the rich are getting richer and feel that the resulting social injustice becomes ever more evident. Due to the elimination of the middle class they feel they got left far behind and have little hope of ever being able to ascend again.
At the same time, the digitization of communication leads to greater visibility of prosperity and greater partitioning of the wealthy. It’s never been easier for the poor to watch how well the rich were doing, – Facebook and other social media make it possible that one can at least be virtually close to the wealthy and thereby very clearly sees what one cannot afford if he/she belongs to the lower class.
The rich, however, withdraw to their own filter bubbles. They realize that there is increasing social unrest, but they hardly deal with why the lower class continues to grow and how it must feel to have little or no money. On Facebook and other social media, they keep to themselves and automatically filter the content they get to see at the networks at which they are present.
In addition, parties and politicians play on the fears of both sides – on the part of those who have something to lose and of those who would like to have something to lose. Whether Trump, Hofer, Johnson, Farage or AfD – the mechanisms behind these political phenomena are always the same. They play with the needs of citizens and the fear that they cannot be satisfied. Undoubtedly, it’s not only about economic prosperity but also about safety and order.
Due to this dangerous mix of fear, lack of satisfaction of needs, increasing withdrawal to filter bubbles, growing inequality and political initiatives that take advantage of this very situation, we are sitting on a powder keg that probably has a higher explosive power than anything we have experienced in the past 90 years.