Old mental models will not help us much. If we do not address wealth distribution, then we won’t be able to deal with other issues, such as climate change or environmental degradation. We need people who have the time to think about these. This has traditionally been the middle class, but it is shrinking in most developed countries. The rich alone do not give us the necessary diversity of opinions. An aggressively engaged and intelligent citizenry, in significant numbers, is needed to deal with the wicked problems facing us. Addressing wealth inequality will give us the people and the space to do so.
Because of its large vertical command force (maybe we could call it an “on demand” force) the consumer economy has a structure similar to that of an insurgency. The hierarchical structure that the consumer economy uses to get its “things” is still present, but busy.
The problem with a consumer economy seems to be that the gap between the wealthy and poor gets wider, as the economy fades. So likely what happens is that when the wealthy gain control, as the poorer consumer insurgency loses their ability to command, a new greater hierarchic structure comes into being, and built off the one that is still present. In other words, the “Mitt Romney” of the once powerful consumer economy takes command.
The problem, if I am understanding the post the above quote comes from correctly, in the US these large platform corporations such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google are mostly foreign. At least the majority of their workers are. So if this hierarchical structure gets too “American” and isolates much of the world, these “foreign workers” will not become a part of the “American” economy and there is no structure in the US that can replace them. These computer products are all hand built, and there are just not that many “hands” in the US worker base to replace them.
Of course this is all a bunch of crazy talk, but given the scenario of a consumer economy collapsing, the real problem with this new stronger form of a hierarchical structure taking hold in America will be that the once powerful insurgent consumer structure will change from a negative slope to a positive slope (from a -5/2 to a possible +5/2).
The problem being, a positive sloped economic structure most commonly supports a civil war instead of an insurgency.