The Black Death and the 1%
1351 England was a great place to be. Sure, it was a bummer that nearly 50% of the English had recently died from bubonic plague. But for the half that survived, life was about to get a lot better.
The Black Death put a swift end to Feudalism. For centuries, English peasants had toiled in virtual slavery on small plots of land owned by a powerful nobleman. Suddenly, there was a lot more arable land per person. Peasants immediately started eating better. There was even land left over to raise sheep, which created a profitable wool export industry.
More importantly, fewer peasants per lord meant that noblemen needed to pay farmers more and give them a greater share of the bounty. Otherwise, the fields would go untended. Lords knew that if they didn’t keep their peasants happy, they would leave and work for a more generous employer.
Under Feudalism, the law mandated that noble houses owned the land. In this new competitive environment, industrious commoners began buying farms for themselves and even hiring their neighbors. A new middle class of landed gentry appeared.
The privileged 1% were shameless about trying to rig the game to stay in power. Sumptuary laws were passed that forbade Gentry from dressing in noble attire. All that did was make new middle class clothing fashionable.
The outrageous 1351 Statute of Laborers made it illegal to pay a peasant more than his 1346 wage. Fortunately, the law of supply and demand trumps any man-made rule. The Statute ultimately failed; ambitious peasants flocked to the fields of landowners who were willing to flout the law.
The lesson for us is that we can’t trust politicians to help workers gain more power and a larger piece of the economic pie. We can pretty much assume that any law they pass will exist to impoverish us and hold us down.
However, we do have one trick up our sleeve: we can reduce the population to increase our value and bargaining power.
We don’t have to wait for a plague. Conveniently, Americans are already choosing to die and retire at a faster rate than we reproduce. Now all we need to do is close the border.
We don’t need to kick anyone out or make any tough decisions on Dreamers. We just need to agree that all immigration ceases right now. And that we won’t open the borders again until the power has shifted and every corporate worker has a private sector union, a living wage, and affordable health care.
Ever wonder why absolutely nobody in the Establishment brings up the option of ending all legal immigration? It’s because they know that it’s the only way they can lose their monopoly on power.
It is 1350 all over again. We are the oppressed peasants. The 1% are the lords. And the open border is the feudal system. That is why Establishment leaders want you to think that real immigration reform is as terrible as the Black Death.