Modern society is often compared to past times and ages. Here, Daniel Smith returns and argues that the economic control exerted by a small elite today is similar to seventeenth century capitalism. 

You can read Daniel’s past articles on California in the US Civil War (here), Medieval Jesters (here), How American Colonial Law Justified the Settlement of Native American Territories (here), and Spanish Colonial Influence on Native Americans in Northern California (here), and differences in Christian ideology in the USA (here).

The Declaration and Standard of the Levellers, a 17th century English movement. Gerrard Winstanley was one of the founders.

The Declaration and Standard of the Levellers, a 17th century English movement. Gerrard Winstanley was one of the founders.

In light of our modern Renaissance, we as human beings in our own moral and ethical weaknesses have forgotten as people, that history canrepeat itself. With the invention of the television, computer, cell phone, Internet, and social media… Americans have become comfortable—complacent—and have forgotten about their own vulnerabilities in society. Most of the aforementioned gadgets were all invented within the last 30 years![1]In the last 100 years, government and wealthy private entities have slowly re-aligned the way that society is structured. We tend to easily forget about the history behind how we are even standing here today. Of course, who reallywants to remember their old classes from school? 

Well, if you have not figured out the fact that there are distinct “social-classes” in America and that we as Americans are ran extremely hard in the workforce, then this should help explain how we are living in a society that we can compare to the seventeenth century! It’s pretty eye opening actually. What has happened with the development of the global corporate world is just today’s version of the Hudson Bay Company, or even the East India Trading Company.[2]I learned that a man by the name of Gerrard Winstanley (1609-76) was a clothier and laborer who resided in England. Mr. Winstanley was said to have had “religious visions,” and in 1649, he wrote of these dreams. In arguing his ideas he had mentioned that on our earth, man was destined to slavery and to be “kept in the hands of the few.”[3]

This last quotation of course is his recognition to the fact that the top 2% of wealth holders were the established elite.[4]Seems eerily familiar to today’s 1%, doesn’t it? This hierarchy is based upon the newly structured global societal standards. So where do we all fit in to this historical and rather not too surprising sociopolitical hierarchy? Most of us sit squarely on the bottom two levels as peasants and vassals. In contemporary context the vassals are the top professionals like doctors, large business owners, entertainers, etc. The rest of us are sitting on the peasant level: laborers, farmers, retail and grocery workers, students, soldiers, truckers, etc. It’s really important to see that most of these careers existed in the old world. The differences today are in just how the information is delivered, including the method of the job being done.

While the re-structuring of global society has happened over the last half-century, the most important part of this whole process is to direct how money is controlled. Establishment of the central banking systems were made; entities such as the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank… just to throw out some names. These are the modern kings, queens, and emperors of the medieval and early-modern eras. There are a few ways to manipulate the societal ladder that we are in, such as a decent education and a solid career track. For the most part though, we are all here together, stuck doing our part, and given our own hands to play in life. Further, we can all agree as human beings regardless of spiritual belief, to never part in doing the best we can, as individuals, both morally and ethically while here alive on planet earth.


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Finally, Daniel Smith writes at

[1]Cross, Gary. An All-Consuming Century: Why Commercialism Won in Modern America. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000. p. 17.

[2]Ziegler, Herbert, and Jerry Bentley. Traditions & Encounters, Volume 2: from 1500 to the Present. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2014. p. 462.

[3]G.H. Sabine, The Works of Gerard Winstanley[Ithaca, NY. Cornell University Press, 1941], pp. 251-4, 288.

[4]Wiesner, Merry E. "Politics and Power, 1600-1789." In Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. p. 343.

AuthorGeorge Levrier-Jones
CategoriesBlog Post