The ugly fact that we must face is that this thing can go much farther still. Plutocracy shocks us every day with its viciousness, but that doesn’t mean God will strike it down. The middle-class model worked much better for about ninety-nine percent of the population, but that doesn’t make it some kind of dialectic inevitability. You can build a plutocratic model that will stumble along just fine, like it did in the nineteenth century. It requires different things: instead of refrigerators for all, it needs bought legislatures and armies of strikebreakers—plus bailouts for the big banks when they collapse under the weight of their stupid loans, an innovation of our own time. All this may be hurtful, inefficient, and undemocratic, but it won’t dismantle itself all on its own.
That is our job. No one else is going to do it for us.
Which of course creates the obvious next question: If it's up to us to do it, how do we go about it? I remain struck by the ease with which the plutocrats Frank drescribes have managed to manipute the political climate over the past several years. From Fox news to the useful idiots of the Tea Party, to opportunitic Congressional redistricting, the deck has been so thoroughly stacked against solving the underlying problems of inequality, it's hard to imagine any enduring solution without a genuine mass uprising. And those closest we've come to that was Occupy Wall Street, which started off with such revolutionary potential, but, as so often happens on the left, fell victim to its own narcissistic idealism.
Where then to look for the next mass movement to overcome plutocracy? As is often the case, we probably won't know it's coming until it arrives. But we can prepare the ground by continuing to point out the problems of injustice caused by the continuing growth in inequality, and reminding people that it's within their power to change it.