The Land of Distractions

“The oppression of the poor must establish the monopoly of the rich. Profit or income inequality are always highest in countries which are going fastest to ruin.”
-Adam Smith

This quote, which was spoken over 200 years ago, still seems oddly relevant today. With wealth disparity increasing and labor force participation rates dropping, it becomes evident that we are currently riding on a one-way trip towards calamity. Or we should be.
One would expect that in such a time, a time of historical injustice and senselessness, the streets of rich neighborhoods would be flooded with angry mobs of mistreated lower-class workers fighting for closure. But it appears that this isn’t the case. In fact, the past few years have not only been devoid of uprising and aspiration to change, but it seems as if nobody thinks that something is wrong.
This begs the obvious question of “Why?” Why are we so oblivious to what is clearly happening right in front of our eyes? It would be reasonable to think that those who live in a country that only cares about money would also be inclined to be well-informed about the occurrences in the world of finance. In addition, the information is accessible to everyone, on finance blogs, statistics charts, and online news headlines.
But, the more time you spend on the internet trying to find new, helpful information, the more evident the problem becomes.
It is basically impossible to go on the internet nowadays without getting hit by a barrage of ads and seemingly interesting links. Want to check the latest stock news? Well, you’ll have to wade through all of the grilled cheese tutorial videos and Kylie Jenner life-updates first. So, we have all the information in the world at our disposal, but all of this information is hidden behind a wall of carefully placed distractions.
This is yet another one of the many remarkable aspects about America that makes it such a fascinating country; It provides its citizens with an abundance of information from which enough knowledge can be acquired to get a graduate degree in any field, but strongly supports systems whose sole purpose is to divert the user’s attention away from this information. It’s shocking, but not necessarily aimless. To me, this all seems like a clever way to distinguish the future 1% and the other 99%. The few who understand this will strive to benefit as much as possible from the plethora of free information that is provided to them, while ignoring the common distractions and frivolous topics that are so highly praised in mainstream media. On the other end of the spectrum lay those who avoid experimenting with obscure subjects, such as investing and macroeconomics, because it is unpopular with the crowd. 

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