Examining contemporary American society through the lens of those moral prerequisites, what we discover is a civilization that in so many regards and contexts fails abysmally to translate these ethical underpinnings into institutional realities.
Though various elements of our population are beset with disparate challenges that are endemic to their economic status in our financial hierarchy, all are buffeted by the evolving negative impacts of ever-increasing concentrations of wealth among ever-decreasing miniscule numbers of our citizens, by the declining employment opportunities within our society as the technological juggernaut continues to replace human labor with computers, as well as by corporations that relocate manufacturing elements of their organizations to overseas locales where labor costs are less expensive.
These trends trigger the unremitting, reality of unemployment statistics which when such categories as underemployment, part-time, and positions that have been stripped of health and other forms of traditional employee benefits are included, impact approximately one-fifth of our fellow citizens.
Among those who live in poverty, the struggle to survive demands herculean efforts to obtain the meager salaries of multiple minimum-wage jobs, as well as navigating the challenges of public assistance programs, to supplement these anemic wages. Health care even with the advent of the Affordable Health Care Act remains beyond the financial capacity of millions of Americans.
Drug and alcohol dependency are escalating in all segments of our nation, but particularly within our deteriorating urban cores, where the physical environments continue to crumble and become uninhabitable. As a result residents desert their unsafe homes and deteriorating neighborhoods, awash in crime and single parent households, and a disintegrating social and religious fabric that reflects the harsh, cruel, lawless, communities that these regions have become.
Ultimately the hopelessness that afflicts these individuals depletes their will to escape this imprisonment, and they become resigned to futures that are bereft of joy, achievement, happiness, and material adequacy. When those for whom a life that is comprised of sorrow, emptiness, and extraordinary anguish, becomes insupportable, they exit from this human circumstance by their own hand.
And if the plight of those who dwell in these society’s basements of impoverishment is appalling, the contemporary circumstances of the middle-class is not a significant improvement. Declining median incomes, stagnating wages, evaporating jobs, are cumulatively eroding both the material platform and psychological serenity of this segment of our fellow Americans.
Moreover, the supreme irony is the financial circumstances of those who have succeeded in attaining an asset base which places them in the upper-middle class and beyond, (with the exception of the miniscule numbers who comprise the apogee of our pyramid of wealth) is the intensifying pressures to retain their privileged status in an economy that continues to shed employees and reallocate to ever fewer senior executives in the corporate and financial communities, remuneration packages comprise of salaries, stock options, perks, and retirement incentives that dwarf in some instances their average employees income by a multiple of 300.