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Social Classes and Historical Epochs

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A middle-manager at a media firm had his boss over for dinner and had the following conversation:

“It was so interesting taking a trip to Gajambia. The people there are very poor and very religious. Their lives and the lives of their children are short and subject to the meaningless afflictions of chance through disease, accidents at the local chrome mine, and the depredations of local criminals. But by visiting them I felt strangely happy and strangely melancholy seeing the noble simplicity of their straitened lives. It was as if to take a journey back to the middle ages, and it amazed me to think that these two epochs could exist simultaneously in one time, separated only by income level.”

The boss responded: “When I see you raising your children in your wife’s uterus rather than a rented one, worrying about your pension plan rather than anticipating genetic life extension, and powering through that second slice of cheesecake from status-deprivation stress-eating I feel a similar wistful mixture of moods: admiration at your nobility in straitened circumstances, horror at the thought I might by a twist of fate be reduced to them, nostalgia for the twentieth century, and an amazement that three times could exist at once on the globe.”

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