I have noticed such a transformation in the United States occurring over the last thirty to forty years. It is the transformation of the economy from one of predominant production to one in which the chief source of wealth is the transfer of money from one individual's account to another without the concomitant exchange of any physical commodity in the opposite direction. I call this a ...
The hallmarks of a production economy are occupations like farming, mining, manufacturing. While the primary occupations in a transfer economy involve primarily "pencil pushing", e.g. banking, investments, insurance, legal trades, advertising-marketing.
In a production economy, manual labor or the less intense labor of driving machines to do the same mark the days of a worker's life. He looks with disdain on his "higher ups" who do no manly thing for their bread (his managers). And although managerial positions are logically necessary, they do not proliferate beyond reason because they decrease the the physical output that is the goal of production.
There is some general, innate understanding among workers that watching the work of others and talking about the work of others and planning the work of others ... does not get the work of others ... done ... and is therefore less than worthy. They accept such overseers and respect them principally because the "make more money than we do". Or, as Karl Marx would lament ... they control the means of production ... and we do honor the right of ownership.
What happened that there should be 10 chiefs and only 1 indian?
Somewhere along the way ... in the span of my life ... the old rule of 1 chief to 10 indians has been upturned. Somehow, making money now consists of getting rich as a day trader or suing somebody else for a non-existent auto injury or conning the public into buying a new super diet pill at $153 per bottle.
These schemes are endless and all have existed in one form or another for millenia. It is just this ... they are now the dominant means of making a living in our present era. They have gone from 10% to 60% of the GNP. [I'm picking a number out of a hat here to make my point. I don't know what a true figure would be but it's certainly more than half by now.]
If we are no longer producing goods ... who is?
And ... why are they giving them to us for nothing?
The answer is ... Mexico, Brazil, Korea, Taiwan China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, and, of course, China.
And we, in return, give them money (that is, we give them a pseudo-stable facsimile of wealth). They may know this ... but it doesn't matter. What is happening is that China is becoming an industrialized nation at the expense of giving goods and services to the USA for what amounts to nothing. Well, nothing tangible that is. What they are gaining (industrialization) ... we are losing. We are being hollowed out by our own doings.
Spain is a good analog
When the Spaniards had excessive wealth from gold taken from the Americas, it bought what it needed instead of making it. The effects are still apparent. What was a top of the line superpower then, is just another small country now. Wealth destroyed the ascendancy of their civilization as efficiently as hordes of barbarians. They took the easy road and faded away.
Rome did as much through conquest. It's decay was inevitable.
Here is the test of whether any nation will decay in the future. Ask yourself if your country can maintain its present state if all the other countries sunk below the sea. Would your's survive with just a simple sigh of regret? Or, would it have to hustle "like a muthafucka" just to keep breathing (like the present USA). Do you think that Dr. Greg See-nee-mo'n can grow potatoes instead of shilling fake diet pills? I seriously doubt that you could rely on him for objective production in such a crisis.
Any nation which cannot "make its own stuff" all by itself is a candidate for failure. We can no longer make our own stuff.
When we farm out jobs to other countries we lose not just the jobs but the knowledge that goes with those jobs. The people who did the jobs die off and do not pass their knowledge on to the next generation. Hence, America can no longer put a man on the moon. We must relearn the how of it all over again from scratch. In case you are not aware ... 90% of the knowledge that is needed to sustain civilization is contained in human brains and is never written down anywhere. It can't be ... there is far too much of it. If you don't believe me, try building any complex thing from scratch with just manuals to guide you.
You can thank your politicians for this ... and the TV
Politicians are mindless "fluffs". They have always been so as a class of beings. They sell their souls for election and the accompanying haute couture. They achieve by election that which they most crave in life ... certainly not "to serve the people" ... but rather to be seen and thought of as great and important
They must give up their souls to pander to the majority who elect them ... and ... they must do so now ... on television. Their lives are picked clean of any dirt that will create a stir in the electorate and what is left to be elected is the squeakiest clean human on earth ... he who has nothing at all inside ... the hollow man. And as the country is made, over time, into the image and likeness of its masters ... it is perforce ... hollowed out.
It is inevitable.
There are only three "legal" ways to make a living
One could also do objective work in support of the above free trade such as being a scientist or teacher or the like ... not directly dealing with commodities but doing necessary work to advance and maintain the culture. Even an artist or actor supports the above by being its higher expression ... but not "modern artists" who labor in support of those discussed below.The Circular Syphon is as these do : Banking, Insurance, Investment, Law, Politics, Marketing.
These occupations offer nothing but non-physical services which "you need" because of the way the free market has been hobbled, i.e. you can get around the hobbles only by employing these ne'er-do-wells. They transfer money from one person (or business) to another and extract a "fee" along the way. The greater the traffic, the greater is the "profit", i.e. rake-off. You can see why lawsuits proliferate if you accept the greater traffic - greater profit rule. I've gone into this elsewhere in more detail.
Lastly, is the Ponzi scheme in which nothing is produced, but money changes hands wending its way to the top dog. The incentive is that the guy on the bottom will get his IF he can con an even greater number of fools to join in. This is illegal in its most obvious incarnations. So, you use a "front" like Tupperware or Amway or Avon and sell products on the side of the pyramid scheme ... then it's legal. So long as you have some kind of tangible product in the mix, you can get away with this.
A popular modern variant of the pyramid scheme is the "Cut & Run Pyramid Fake-out" where you set up a pyramid scheme and when the top dogs get enough ... or, feel some heat ... they're gone-ski. I have a co-worker who "invested" $1000 in an art business which has a web site (IGI art) where they have multiple pages of art works for sale all of which are "sold out" ;o) The more suckers the bottom feeders get as "partners" (their friends, relatives and co-workers?), the more money they make. He explained the business to me but ... I demured. Hey, but it sounds reasonable to me!!!
Is this how America leads the world?
Everyone engaged in the above scams is destroying the United States of America. If you are doing objective work in support of these parasites, you are assisting in that destruction whether you are a doorman, janitor or telephone operator. Quit what you are doing and find another more respectable business to work for.