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10 June 2007

Paris Hilton and other Americans

I just know the news Paris Hilton was ordered to return to the jail.

She was once released after her 3 days of imprisonment because of her medical condition. There was enormous criticism that she could have been released because of her fame and family's wealth.

This incident and Paris Hilton herself represent what is going on in America.

In Japan, a book "Cho-kakusa-shakai America no shinjitsu (Super Class society, The truth of America)" was published. It was written by Japanese economist, Yumi Kobayashi. She contends there are 4 distinctive classes in America.

The first is High-Society that Paris Hilton belongs to. In this class you have nothing to worry about. They are ruling class and their assets are secured. They control economy, politics and media. Even their offsprings do not have to worry. It is like middle-age European aristocracy.

The second is professional rich like IT tycoons such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. They are smart and succeeded what they want by their talents. They seem to represent "American Dream."

But there are two other classes that are left behind and growing.

One is poor class and the other is dropped-out. The middle-class is shrinking.

They are so poor that they cannot even get an opportunity to succeed. They grow up in families that cannot afford to send them to proper schools. Higher education costs so much money. Yes, US schools usually provide scholarships. But in order to be awarded scholarships, students have to have certain level of education. The schools they come to simply cannot provide that.

America used to be called "land of opportunity" where no matter how poor you are born, you all have opportunity to go to higher class. But the things have changed now.

But why that happened is easily explained. First America's system of wealth distribution had not been changed drastically since the Civil War. For example, our country, Japan's wealth distribution system was drastically changed by the war that ended in 1945. Japan was forced to redistribute the wealth by new authorities which was controlled by US occupied force. Ruling class of pre-war era lost so much fortune. Such things never happened unless the country experience the war or revolution.

Also, America's middle-class wealthy life-style that was appearent in 1950's and 60's was in fact supported by the fact that the world wealth was concentrated in America until those days. Other countries suffered from the loss of the war. Enormous amount of wealth was poured into Americans so that most of Americans could receive high standard of living.

After recovery of those nations, America was no longer the only key player for the world economy. Naturally in free market society, winner grow and losers shrink. The gap between the two is getting bigger and bigger. The result is now. Only top 5% occupy 60% of the wealth. 45 million people don't have medical insurance. 31 million are in hunger.

Maybe we should rethink about America's economical system and its value.

I do not care Paris Hilton goes to jail or not. But I am dissappointed to know that a girl who just happened to be born in a very rich family is spotlighted so much. She is treated like feudal society's princess.