Gated communities, copies of the eliteworld
The 80th Letter of an Autonomous Thinker

Bangkok, December 6 2006

Dear reader, 

Elites rule the world.
Elitepeople live in the safe and prosperous eliteworld that is closed for masspeople. From this world they descend to special (often guarded) places in the massworld to work for the continuous existence of the separation between eliteworld and massworld.
There is however hardly contact between elitepeople and lower masspeople.

The American bases in Iraq are a clear copy of the separation between a safe and prosperous place and the harsh poor surroundings. Tens of thousands of people live within the well-guarded boundaries of the bases where the standard of living is much higher than in the surrounding Iraqi massworld. Iraqis are hardly allowed to enter these places. Americans occasionally leave the bases in heavily guarded convoys to secure supplies or to try to discipline the unsure world around the safe bases.

The elitist idea of separating the own world from the rest of the world is also elsewhere gaining ground. Nearly ten percent of the American people live in gated communities, well guarded against intrusions from people who live in the surrounding world. Most of non-working part of the life of these people takes place within gated boundaries even in sports, holidays or other leisure activities. The Internet is increasing the isolation of the richer part of the world from the poorer part because direct human contact is minimised.

Even in the work situation isolation from other people is immense. From the gated communities people use private cars (not accessible to other people) to go to a gated parking place and then up to the office in a building where ordinary masspeople are not allowed.
The world is reduced to a few places where they meet only people of the same kind.
But these gated people decide over non-gated people who cannot reach them in person!
Information about the world of non-gated people, about masspeople, is only collected via non-personal canals as newspapers and television. Direct contact between the two different groups is virtually non-existent.

The world in which gated people live is reduced to some gated places that are connected by roads on which they travel by cars and planes that also can be considered to be gated places that are out of bounds for third people. It is indeed a small world in which these people live.

The ever dwindling attendance during general elections (the last American elections saw only 40 percent of the people go to the ballot boxes) is a result of this growing separation between leaders and led, between rich and poor, between some people and the majority. It is a copy of the already longer existing separation between elite and mass.

The existence of an elite and the copying of the behaviour of the highest circles by those who can afford it to build their own isolated private fortresses is in contradiction to the deeper essence of real democracy. The People are not anymore (I think have never been) at the helm of society but the Privileged Few decide.

I see only one solution.
It cannot be expected that elitepeople (people in gated communities) will increase their contacts with masspeople that live in the often harsh massworld.
Therefore masspeople should penetrate in the closed world where leading people live. In this way human contacts between all people will increase and masspeople will be capable to pressurize elitepeople to take other decisions.
Only then a New World can come into being, a world in which all people have equal status.

Yours truly, Joost van Steenis


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