If a nation is a body, then the economic system is its metabolic system, how it takes in input to produce energy and outputs. Currency, money, is the blood that circulates, nourishing the body and enabling it to repair damaged parts and grow. The lower classes, particularly the middle-class, are the heart, pumping currency throughout the nation. On the other hand, the rich are blood clots, blockages where blood flow stops and builds up, putting potentially deadly pressure on the whole system. And in this model, corporations play the role of viruses, invading bodies that hijack the body's resources to reproduce and grow at the body's expense. Again currency concentrates instead of flowing, starving the body of its ability to control, sustain, and repair. Government is supposed to be the brain, but the viruses and blood clots disrupt its function. The inevitable result is death.
Economic growth, like bodily growth, is useless if it doesn't benefit the entire body. Otherwise, at best, it is a skin tag, and at worst, cancer.
If there isn't a reasonable level of equality, capitalism becomes feudalism with those who labour to create wealth not sharing in it and a small number of well-protected rich ruling and taking the benefits. Gated communities are just modern castles, meant to keep out the peasants and protect the 'noble' lords.
The rich actually harm the economy, hoarding currency, driving up prices, lowering wages, and deregulating so they can gamble their fortunes away. They increase the demands on the system while lowering the amount of blood and its ability to flow, and then they give us all a nosebleed just to stress the system more. Their every action attempts to kill the body, so that nations may be returned to kingdoms and all those pesky rights done away with.
Although economic growth has been fairly steady for three decades, earnings of the poor and middle-class have stagnated, meaning that with inflation caused by the rich, earnings have actually decreased. There is no trickle coming down from our gracious masters. In fact they have been taking our water to overflow their bowls. Wages for the majority of people have stagnated. Is it really any surprise that economies, societies and entire nations have as well?
The rise of the middle-class was what lifted society out of feudalism toward democracy. Its demise will plunge us back.
This is the 'noble' goal of our neoliberal leaders. They want more than to just be rich, privileged citizens. They want to be royalty, otherwise known as violent slave-owning dictators.
Otherwise known as a national heart attack.