The US is one financial crises and severe economic contraction away from becoming completely unhinged. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:
The unraveling of America’s social order is accelerating, and denial will not save us from the consequences of the plundering of the social contract.
What kind of nation boasts a record-high stock market and an unraveling social order? Answer: a failed nation, a nation that has substituted artifice for realism for far too long, a nation that now depends on illusory phantoms of capital, prosperity and democracy to prop up a crumbling facade of “wealth” that the populace now understands is largely in the hands of a few families and corporations, most of which pay little to support the citizenry they dominate politically and financially.
The social order sounds abstract, but it is all too real. The social order has two primary components: social cohesion, the glue of common purpose and shared sacrifice binding the social order, and the social contract, the implicit contract between the ruling elite, the state (government) and commoners (the middle class, the working poor and state dependents) that their labor, taxes and sacrifices will nourish a society with a level playing field, broad-based opportunity and security.
America’s social cohesion has been lost, ground under the heel of soaring inequality, a two-tiered economic/political order, systemic unfairness and the elite’s divide-and-conquer manipulation of the political and cultural orders.
Historian Peter Turchin characterized this social unraveling as disintegrative: people no longer find reasons to cooperate and share sacrifices to work towards a common national purpose. Rather, they find a multitude of reasons to offload sacrifices onto others, hoard their own wealth and seek to expand their power by accelerating the disintegrative forces.