The Rise of Neo-Feudalism
Feudalism has its roots in the Roman Empire system of life. During the reign of the Roman Empire, the rich hosted peasants in their land. They provided them with a place to live and in return, the peasants worked hard on their farms at the benefit of the landowners. As the reign of the Roman Empire weakened, small centralized kingdoms arose. These kingdoms comprised of individuals with different socio-economic capabilities. The feudal system involving the poor living on the rich’s land, giving hard labor in exchange for protection and living became more common.
The main characteristic of feudalism is property ownership is concentrated on some people, leaving a huge gap between the rich and the poor. The wealthy landowners kept the poor families on their land. In return, the peasants provided labor services which include farming and sharing the proceeds of agriculture with the rich landowners. Another characteristic of feudalism is the distinct roles between landowners and the poor that are hosted. For instance, as the poor till the land, the land owner’s role is to provide protection. (Taneja et al., 2020) note that the wealthy landowners ensured that they had a strong military that could protect the working population. Castles also played a role in feudalism where the Lords owned strongly fortified castles, compared to the vassals who had no places to stay.
It is easy for modern society to slip back to feudalism. One of the elements that could easily lead to feudalism is capitalism. Capitalism has seen the continued growth of the gap between the rich and the poor. Tucker (2020) notes that capitalism has enhanced the development of bourgeoisie economics where the wealthy are extremely wealthy and the poor are extremely poor. Such an imbalance could easily lead to the poor needing the rich for survival, which is essentially feudalism. The provision of services by the poor to the rich in exchange for protection or life in modern-day society might be necessary with the increase in the gap between the wealthy and the poor. The latter is already happening, and that is an indication of the possibility of a society slipping back to feudalism.