Following the Great Depression and World War II, most people in the US were independent. Many owned a small family farm or a small business such as a Five and Dime, a soda fountain, clothing store or whatever. If they managed to set aside any savings, the money likely went into a Certificate of Deposit or US Savings Bond with guaranteed interest.
Things pretty much continued that way until the 1970s and 1980s. Then, large indoor shopping malls and big box stores began replacing small retailers. Farms became larger and larger until only a few families and wealthy corporations could afford the land and equipment. Much of the US population moved to large cities to work for large corporations. Whatever savings we managed to accumulate went into large, corporate-controlled mutual funds, corporate 401Ks or IRAs.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, yet another trend toward corporate control began as on-line shopping sites began to replace brick and mortor stores cutting salaries and moving many jobs off-shore.
The result of all of this is an almost total corporate dominance of our lives.
We not only rely on large corporations for our jobs. We have grown to rely on them for food, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, communications, entertainment and our investments (if were lucky enough to still have some). And now large corporations are beginning to seize control of many other aspects of our lives such as education, transportation, even the military. And, in the most disturbing intrusion of all, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling for Citizens United, corporations are now exerting even more control over our election campaigns.
Our once proud democracy is slowly fading into history. Welcome to the age of plutocracy.