The world has become increasingly separated into the haves and have nots. This book shows how a contented class—not the privileged few but the socially and economically advantaged majority—defend their comfortable status at a cost. Middle-class voting against regulation and increased taxation that would remedy pressing social ills has created a culture of immediate gratification, leading to complacency and hampering long-term progress. Only economic disaster, military action, or the eruption of an angry underclass seem capable of changing the status quo. A groundbreaking critique, the book shows how the complacent majority captures the political process and determines economic policy.