People couldn’t believe (some couldn’t tolerate) the vast income/wealth inequalities during the Gilded Age.
It’s ten times worse now.
Why is that?
Because the trajectories have been and still are toward increasing hypertrophies.
The highest buildings, the longest bridges, the size of the megalopolises, the speeds of the trains and planes, the megatonnage of the bombs, the reach of the internet all grow. You know the story, even if the word is not so common: Hypertrophy results from trajectories of more, bigger, farther, faster.
Regional economies grew and consolidated into what’s called globalization. At that scale, when a company comes to dominate the vast world market, exploits the whole world’s cheap labor, the revenues, profits, remunerations, and capital gains grow and grow and grow. The principal stockholders get unbelievably and more unbelievably wealthy.
Exploitation and profits are a function of capitalism, but the scale of it all these days is a function of hypertrophy.