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Social status is certainly still culturally tied to wealth and financial position today. I might argue that the very rich have receded from visibility in today's world, separate from the glitz of celebrity. The very wealthy today are not the noveau riche as they may have tended to be early on the in 20th century.
According to recent reports, wealth is increasingly inherited in today's America and upward mobility is not only less visible, it is quite literally less popular.
Since the economy has declined so much in the last year or so, we do see the difference between the rich and the poor. All of the East Egg people would be the Wall Street execs who have still received their bonuses despite companies going under. People of power are still flying around in their personal jets and helicopters while the hard working middle class Americans are losing their jobs. These people are those who have it and flaunt it, and we usually end up reading about them in the paper.
Those who are struggling to keep their homes and are currently laid off fall into the Valley of Ashes category of people. These are the people who put their sweat, blood and tears into their laboring jobs, but are laid off because the rich people in management positions have not kept their books straight. So just like in the novel, the East Eggers have used the Valley of Ashes people and dumped them out when they were done with them.
The West Egg people are still out there, but they have always been wealthy and provided for. Their money has always been in investments--which are majorly on the decline, but because of their conservative nature, the West Eggers will continue to persevere and will eventually get their money back after the economy bounces back.
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