While watching “The Young Victoria” the other day, a film about England’s 19th century queen, the thought struck me: Perhaps these odes to feudal aristocracies — films like “Marie Antoinette” or “The Duchess” — are so popular because they seem so familiar; just replace the lords and ladies with CEOs and trophy wives, the moated castles with gated communities, and the outrageous opulence with, well outrageous opulence.

We like to think we live in democracies, but even that bastion of democracy, The United States, is learning the hard way that feudal kleptocracy is back. What else do you call it, when Wall Street can essentially loot the U.S. treasury at will (the so-called bailout), and the upper 1 percent of society holds more wealth than the lower 95 percent combined.

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