In the 21st century, people look to conspiracies to explain the facts around them because so much of the bad stuff around them is the result of a conspiracy. Whether that’s Exxon covering up its own research that said that its products were contributing to climate change and would make our planet incapable of supporting human life. Or the NSA, wiretapping the whole world’s internet with the cooperation of big tech companies who swore it wasn’t happening. These conspiracies don’t come cheap.
The authorities that helped them along with their conspiracies, they expect handsome rewards. Jobs in industry. Campaign contributions. And this is the sort of thing you can only pull off in a new Gilded Age, where wealth and power have been concentrated, and where industries have concentrated along with them. We won’t make conspiracies implausible until we get rid of conspiracies. And we can’t do that until we tackle wealth inequality.