It has become something of a meme in recent years. The 99% and the 1%. Us and them. The downtrodden, from whom it is being taken what little they have, and those damned filthy rich one-percenters who are taking for themselves all the wealth being stolen from us.
That is how it looks to you and me, citizens of the world, the workers, the wage earners, the salary earners, householders and citizens of the Western developed nations. Those who have the time, the leisure and the means (a computer or other capable electronic device) to read stuff like this.
But hold on a minute. Take a break. Consider this…
Who is that One Percent? Who are those people?
I learned this today, this evening in fact. Though in the back of my mind I already was aware of it.
Speaking globally, anyone who has an income greater than around A$50,000 (US$38,000), is among the top 1% of income earners worldwide. If you are such, then you are a one-percenter.
Does that place things in a slightly different perspective? I am sure it does for a great many of us. Suddenly we see ourselves as being part of the problem. No longer downtrodden. Of course, still being fleeced, but still having far more than those poor buggers numbered among the 99%. Suddenly we can see the scale of who is in the one-percent group. This revelation leads us to be able to envision the sheer enormity of the mass of the unfortunates whose lot is to make up the 99%. That recognition has to effect our thinking.
I, unfortunately, am still a 99%er, though I was, until I retired some years ago, numbered among the 0.5%ers (or maybe even some percentage even smaller than that). Not that that did me any good. I must say that I was acutely aware of my position of privilege during those years and I suspect that like others in that group, I was determined to enjoy the situation while ever it lasted. Knowing full well that it was something that would soon reach an end. Which it did.
My bubble burst, and I became again acutely aware that all such bubbles must eventually burst. A realisation which brought me to write the sort of stuff that I continue to turn out today …and will continue to do so until it is no longer necessary, or no longer possible.
Hmmm… I had no intention of writing all of that, and I almost forgot what it was that I wanted to share here today. The thoughts that started this post came from this weeks edition of The Archdruid Report: Where On The Titanic Would You Like Your Deck Chair, Ma’am? If you want to know why the usual left and right sides of the political spectrum are both utterly wrong, then you would be hard put to find a clearer exposition than this work.
I will finish with a single quote from the piece, as an appetiser.
This is the magic mountain of our era—a mountain of privilege whose inmates either have no idea that they’re privileged, or have convinced themselves that they deserve whatever they have and that those who don’t have the same things don’t deserve them. Far below the magic mountain, in the rest of the world, things are happening and pressures are building toward an explosion, but most of those up there in the heights haven’t noticed. It does not occur to them that there’s anything unusual about their lives, much less that some sudden turn of events could fling them down from the mountain and into a chaotic future for which most of them have made no preparations at all.
Pressure? Explosion? Sudden turn of events? Chaotic future? Preparations?
Sounds like anybody who has an opinion on what’s about to happen in our topsy-turvy world is expecting those things to be particularly nasty and distasteful. I can’t disagree.