The trouble with the 1%

There are lots of wealthy people who are being negatively impacted by the consolidation of wealth and the evisceration of the middle class around the globe. Their enterprises serve the citizens much like the democracies governing their countries should.  When their customers (a.k.a. stakeholders) are under or unemployed, nobody wins. Likewise for insufficient education, health care and social services among their constituencies.

Thus I define the 1%, targeted by the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, as not merely the most wealthy, but as the most immune to the negative effects of their increasing wealth. If I interviewed them, I would expect to find they have no concept of a middle class, only of "rich and poor" or "winners and losers". They would have no framework for getting the message from the protesters others than "a bunch of sore losers" or "whiners getting the liberal media's attention". I expect they would be extremely focused on making money with money, preventing losses through taxation and revising regulations to increase their wealth. They would assume it's fair game to buy lobbyists and politicians who will help solve problematic losses of wealth spawned by the government protecting the citizens, commonwealth and public interest. They cannot comprehend having negative impacts on the democracy when everyone continues to be entitled to vote.

If the 1% entered into therapy in order to become essential members of a 100%, they would likely learn much about themselves:

  1. Their range of emotional responses is poised toward thrill seeking in material pursuits and coldness in relationships
  2. They lack empathy for others and cannot comprehend other's pain, setbacks and lack of access as opportunities to help out
  3. Their autobiographical narrative is boring and lacking in rich details, hindsights and characterizations of growth
  4. They do not adapt easily or respond flexibly to challenges to their status quo which serves them as fortified comfort zones
  5. They have no interests which could provide alternatives to making more money, only in creating more proof of material success 
  6. Their "left brains" are functioning autonomously, productively and prodigiously
  7. Their "right brains" have been taken offline, rather than being integrated with their left brains and observed by their prefrontal cortexes
  8. They react to challenges by taking them very literally, showing no ability to utilize metaphors or reframe facts with varied viewpoints
  9. They have not begun to fall in love with meaning, having gotten stuck in being extremely objective and factual
  10. They chose careers in banking, finance, law, math, statistics or corporate leadership because those their shortcomings would go unnoticed in those fields

All this suggests to me that the Occupy Wall Street movement is falling on the deaf ears of the 1% and the politicians whom have been bought by campaign contributions and/or lobbyists baiting their collusion. The protesters are "preaching to the choir" who already get the message and validate the objections to current trends. The stalemate will persist until their right brains function equally well and eliminate all ten items on this list.


  1. I'm not sure I agree with you that it is falling on deaf ears or that all that are in the 1% fit your criteria. Warren Buffet, who would fall in the 1%, has come out and said that he thinks the current tax system is unfair (for which he was labeled a "socialist"). Michael Bloomberg convinced a group to donate money so that all students in NY state could take their regents exams (standardized tests that have been required in NY state for a century and are used in evaluating student progress and for entrance into NY state colleges)in August and January. This was important because many students in poorer school districts would not have the opportunity to either pass or better their scores. If the regents were offered only once a year, many of them would have difficulty graduating on time as a regents diploma is required in NY state for graduation.

    These are the people the OWS movement is hoping to reach so that maybe they could have an impact on our current system. At the very least, this movement wants a voice, even if it falls on deaf ears.

  2. Thanks for adding some open ears to all this.

    Warren Buffet is philanthropist and appears as an advocate for non-selfish interests. Michael Boomberg is a public servant. Both are generous and concerned with others' conditions. Neither fit my criteria for the 1% . They both have open ears, as do all of their equally wealthy colleagues with compatible compassion for others.

    They're not the ones with deaf ears who are messing up the economy, democracy and sense of justice in our world by hiring lobbyists and buying politicians with campaign donations. They're in the 99% with us.