Finding the 1% | The Economist

Who are the 1%?  You can find them in a couple of U.S. cities, in particular:

San Jose is a city with a lot of staggeringly rich tech zillionaires and a lot of not-at-all-rich working-class immigrant families. Washington is a city of high-paid federal workers on a relatively graduated pay scale; it has very high median incomes, but its income is strikingly evenly distributed.


via Inequality: Washington’s rich, but the 1% are elsewhere | The Economist.



4 thoughts on “Finding the 1% | The Economist”

  1. While OWS hasn’t yet named any demands or objectives, this is evidence that it does have influence. Unfortunately it is not having the right effect. This article and the one that inspired it are trying to direct the ire of the “99%.”

    I want to believe that OWS isn’t about being angry at people. It’s about realizing the system is broken and trying to fix it. Right now it seems to be in a prolonged brainstorming session. If it takes cardboard signs and catchphrase to get people to talk with each other about economics and politics then so be it. The key is that they are talking. They don’t have any demands, but if I understand the movement they don’t need any. It’s not really a strike or a sit-in demonstration at all, it’s more like a outdoor townhouse meeting. Sure some people are there because they want to be angry at whatever they want(and to make cool signs), but at the heart of the movement are people wanting to share ideas.

    As I said before, this is what I want to believe. What I fear is that the movement really is about the 99% vs. the 1%; which amounts to socialism. If it is the 99% against the institutions that allow the 1%, then maybe the movement is worth something. Otherwise OWS will amount to nothing and be driven away by the cold of winter.

    Hop to the link below and read the first “to the editor section.”(it’s only about 6 lines)

    Hopefully some real reform can come from OWS, America definitely isn’t lacking in need for it.

  2. One of the most interesting aspects of Occupy Wall Street that has been echoed through multiple articles and the post above is that OWS has a cause that many people can support, but that they have no specific demands or an agenda, but want to share ideas. While I appreciate the sort of philosophical approach that they are taking, part of me struggles with the fact that they lack specific goals or policy aims.

    I think that this article from The Economist shows that perhaps the protestors lack of direction is fueled by a lack of understanding of why the 1% seems to have so much power and what they as the 99% can do to take back what they feel they have lost. I would argue that that might simply be defined as a voice and representation in the world to which they contribute so much. In this sense, OWS is accomplishing its goal, but true representation within government requires an understanding of government, which I hesitate to believe they have.

    The lack of understanding of the geographical distribution of the 1% demonstrates that most OWS protestors probably don’t understand the influence of lobbyists and interest groups as a result of politician’s reliance on campaign contributions from those groups. The 1% can afford to effectively lobby their interests, but the 99%, in theory, cannot and I think that that is an issue that OWS should be considering.

    Because of the nature of the OWS protests (the cardboard signs, catchy slogans, media coverage, and fast attraction of college students just waiting to be a part of a real life protest) make the movement a sort of novelty. It has been influential enough to be considered as a candidate for one of Time’s Person of the Year 2011, but will that influence last?,28804,2098471_2098472_2098498,00.html

    I don’t mean to undermine the movement by saying that, but I think that most people are taking the movement less and less seriously. It is somewhat ambiguous and therefore mysterious which may attract attention at first, but is will it be enough to keep interest?

  3. I would just like to echo what has been said before.
    I commend Occupy Wall Street for its attempt to combat corporate greed, even if it is just through the spreading of ideas. However, I am afraid they are at risk of becoming just a bunch of people being angry, as nicolasdbell mentioned. I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about lobbying this semester in my American Government and Politics class. What I have learned is that OWS is not going to get anywhere politically if they don’t change their strategy. They pride themselves on being leader-less ideologues, but they also seem to want to effect change. Unfortunately, they likely can’t have the best of both those worlds. Like madalineg mentioned, OWS doesn’t seem to understand lobbying. Or maybe they do and they don’t want to play that game. At any rate, the 1% are the ones who are going to be able to influence the changes they want in their economic favor.
    If the movement really is about trying to fix a broken system, as nicolasdbell suggested, then OWS needs to have a plan, as much as they might not want to. Particularly, if they desire to be part of a “dynamic civic process” (see link below) then they should seek to better understand that process. While our vision of the civic process might include protests and public demonstrations, there is a large part (the majority) that goes on behind closed doors. When citizens begin to understand that, they can better effect change in the system. Unfortunately, sometimes it really is about playing the game.

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