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Discuss: The Reign of the One Percenters

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17 John Donohue on Oct 03, 2011

Article is spot on. I lived two times in NYC(it’s where my original family is from). I worked for the 1% in a purely servant capacity though I wasn’t that. The wealth and luxury were to be honest mesmerizing but I would soon find that I was just like the homeless that were scattered along the Upper East Side as I walked home from my shift as a private waiter to the coops in the Pierre.
I saw stuff that I only understand years later, how it really works, and can only imagine now what it’s like.
But I did have a vision once that it’s all coming down. I believe that how the reaction to the OccupyWallStreet goes will determine that. Mostly these protestors are peaceful but I studied history and I know that power doesn’t give up easily. Ever reason with an angry dog over a bone?
Interesting times. Currently though the American masses need to feel their power. The time is late.

18 Roland on Oct 04, 2011

This article struck many many chords with me.  I have never lived or spent any amount of time in NYC but it doesn’t even matter.  This is nationwide.  I have never seen so many issues I feel strongly about wrapped into one cohesive statement - and such a rabble rousing statement as this!  I graduated from a top ten ranked school of architecture (also ranked #1 in sustainability) in America mere months after the “Great Recession.”  Let’s not even talk about not being paid enough - I haven’t even found a single job to enable any creative or productive pursuit since.  I have such a strong a desire to make the world a better place but there is no longer any way to do so and still pay the rent.  No outlet to plug into as well as put food in my belly.  Being a young person myself I can relate with the apathy of my generation on many levels, but after reading this article the cold basement I share is turning into a place of heated creativity.  Thank you for the perspective and the slap in the face.  I hope it’s enough.

19 Will Burns on Oct 04, 2011

As your lucidity reached its highest point, and your message detailed for the masses, take heart in knowing that #occupywallstreet and #occupyeverywhere has arisen to answer your call for the very same reason you point out here with such clarity.

We are not asleep. We simply needed a moment of clarity. Thank you for this.

20 Liza Peterson on Oct 04, 2011

The one-percenters have the perfect mayor in Bloomberg. The uber-representative of their class, its privilege and arrogance.

21 Anarcissie on Oct 04, 2011

In order to make his point, the author would have to define ‘income inequality’ and ‘culture’ more than anecdotally, and show from facts, not tales about ‘Anthony’, that the former had increased and the latter had declined in New York, but that something different had happened somewhere else.  Maybe all that the author says is true, but he hasn’t shown us anything; all we have is the good old New York City game of complaining that the city has gone to the dogs, which I’ve heard people playing since I was a child.

22 Stegiel on Oct 04, 2011

I suppose it would entirely depend on major variables but briefly, once discovered, Bohemia is colonized quickly. Then, also briefly, most of modern culture after 1918 is mental illness on display so I see no reason for NYC to not mirror the sickness. Actually that which is not mental illness was funded by the CIA -see the book Cultural Cold War where you learn how Abstract Expressionism rose to the top with Rockefeller money. How much bad art does a city require? How much good art do rentiers need? Commerce, ladies and gentlemen is the sole arbiter of the marketable taste.  If your philharmonic is not listened too the reason is no one needs the STATUS at a price they seek to charge.  The same with Theater.  Cut the cost and demand will spike. As far as creating anything,  New York has always imported talent.  Yes from time to time locals born and bred accomplished great things, but often not in New York at first.
This is not to disagree about the role of Finance capital, only to argue that it has been a long wave decline,  possibly commencing with Greenwhich Village in the 20’s.  Every generation finds it’s footing on the junk heap of history,  only now, we see that in order to get a ddecent footing people have to be pushed harder than before.  Yes now Americans from all social classes can fully appreciate the message of La Boheme was about poverty, illness and death and not music.

23 Steven Earl Salmony on Oct 05, 2011

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

“We’ve doubled the world’s food production several times before in history, and now we have to do it one more time,” said Jonathan A. Foley, a researcher at the University of Minnesota. “The last doubling is the hardest. It is possible, but it’s not going to be easy.”

Please consider the following questions about the statements above from my facebook friend, John Foley.

What do you think John means by the words, “The last doubling?” If “last” means the last in a succession of doublings, then how many more doublings of world food production do you believe the Earth can sustain? Or does his deployment of the word “last” mean the final doubling of world food production because he recognizes already that a planet with the size, composition and ecology of Earth cannot reasonably and sensibly be expected to sustain any more doublings?  When John reports, “The last doubling…. is possible, but it’s not going to be easy.”, does he express doubt about the Earth’s capacity to sustain even the doubling he believes is possible? What is the probability the Earth cannot sustain the doubling John believes is possible?

What is the probability that the effort made to “double the world’s food production” beginning now will lead to the radical dissipation of Earth’s finite resources and irreversible degradation of Earth’s ecology to the extent that our planetary home will be made unfit for children everywhere to inhabit?

How is Earth to be protected from the consequences of doubling the world’s food production: from outrageous per capita overconsumption and excessive individual hoarding of natural resources; from soon to become unsustainable overproduction leading to suffocating pollution and uncontrollable climate destabilization; and from unbridled overpopulation activities.  All of which are adamantly advocated and recklessly pursued by many too many movers and shakers (aka, One Percenters, self-proclaimed masters of the universe, little kings in pin-stripped suits, garish emperors with no clothes) on our watch?

Sincerely,

Steve

24 Brendon on Oct 05, 2011

Great article.  I particularly connect with the idea that financial “products” are illusions and carry little to no social value. However, while I share the author’s feelings of frustration toward the lack of outrage from recent generations toward this situation, I think it is overly simplistic to focus blame on the younger generation for not being “pissed off” enough.  Indeed, if the angst of counterculture in the past was so “true” and genuine, I would question why the situation has grown worse for the current generation of youth.  Clearly, the diffuse efforts of the “true” hipsters did not result in any tangible, or lasting, societal change either.  When you speak of the large scale labor movements of the 1800’s and 1920’s-30’s you can see concrete gains in working conditions, wages, child labor and saftey laws, etc..  Where exactly is the legacy of change that can be attributed to the great hipster generation which is so revered in this article?  To me, this is the problem with all “counterculture” movements.  The creativy is inwardly focused and does not seek to engage with the dominant forces at hand in any truly meaningful ways.  I contend that it is EASY to be pissed off; to carry signs and write protest songs. What is hard is trying to raise children in a culture that doesn’t value family needs.  I would say that both the financial nihilism and cultural revolution to which the author refers are born of extreme individualism, carried out in the name of different values.  There is no progress because the debate is dichotimized and any middle ground is viewed as failure or weakness.
I have two children.  I have no desire for wealth, for amassing “things”...but I do want my children to have parks to play in, to have clean clothes, to have nutritious food to eat.  I feel like this article sings the praises of a lifestyle that is not feasible for me, as the only solution to economic disparity.  I just wonder if the truth is somewhere in the middle. 
That said, an excellent article to being the discussion!

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