Monday, February 21, 2011

Poor Americans - The Problem of Consolidated Wealth

If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would say that it was the fault of big money.  I've been trying to watch the same documentary courtesy of Netflix for over two weeks.  My Bluray player won't read the disc.  Windows won't read the disc.  Ubuntu only would read 30 minutes of the disc before deciding there wasn't any information left on it.  By the way, the DVD doesn't have any scratches.  It doesn't have any flaws as far as I can tell.  So why won't it play?

The One Percent is a telling documentary about wealth disparity in the U.S. and the connection between Washington D.C. and richest people in America.  I have to wonder why I had such difficulty watching this film that was supposed to be circulated by a corporate agency created for the express purpose of film circulation.  I feel thwarted. 

Despite this, I know what the conclusion is.  It is dangerous for so much wealth to be consolidated in the hands of so few.  Not only can we talk about the consolidation of financial wealth, but social wealth as well.  Even in the case where a child is deprived of their monetary inheritance, they still have their name.  A name can give you many things.  Connections are inherited.  Social circles are built on names.  It is impossible to deny that social capital has as much importance as financial. 

The recommendations of close friends get jobs.  Relationships facilitate class movement, wealth generation, and general improvement of a person's situation.  The bigger your social network, the better chances you have of getting things you want. The more influential your connections, the more options you have.  It is therefore impossible to disenfranchise an heir of the top one percent, unless they themselves have singlehandedly squandered their wealth and connections (which would take a great deal of effort). And who, in their right mind would do such a thing? No one.  Certainly not me.

1 comment:

  1. the charts here -

    say a lot about the situation we're in