“The richest 1% of people will control more wealth than the rest of the world combined by 2016, the British anti-poverty charity Oxfam predicted in a new report.”
Does this prediction make you feel anything? It sure makes me feel something. It’s like rubbing it into my face that I am poor – and that there’s effectively nothing I can do about it. It tells me that those who have amassed the wealth – and the ability to amass even more – are doing just that. The more money you have, the more you can control. And the more you control, the more you can use it to get others to cater to your whims.
When I was young (and we still hear it today) I was told, “Work hard and work smart you’ll do well in life.” “Never quit. Grab the bull by the horns and carve your path out of life. You can do it.” “God helps those who help themselves.” “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
These people obviously weren’t thinking about all of the obstacles “life” throws at those of us who weren’t born into equal opportunity. Oh, we have/had opportunity, all right. Go to work for the company that actually has jobs available, and jump on that opportunity while you can – and hope you can prevail against the other 200 applicants for the same single position. Or try to start your own business when you don’t have access to enough money to ensure a good, solid start – while knowing that, if you fail, you will be in debt up to your a$$ for years to come, while working your a$$ off for less than optimal pay for an employer who actually believes he (or she) is doing you a favor by employing you and paying you a pittance when, in truth, she is using you (and many others) to help make him/her richer, while paying you as low a wage as (s)he can, while letting it still be just enough to keep people working for him/her.
Meanwhile, Joey Bernard Willington the Third who lives down the street has a father who inherited wealth from <i>his</i> father, who lived in a different world “back then” where the afore-mentioned phrases actually had more actual applicable meaning. Joey’s dad paid for Joey to go to the best schools, hired personal tutors and bought Joey the best laptops and computers and clothing and toys and such – and a brand new car for his 16th birthday, and Joey never had to want for anything. He’s been groomed most of his life to succeed, because his parents had the money to see to it that Joey had all the opportunity and quality preparation possible.
People like me? My Dad worked hard for over 50 long years just to make what was considered a “lower middle class” income, and struggled to make ends meet while raising a family in a lower middle-class neighborhood.
“Successful” people tend to say Dad didn’t make the right decisions to become wealthier, or that he “didn’t have the wherewithal to have been “higher on the totem pole of life.” That is, these successful people (like Joey’s dad and now Joey) didn’t have the roadblocks to success that Dad (and me and 80% of the rest of the population who are not wealthy) had – and still have. And those roadblocks accumulate and get even bigger as one ages in a <i>not privileged</i> environment.
The truth is, if “we”- the “99 percent” had the same opportunity (for real) as well as the quality of education, environment, conditioning, grooming, and wealthy support ad Joey, I really believe at least most of us would have been at least considerably more “successful” than we were/are. More realistically, the top 20% have far more access to far better opportunity then the remaining 80% of people in the world.
The point is that only a privileged few truly have any real, pursuable opportunity to do exceptionally well socioeconomically. The richest one percent is literally monopolizing wealth and power and guarding it jealously, while the poorest among us are – literally – dying in the streets.
Many of the rest of us are only one crisis away from poverty. The many millions of elderly and/or disabled … who really cares about those who are no longer even able to even compete for any jobs?