The one-percenters are that portion of the US population that have an inordinate amount of wealth. Whether by inheritance, hard work or plain old luck perhaps by winning the lottery or hitting the “big one” at a Las Vegas slot, they have more money, a lot more money, than the rest of us.
Do you qualify?
The Times had [in a previous article] estimated the threshold for being in the top 1 percent in household income at about $380,000, 7.5 times median household income, using census data from 2008 through 2010. But for net worth, the 1 percent threshold for net worth in the Fed data was nearly $8.4 million, or 69 times the median household’s net holdings of $121,000.
It has been claimed that if this wealth were more equally distributed, life would be better for most, and not that much worse for the would be donors.
While this seems to have a certain amount of logic, some social experiments have demonstrated this may not be the case. John Calhoun, for example, conducted some rather extreme experiments with rats and overcrowding in the 1960s. He used the term “behavioral sink” to describe the societal collapse that occurred and, when continued to its ultimate end, complete extinction of the test population. See the Wikipedia article.
Noted elsewhere, however, is a curious data point. In Calhoun’s experiments, a small percentage of the rats — or mice, depending on the reporter — were able to establish relatively isolated living spaces and, therein, protect themselves and their progeny from the worst effects of the over-crowding.
This group is comparable to the 1% of the US population that lives better than the masses. They have better housing, they eat better and their children survive better.
Of course, people aren’t rats — at least not all, some might object — and the experimental conditions in Calhoun’s experiments were certainly much more extreme than what we find in most of the world — again with some possible exceptions. But as the population in Calhoun’s experiment increased, the rats resorted to, and fell victim to, many of the ills we see in today’s world and culminated, if you can call it that, in the loss of will or ability to reproduce. The experimental rat colony became extinct.
It has been extensively debated whether or not Calhoun’s results can be applied to humans and to our population-related problems.
Or, once the 1% are deprived of their special survival attributes, wouldn’t 100% then suffer the same fate?
So, who’s fault is it, and more to the point, will redistributing the wealth from the 1% make any significant difference to the 99%, or is the fact that there is this division of a 1% and a 99% just a symptom of the problem rather than the problem itself?