A Different View Of The One Percent And The Ninety-Nine Percent

Ed Raymond

The media has been filled with how the One Percent owns about 45 percent of the wealth of the United States, the rest shared by 99 percent of the rabble, including me. The six Walton family members of Walmart fame are worth about $90 billion, or the total wealth of the bottom 41.5 percent of U.S. families. In short, three million Americans have plenty of pots and windows, while 309 million have to use Mother Nature’s byways. The U.S. has the greatest inequality of any industrialized nation in the world. An anthropologist has tried to come up with answers to this accumulation of wealth by a small group. In his book “Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame,” Professor Christopher Boehm studies the question how our early hunter-gatherers controlled the tribe so that everyone shared in the productivity. He maintains that early hunter-gatherers killed off cheaters and dictators so that the social tribe kept its cohesion and stability to survive in hostile territory. Boehm claims that social groups started to lose their democratic governance about 6,000 years ago when “warrior chieftains” and other violent dictators took over the leadership of social groups. Why?
   Because these new leaders were psychopaths who at the time of the hunter-gatherers were either killed or driven off into the wilderness. Now they gained power during the time of domestication. A psychopath is clinically defined as a person whose brain does not register stress when they observe others being mistreated. They are more likely to deceive and manipulate others to better their economic status. Corporations are “psychopathic” because they have no “personhood,” contrary to the decision of the five conservative psychopaths on the U.S. Supreme Court in the Citizens United case.

Is There A Solid Connection Between The Wealthy One Percent And The Psychopathic One Percent?

   According to experts in the field of psychiatry, one person in a hundred is clinically a psychopath. Is it just a matter of coincidence that we have three million psychopaths (one percent) and three million wealthy (One Percent)? Psychiatrists say that psychopaths are both born and made. They may be born with a genetic or emotional deficiency, or they may be traumatized in their very early or adolescent years. Psychopaths are usually risk takers, have a great desire to dominate others, and are motivated by self-interest and greed.
   I got curious about who in the world owned the world’s ten largest and most expensive yachts when one was parked on the Thames for the London Olympics. Arab dictators and assorted tribal leaders own seven of the ten. Is this why it was pitchfork time in Arab countries in their Arab Spring? How many Arab leaders, recent past and present, were or are psychopaths? Muammar Gaddafi was certainly one. The leaders of Tunisia and Syria qualify. I think a case can be made that all Arab leaders fit the clinical definition of psychopaths. When will Saudi Arabia explode? When the people get tired of providing $200,000-a-month “living” stipends for over 50 royal princes? I think it’s interesting that England’s Queen Elizabeth II no longer has a yacht. The royal decision was a mixture of politics and economics. Better to give up that extravagant symbol than give up the crown.
The Question Is, Can
You Have As Much Fun
On A 50-Ft. Boat As
A 500-ft. Yacht?

   Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, sailed his 412-ft. yacht Octopus up the Thames so he would have a comfortable place to stay for the games. The Octopus has a crew of 60, a garage, a helicopter pad, and a place to park submarines. CEO Larry Ellison of Oracle, a rival software company, bought a yacht 41 feet longer to show up Allen, but after he proved that, he sold it to David Geffen, who has made billions in the music business. Does that qualify as psychopathic? I think so.
   What role do psychopaths play in the development of a society? There was a recent dust-up in the Arab world about Mitt Romney’s comment that “culture” was the reason the Jews had made so much economic progress in the Middle East. Israel is a democracy. The Arab countries generally range from dictatorships to kingdoms. We still don’t know if Egypt is going to be a democracy. In the early 20th century, German Jews were the lawyers, doctors, scientists, composers, and playwrights of the Rhineland. Although only one percent of the population, they made up 31 percent of the richest German families. We know the history that followed. But a fact just staggered me the other day. During the two decades between 1980 and 2000, when Israel was democratic, Israeli inventors, scientists, and researchers registered 7,652 patents with the U.S. Patent Office. The entire Arab world, led by psychopaths in government, religion, and culture, registered only 367 patents in the same period. That is a very revealing story. I repeat my old theme: Arabs have done nothing worthwhile for 300 years except sign Western oil checks.

The U.S. Psychopaths,
Line Speed, And Fruit
and Vegetable Pickers

  Corky and I have watched migrant farmworkers pick those tasteless Florida tomatoes that are then gassed to a red color, hard as baseballs, and shipped to gullible customers up north. Pickers get less than two pennies a pound for tomatoes that sell in stores for $1.50 to $4.00 a pound. Amanda Kloer of Change.org wrote about tomato pickers in 2011: “Antonio had been sold into slavery in Florida’s tomato fields. These slaves often work for 10-12 hours a day, seven days a week. They are kept in cramped and dirty trailers, constantly monitored, and have wages garnished to pay a debt invented by the trafficker to keep victims enslaved.... They can’t leave, can’t seek help... Major corporate buyers such as supermarkets, fast food chains, and food service companies... leverage their buying power and demand the lowest possible prices from growers. This, in turn, exerts a powerful downward pressure on wages and working conditions.” It would be interesting to see how many psychopaths handle a plastic tomato from field to market.
   The Bureau of Labor Statistics says meatpacking is the most dangerous job in America. Over a period of five years, Juan Herrera fought hard to keep up with the line that carried pork bodies to his station. He had 12 seconds to cut or slice or lift or separate a ham from the carcass. One every 12 seconds. He has had surgery on his right shoulder and his left one hurts. Both hands have been cut and injured. His wrists and elbows constantly pain him. In just one year, 20 percent of the workers report an injury, most of them serious because knives are still the most important tool. Some meatpacking plants have 100 percent turnover in a year.

Day After Day, Making
10,000 Cuts Per Day

   In the slaughterhouse of the 1980s, the line speed for the production line was 175 cattle an hour. Some line speeds now are up to 400 cattle per hour. Technology advances have increased the speed somewhat, but the decline in unions explains the rest. Meatpacking jobs were once among the highest paid “industrial” jobs. Now they are among the poorest. And the lines are much faster and more dangerous. In order to keep up, some workers must make 10,000 cuts a day.
  Eric Schlosser in the article “The Most Dangerous Job In America” writes, “When hundreds of workers stand closely together... with sharp knives, terrible things can happen when people are rushed.... Workers stab themselves or someone nearby. They struggle to keep up with the pace of carcasses on hooks... All sorts of accidents—involving power tools, saws, knives, conveyor belts, slippery floors, falling carcasses—become more likely when the chain moves too fast... Workers bagging intestines for eight hours a day soon suffer severe shoulder injuries.” I wonder how many One Percent Psychopaths have ever worked a line? Perhaps One Percent Wall Streeters who have cheated and committed fraud against the middle class should not go to jail. Maybe five years on a slaughterhouse beef line would be appropriate.
   Poultry plants are no different. An exposé reporter spent some time on the line: “During a shift spent dumping tubs [of chicken meat], I would lift, carry, and empty more than 30 tons. When separating breasts, I was responsible for tearing through about 7,200 every eight hours. For such superhuman feats, most employees earned between $8 and $9 an hour.” If a member of the One Percent is also psychopathic, he never thinks of the worker who has torn out his Cordon Bleu.
  Want to make $150 a day picking apples? Four tons are required.

Olympic Ticket
Prices Really Kept
Out The Riff-Raff

   No wonder the Thames was crowded with yachts. Prices for seats at the Olympic opening ceremonies were $3,159, $2,512, $1,562, $235, and $33.59. The seat prices for the closing ceremonies were comparable. Tickets for the 100 meter dash were $1,138 down to $78. Tennis at Wimbledon was $353 down to $102. Lord Coe, the Olympic ticket chairman, said the pricing structure was an effort to “make the tickets affordable and accessible to as many people as possible.”
   I would imagine that many of the ten million billionaires in the world who have squirreled away $21 trillion cash in off-shore accounts to avoid paying taxes put in appearances at the Olympics. Psychopaths love to show off their wealth and will spend many millions to protect themselves from “stuff happens” incidents. Some of these psychopaths are now buying condos in the middle of Kansas to prepare themselves for doomsday. Their condos have unique defenses. They are being built in abandoned missile silos far out on the prairie. Built to withstand a close atomic blast, they do provide a sense of security with nine-foot thick concrete walls that are 174 feet deep. According to Joe Lambe of AFP News Service, a developer has options to retro-fit four silos for psychopaths who fear everything, including  economic collapse, solar eclipses, pandemics, terrorism, world wars, earthquakes, global warming, and asteroids hitting earth. Each silo will contain seven floors for residences, selling for $2 million a floor. Elevators will reach all floors. One psychopath has an option on an entire silo for himself and family.

Two Living Rooms
To Avoid TV Spats

   Each silo will contain an indoor farm where fish and vegetables will be grown to feed at least 70 people for an indefinite period of time. I guess it would depend upon the size of the asteroid. There will be enough dry goods stored to feed the occupants of the silo for five years. Other floors will be used for a swimming pool, a movie theater, a library, a medical clinic, and a school. There is no mention of oxygen and how it might be cleaned for human hearts. Oh well, I’m sure the Doomsday Culture will think of that little detail.
   Each average condo unit will have top-end appliances, several bedrooms with walk-in closets, a kitchen and dining area—and two living rooms. This is to avoid arguments over TV programs. The developer has sold four so far, and there are 66 more silos in the area to sell. The owner’s names are secret so that family rabble won’t beg for shelter from doomsday.

Wealthy Psychopaths:
Meet Edwin
Markham’s “The
Man With The Hoe”

“Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
The emptiness of ages on his face, and on his back the burden of the world.
Who made him dead to rapture and despair, a thing that grieves not and that never hopes,
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox? Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?
O masters, lords and rulers in all lands, how will the future reckon with this man?
How answer his brute question in that hour when whirlwinds of rebellion shake the world?
How will it be with kingdoms and with kings—with those who shaped him to the thing he is—
When this dumb terror shall reply to God, and the silence of the centuries?”