Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Impoverished Elite

After watching, Johnson and Johnson heir, Jamie Johnson's documentary, The One Percent, which explores the "political, moral and emotional rationale that enables a tiny percentage of Americans - the one percent - to control nearly half the wealth of the entire United States" it reminded me of a conversation I had years ago, while attending college.

"Today's wealthy have become an increasingly isolated elite....rather than using their wealth for good, they have used it to restructure the economy, lower their taxes, cut social programs for the middle and lower classes, and amass ever more wealth." - Jamie Johnson
I remember talking to a very wealthy friend who told me how lucky I was to be middle class. In so many words, he told me that those born into great wealth have a lot in common with those born into poverty. Both sets of children starve for the basic necessities in life, that is, if you consider love, and a sense of purpose, a necessity. 

As we continued to walk along the tree lined streets of the campus, he then pointed to a building up ahead,  "You see that building?"  I nodded.   He said, "My father donated the money for its construction...to keep me in school... I was flunking out."  I asked him if  he improved his grades.  He shook his head, and told me, "Why? My father already paid."  As if getting good grades would render the money his father paid to keep him in school, a waste.  As if the only thing that really mattered was his father's money, and what it could buy.

In the film, Warren Buffet's severe response to his granddaughter, Nicole's participation in the documentary, The One Percent, illustrates just how "impoverished" the elite can be, and often are. You see, the value of money is lost if it becomes your master...your god. Nicole Buffet, much wiser than her grandfather, is one of the few born into the prison of immense wealth, courageous enough to break free.  

So, as much as we may feel like the shackled,  perhaps we're the fortunate ones, as most of us don't have enough of it to enslave us, whereas the wealthiest amongst us, are reduced to $erving it, as is very evident in Johnson's film.
"You might think I'm an idiot. My family's one of the richest families in the world. But not with money...with love, tolerance, kindness and patience...qualities worth more than money, and you can't buy that. They taught me how to love people as they are, not how I want them to be. They taught me how to get along with people. They taught me to treat people the way I want to be treated. They taught me to treat each person for who they are and not clump them together because we're all different in our own ways...that's the richness that I was brought up in." -- Truck driver in the documentary, The One Percent
Yep, there are riches, even more precious than money. And the best part is that these riches can't be taken from you by any robber, or any enemy, no matter how powerful.

1 comments:

Anonymous,  21:58  

Love this observation, thank you.

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