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An Open Letter to the corporations and people of the 1%

Dear Winners,

Congratulations on all your achievements. You have all played the game of capitalism like absolute champions, and you are, without doubt, superlative operatives of the capitalist system. Kudos to you.

Obviously it has taken a huge amount of vision, hard work, guts and determination to get you to where you are now, and I think every one agrees you should be duly compensated for all your (and your employees) efforts; and I am personally relieved to know that you have all been sufficiently remunerated so as to never want for anything ever again. Once again, kudos to you.

While I am absolutely dazzled by your stellar successes, there are a few things about the way you conduct your lives and businesses that I find quite baffling, and I was hoping you might be able to clear up my confusion.

Firstly, I want to share a little something with you that we in the 99% have known for quite some time . . .

YOU’VE WON ALREADY!

With the richest 85 people in the world now owning the same amount of wealth as the 3.5 billion who make up the poorer half of the world’s population, there can be no question, in the game of acquisition you are the undisputed winners. NO CONTEST!

So here’s what puzzles me . . . Do you not realise the game is over and that you have won? Because quite honestly the way you are carrying on, it’s like a boxer relentlessly pummelling an opponent that is passed out on the ropes, it’s just not sportsmanlike, and really, it’s not making you look good.

starving

In spite of all your wealth and unmitigated successes you continue to slash real wages, cut costs, off shore, out source, trim benefits, buy off politicians, lobby for favourable legislation, dodge taxes, and exploit loopholes with a staggering rapacity. In your relentless drive for profit you mercilessly exploit sub living wages, control the public discourse through your media domination, and poison and pollute our world with utter impunity.

poverty 2

So my question is this . . . why are you continuing to play hard ball when you have so clearly already won? Surely at a certain point the figures displayed on your profit statements must start to seem fairly abstract? What on earth are you hoping to achieve? Do you really need a better quarterly result? What for? You already have everything that money could possibly buy you. And quite frankly if being stupefyingly wealthy hasn’t made you happy yet, it’s bordering on disillusion to think that a few more zeros on your balance sheet are going to do the trick.

And if you are truly happy with all you have achieved, then don’t you think it might be just the teensiest bit psychopathic to keep on punching when the fight is so clearly over?

While I personally find your unabated appetite for capital acquisition somewhat unfathomable, it obviously makes perfect sense to you, (either that or you have never actually sat down to analyse the broader costs and benefits of your chosen course).  Given the utter pain, despair and deprivation suffered by the world’s poor, (such as the average Bangladeshi garment worker who works 12 hours a day, 7 days a week in dangerous, overcrowded conditions for a paltry $38 a month), I am sure you must have some very good reasons for your steadfast persistence in squeezing those at the bottom even harder. Although I struggle to understand what those reasons may be I have, in my speculations, come up with a few possibilities.

1. You are competing amongst and against yourselves.

I suspect there is a fair bit of this going on among you 1% ers’. It’s not enough that you have well and truly surpassed the 99%, (it would appear that that victory has long since lost it’s taste); now it’s just a competition between you 1% er’s to see who’s got the biggest bank account/company/summer house/yacht.

forbes billionairs

I find it difficult to attach any other motive to the recent attempt by Rupert Murdoch (one of your most famous poster boys) to acquire Time Warner. At 85 years of age, the builder and controller of the largest News Empire on the planet is still playing for more? Doesn’t he realise that to most people this just looks like the chest beating, ego pumping manoeuvre of a recently cuckolded old man trying desperately to prove that he’s still top dog? Kind of tragic really, and a little undignified.

The sad fact is this is not a game that can be won, no matter how much you’ve got you will always want more, it’s a bottomless bucket of desire.

So let me say it once again ; if you in the 1% can not be content with what you have already achieved, then trust me, one more victory is not going to help.

2. You are simply acting out of blind habit and you have never bothered to stop and question what you are actually doing?

I am willing to bet that this is bottom line for quite a number of you. You learnt the rules, and you’ve played the game so hard and so long that it’s the only game you now know. You live for the sport of it, the hunt, the chase, the endless craving for that next conquest; the ruthless reduction of wages, the corporate take over, the quarterly profit statement, the pumping up of your share price, the tucking of another politician snuggly into your pocket, this is your heroin.

handcuffed-to-money

You are, for want of a better word, addicted to the game. If this indeed is the case then let me remind you of something I am sure you already know; addiction is not a road to happiness! It is an itch you can never scratch in an endless cycle of craving and pain, and it effects every one around you (and not in good way).

3. You are completely ignorant about the suffering you are causing others?

This is a bit of a stretch, but I am prepared to concede that SOME OF YOU may have spent so little time out in the big, wide, underprivileged world, have spent your lives so steeped in privilege as to have no idea of the havoc you are wreaking, the pain you are causing, and the abject poverty you are creating.

mansionhomeless 1

That said it’s worth remembering that ignorance is no excuse, neither in the eyes of the law, or in the eyes of those whose necks you are so gleefully standing on.

4. You still feel genuinely insecure?

I realise that most people wouldn’t suspect it, but there is some research that suggests the richer you are the more insecure you feel, if this is true then you 1% er’s must be living in an absolute paranoid lather; worried that people don’t really care about you and are just drawn to your money, or maybe just fearful that you might loose your money. Clearly your answer to this is to get more money (so you will still have some left if and when you loose a wad) and surround yourselves with other hyper rich people, (who have enough money not to be eyeing off yours).

fear of poverty

At the risk of repeating myself; if you in the 1% can not feel secure with what you have already have, then trust me, a bit more money is not going to help.

5. You simply don’t care about others?

I admit I find this highly unlikely. I am sure you love your family and friends, and would go to great lengths to protect them. What maybe the case however is that you do not experience yourselves as part of the broader human family; and thus those that are not known to you personally are too abstract to you to evoke your natural caring human instincts.

homeless americaplease help

This disconnect is broadly supported by a media narrative that casts the “have nots” as either lacking in the smarts to get ahead, or as shiftless lazy leaners trying to gouge a free ride, which makes it much easier to see them as deserving of their wretched fate, (after all, they are not hard working, self made actualisers like you and your cohorts).

While I understand you may find this narrative very comforting, and a perfectly adequate justification for your modus operandi, that doesn’t make it true. Even here in the west there are plenty of people working 2-3 jobs, 80 hours or more just to subsist, so you could not call them lazy. And does a person possessed of an average or lower intelligence really deserve to be denied a decent life just because they were born sub-brilliant?

6. You have never read the history of the French Revolution?

Perhaps you are not aware that history is awash with stories where the peasants decide that quietly starving is not a viable option and have taken up arms against their wealthy oppressors. And as a general rule when they get their hands on them, they kill them!

Now I’m not agitating for that, I don’t want to see you, or anyone else killed; but it’s worth noting that when legislation is passed making it illegal to feed the homeless, when you cut off the water to supply to poorest 1/3 of a city, when you squeeze wages and benefits to the point where employees need to work 3 jobs, never get to see their children and can barely make rent. When you smash unions, or fail to pay your taxes so their is no money for social support…. you need to understand you are creating an environment you may not be able to control. Keep playing hard ball and eventually THE PITCH FORKS WILL COME!

french revolution

7. You are genuinely unaware of your power to effect change?

With the stroke of a pen the Walton family could raise tens of millions out of abject poverty, and it wouldn’t make a whip of difference to them personally; they wouldn’t have to go without anything. NIKE could raise the wages of it’s manufacturing staff to a living standard, and all it would cost them would be one or two less basketball players in an ad.

How is it that you guys are not doing this? Don’t you get it? YOU HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE A BETTER WORLD for millions and millions of people.

Bill Gates gets it, Oprah gets it, Bob Geldof gets it, Nick Hanauer gets it, Bill Liao gets it, and whether or not you like their choices, they are all out there pitching for a better world.

I realise the system has it’s own momentum, and you are just going with the flow, but the system is causing insane amounts of grief and suffering for billions of people.

We have more than enough food to feed the planet, but people are starving; we have cities full of empty houses and streets full of homeless people; we have amazing medicines and people dying for lack of access; there are cities with water supplies denying clean water to citizens. Does this seem right to you?

What kind of life should a person working full time be able to afford? Should they be able to afford a house, food and water, healthcare and an education for their children? I really want to know your thoughts on this, because it looks to me like you think a living wage is way too high?

But seriously, would it kill you to pay living wages?

So I am asking you, the 1% er’s, what exactly is your end game? Pushing billions of people into crushing poverty so you can die with a bigger bank balance? Is that really what you want for your legacy? Does that make you happy? Because if not, then maybe it’s time you guys stirred things up a bit; raised some wages, paid some taxes perhaps, who knows, maybe working towards a better world for ALL of our human family will be the trick! It might seem like a crazy idea, but it’s worth a try.

27 comments

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  1. stephentardrew

    Letitia:

    What an excellent article. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us think and feel.

    This is one of the best articles I have read full of clarity and truth.

    It should be read in every school, in every university and every parliament in the world.

  2. Thomas Brookes

    Letitia.

    I can answer your question for you…. as to why they do what they do.

    Us normal caring people think money is made round to go round.

    These 1% ers think its flat to stack. Enough is never enough for them.

    The only saving grace is although they will eventually kill us all, they will also kill themselves along with us.

  3. Anomander

    Fantastic article Letitia. This needs to be shared far and wide.

  4. Kyran

    Another great read. I read another article in the last day or so regarding the Walton family, owners of Walmart (New Matilda, I think). Apparently, the family were distressed by the number of their staff that were struggling financially, leading into the Festive Season. Rather than increase their pay, which was an unacceptable business expense, they have allowed their store managers to place buckets in their stores to enable other staff and customers donate to a fund that will be “gifted” to their neediest staff.
    Then I read your contribution. I can only weep for humanity when this occurs in a “first world” nation. It means the second and third world nations are now being pushed further away from any decency.
    Thank you

  5. John Kelly

    How much is enough? For the 1% the answer is…..more. The questions asked of the 1% in this article are not the questions that they think to ask themselves. It simply doesn’t occur to them.

  6. Kaye Lee

    If you want an example of the dangers of extreme wealth just look at Gina. She is so obsessed with it that she allegedly misappropriated her children’s inheritance and so unable to communicate with them that the battle will be fought in the courts. Gina thinks she has worked very hard and no doubt she attends many meetings. Could I say that a good nurse or a good teacher contribute far more to making the world a better place than Gina ever could. She is continually fearful.

    “What Ferguson paints is a picture of a woman to whom building and protecting her mining company Hancock Prospecting is a driving obsession that nothing can get in the way of. Her battles with her father Lang Hancock, her fights with her stepmother Rose Porteous and her tragic war with her children are examples of the lengths that Rinehart will go to achieve her dream of turning Hancock Prospecting into a global mining force and, perhaps most importantly, a miner in its own right.

    To help win her legal battles, Gina Rinehart has engaged many of the top commercial lawyers in Australia, and more than a few criminal ones, during her battle with Rose Porteous. To help her build Hancock Prospecting, Rinehart has hired many of the nation’s best geologists, engineering and mining executives. And yet Ferguson paints a picture of a revolving door of talented advisers and employees, most forced out after disagreeing with “The Chairman” as Rinehart likes to be called. One great question raised by Ferguson’s book is: Can one woman really run a mining empire with a potential value of $100 billion?

    Ferguson’s book suggests Gina has damaged almost every family relationship by fighting over money or control. Here is a child brought up to believe that it was her birth right to own an empire beyond anything Australia has ever seen. It’s Gina’s core, unshakable belief. And she’ll do anything to protect it.”

  7. Lee

    Gold, Letitia. Pure gold.

  8. Kaye Lee

    “Treasury Secretary Dr Martin Parkinson has slammed sections of the business community for repeatedly calling for the federal government to cut the corporate tax rate and increase the GST, saying “a lot of what this debate is about is people saying of government, ‘take money from the citizenry at large and give it to me’.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/dr-martin-parkinson-slams-big-business-for-calling-for-cut-to-the-corporate-tax-rate-20141127-11vdpp.html#ixzz3KIjsOSIJ

  9. Hotspringer

    It seems to me, Letitia, that people like us will never understand people like them.
    Excellent article, congratulations.

  10. philgorman2014

    We are experiencing a time when corpocracy rules and psychopaths dominate the world. Unfortunately for everyone they are utterly insatatiable. Left to their own devices they will even eat their own young and eventually cannibalise everything.

  11. Erotic Moustache

    This has essentially been the state of affairs since the industrial revolution. Prior to that we had a different state of affairs that still meant the poor and vulnerable were screwed. There’s nothing new under the sun.

  12. Just_a_Pastel_Bat

    Fantastic Stuff there, Tish. Karen W would easily be as impressed and as proud as I feel after reading this. Outstanding

  13. donwreford

    As you are aware of the Stones coming to Australia, the recent trip thwart with tragedy with Stones boss Jagger’s girl friend killing herself, I do not think Jagger was upset over this it was the shock of not having any idea it could happen to Jagger, who is rock God, on Jagger’s return, he just caved in on his Melbourne appearance and just could not get it up, I mean on stage, this is not surprising, as he seemed at times a bit wobbly like a aged pensioner hoping around with hope that he would not collapse, on stage, so whats the point? Jagger, now God, with millions of dollars as well as notoriety, or is it fame? a prisoner who cannot go anywhere because he will be mobbed, who wants that life? but as the Rothschild’s of the world desire is to be venerated? its the pop star within, to be loved, so what I want to say is in spite of the 1%, killing millions and committing atrocitie’s,I along with a few I hope want to say how much we love you! for all your greed and negativity, we know deep down the same as Jagger, wants love, I am now going to meditate on a shower of love to come to the 1%, I live in hope that all those on this blog site will join with me in saying we all adore you.
    I see it all the connection between Lazereth, and the Rothschild’s, the rising of the dead, what a strain it must be to be huddled behind bullet proof limo;s and never knowing who may put a bullet in you, and when you leave this Earth, you have to leave it all to someone, can you control them beyond the grave? we understand that money is nice to go to bed with, but its all bits of printed paper and pressed bits of metal, and it all a collusion of all on this planet to think it has any value other than what we all collude as a dream as to what this stuff is?

  14. Kaye Lee

    “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

    ― Warren Buffett

  15. Christel Nathan

    Excellent Article Letia ,perhaps they trying too bring on the Apocalypse

  16. Denisio Fabuloso

    Well, a nice try. But the psychopaths are running the shop. Frankly they dont give a flying f*ck for any of us. It’s not obvious? For the most part we allowed this to happen with our voting, our ignorance and our apathy. Great South Pathetica will now reap the rewards of its abject stupidity. Well deserved it is too. Its nearly over for Homo economicus on this small beautiful (well once anyway) Planet. What a pointless waste.

  17. M. Gibbs

    Well stated, there’s a saying” that there are none so blind as will not see” and that is exactly the problem these money hungry people have, there is no thought or care for ones fellow humans, and certainly no understanding as you say of abject poverty.
    Ironically as one person quite rightly stated they cannot take it with them.

  18. Sad sack

    The rich don’t vote but our greed does? Our fear of someone getting a handout that we can’t drives our vote. Scratch the surface and find corruption but call it ‘dues’. Gillardian cleverness allowed political greed to flourish taking our servants into the top 1% of earners and into the tax avoider class. Thankfully we can slide into heaven the pollies will need to find some thin camels.

  19. silkworm

    Prayer has never worked, and never will, because their is nothing to answer it. Meditation will never solve the world’s problems. Telepathy doesn’t work. Thinking and feeling is not enough. We have to use our voices and our hands.

    Letitia, great article. Addicts need intervention. The Occupy movement was a good start, but it has been repressed.

  20. ops2048

    What is the 1% er’s end game? To solve the overpopulation problem by starving the 99% to death.

  21. Jon

    The problem with the 1% is they look at the world and say “we have as much as the poorest 3.5 billion: that still leaves 3.5 billion people who’s money we DON’T have!”

  22. Annie B

    An outstanding article, with much given to think about, Letitia. Wonderful writing.

  23. Ken Anderson

    They just don’t care. And organisations like the Salvation Army are now large multinational commercial organisations with government contracts worth billions. The well off have it all sorted by preventing any real advocacy gaining traction.

  24. lizzieconnor

    As I’ve posted elsewhere, I found Jamie Johnson’s 2007 insider’s film: ‘The One Percent’ enlightening (he’s a dissident member of the Johnson & Johnson family). ‘Out of the mouths’ (and behaviour) of some of the 1% themselves, even before the GFC.

  25. gangey1959

    What a sensational article.
    As a very back row watcher from the sidelines, it now seems to be a race to be the world’s first Trillionaire. Sorry Gina. Daddy and the court system only left you 22 Billion. My heart bleeds. I don’t have any idea what the global numbers are, or who the front runners might be. Rupert Murdoch must be up there somewhere. Billy Gates, Dick(head) Branson, ?? I don’t know. I’m just waiting for the screams of foul play from the ones who are not the first.

    For the record, I only just found this site tonight. I love it already. If I ruffle a few feathers, that’s the way life’s gunna go I’m afraid.
    Thanks for listening.

  26. Pingback: An Open Letter to the corporations and people of the 1% | RaiWhitten.com

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