The One Percent-ers

This is a guest post from Michael Doorly, Concern Worldwide’s head of active citizenship.

Can you name the wealthiest person in the world, or how about five of the top twenty? Chances are you probably can. Yes Bill Gates is there (but he is only the second wealthiest), Warren Buffet is there as is the founder of Walmart (Jim Walton) and Liliane Bettencourt (founder of L’Oreal) and so is everyone’s favourite social networker, Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook).

The lives of the rich and famous it seems have always been and will continue to be, a fascination for us.  We can still see ‘Dallas’ re-runs on TV along with more modern fare like ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’, ‘Divas and Daughters’, ‘The Hills’, MTV Cribs and even Downton Abbey…wealth it must be said is sooo much more attractive than poverty.

We have heard the numbers before:  that 2% of the world’s wealthiest people control 50% of the world’s wealth, that 2.8 billion people live on less than $2 a day or that 80% of the world’s population live on less than $10 a day…they are numbers that sometimes shock and anger but sadly don’t really change very much from year to year.

Anyway what got me started on this blog is an article in the Jan 14th, 2012 New York Times entitled; Among the Wealthiest One Percent, Many Variations. It is an interesting read about the makeup of America’s super wealthy. Here’s a quote;

As a member of the 1 percent, he is part of a club whose name conjures images of Wall Street bosses who are chauffeured from manse to Manhattan and fat cats who have armies of lobbyists at the ready…But in reality is a far more varied group one that includes podiatrists and actuaries, executives and entrepreneurs, the self- made and the silver spoon set.

The top 1 percent of earners in a given year receives just under a fifth of the country’s pretax income, about double their share 30 years ago…

Interested in the occupations and industries of America’s wealthiest households by percentage or actual figures? The New York Times has it covered.

I wonder what I’ll watch on TV tonight?

  • Photo details: Black Friday in downtown Seattle at Westlake, Dec 2, 2010. Photo: John Henderson via Flickr CC-BY-ND