The global 1%

When left populists rail against elites they are generally referring to economic and political power. Their target is the richest 1% that owns half the world’s wealth: the newspaper moguls, bankers, political donors and corporate lobbyists; Tony Blair, the Clintons, the Bushes, Old Etonians, Old Harrovians, Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, Harvard, Bullingdon. Those people who run things unchecked from a position of absolute and relative privilege that is often inherited. The left believes that the prospects for democracy weaken as inequalities grow and oligarchies emerge which govern in their own interests. Society then operates according to the golden rule – those who have the gold make the rules.

But when rightwing populists focus on elites they are mostly referring to culture. Their targets are filmmakers, actors, lecturers, journalists, “globalists”, spiritualists, scientists and vegans; the Clintons, Hollywood, Londoners, New Yorkers, Silicon Valley, Sussex and Berkeley.

All of those will be in the global 1%. Own a home and a pension in Britain? Global 1% pretty much.

51 thoughts on “The global 1%”

  1. Vegans? WTF? Gary Younge is off is head. However, they seem to be figuring this out:

    Whenever liberal commentators insist they are in a better position to understand what working-class people’s best interests are than working-class people themselves, they should be called out on their arrogance. If those who seek a second referendum on Brexit want a different result they will have to do better than claim that some people were too stupid to know what they were voting for first time around.

    There is a paternalist streak in liberalism that is more comfortable in providing for the poor than listening to and empowering them, which is not only morally wrong but strategically self-defeating. “How long do you think you can call people stupid and deplorable before they get mad?” asked Jamie Walsh, a Trump voter I met in Muncie, Indiana in 2016.

  2. “…as George Clooney put it about Trump: “I grew up in Kentucky. I sold insurance door to door. I sold ladies’ shoes. I worked at an all-night liquor store. I would buy suits that were too big and too long and cut the bottom of the pants off to make ties so I’d have a tie to go on job interviews. The idea that I’m somehow the ‘Hollywood elite’ and this guy who takes a shit in a gold toilet is somehow the man of the people is laughable.””

    So I should listen to Clooney – a man who literally pretends to be someone else for a living – because he was once allegedly poor?

  3. What is it with this ‘post-imperial melancholy’ shit? I’m more likely to associate a hankering for empire days with my grandfather, born in the 1870s, than with my parent’s generation – let alone the Boomer cohort.

  4. ” I would buy suits that were too big and too long and cut the bottom of the pants off to make ties so I’d have a tie to go on job interviews.”
    Uh?
    If you can stitch a necktie up out of the offcuts of shortening a pair of trousers, the job you should be interviewing for is tailor. And getting it.

  5. “Oligarchies emerge…” Oligarchies were the very earliest form of human organisation. They relied on magic (religion, shamans, taboos) to keep the hoi palloi obedient.

    Human progress since the time of Socrates has been about breaking down the rule of Oligarchs and replacing it with individualism, empiricism and democracy.

    Nowhere has this been more successfully achieved than in the Anglosphere.

    In modern politics it is those on the left who would ignore empirical science and individualism and prefer cultural relativity, manmade global warming, the precautionary principle, and above all collectivism.

  6. They don’t do numbers, do they? 1% of 7 billion is 70 million. There are clearly not 70 M people of the type they describe, and as Timmy rightly says, the global 1% reaches well down into the Western professional classes…

  7. BTW, George Clooney is currently advertising coffee here on Thai TV. Film work dried up, has it?

    The right are not targeting culture, they are targeting people who think that because they sell us make belive they can sell us politics… Actually I might need to think about that a bit more.

  8. £33k a year gross income gets you into the world’s top 1%.

    For wealth you need £600k – that’s equity in property and value of investments.

  9. Clooney’s dad was a TV anchorman, his aunts were regarded singers.

    He made his acting debut at 17.

    He may have spent a month or two earning extra cash but lets be honest here, that is an elite background. Lots of actors in the UK who make it turn out to be poshos whose parents are either loaded or in someway already well into the film/tv industry.

    They all might have been earning little for a small amount of time when 18 but one phone call to the parents would suffice.

    These people never ever had to contend with living a normal working job to survive and hope that ones sideline passions allows them to leave the 9-5 grind.

  10. According to the the International Business Times, the actor is worth around $500 million. That number got a significant boost following the 2017 sale of Casamigos, the tequila brand Clooney co-founded, to Diageo, for close to a billion dollars.

    https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/money-and-power/a13446563/george-clooney-net-worth/

    Definitely not one of the 1%, he’s right.

    Whenever liberal commentators insist they are in a better position to understand what working-class people’s best interests are than working-class people themselves, they should be called out on their arrogance.

    Gary, you will spend your entire life shouting at your co-workers at the Guardian. Prepare for the long haul.

  11. When left populists rail against elites they are generally referring to economic and political power. Their target is the richest 1% that owns half the world’s wealth: the newspaper moguls, bankers, political donors and corporate lobbyists; Tony Blair, the Clintons, the Bushes, Old Etonians, Old Harrovians, Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, Harvard, Bullingdon.

    No mention of Israel or Jews, which is a bizarre omission.

  12. Isn’t most of that ‘wealth’ invested one way or another and distributed throughout the economy? Whilst the 1% have title to it, it physically is in the hands of the 99%.

    So where is the inequality?

  13. The only reason Younge, a marxist of some viciousness has his current gig is because of his skin colour – the idea he is some kind of popular tribune is one of the funniest things I have read. A dyed in the wool racist, the sooner he is on a plane to Caracas or Pynogyang where he might get to practise firsthand the policies he preaches the better.

  14. Gary’s insight amounts to denouncing someone as an old etonian doesn’t seem to work as an electoral strategy.Shouting “you like rocket” didn’t either.

    The key battleground is for authenticity, and the electorate have a keen nose for inauthenticity. All politicians fake it to some degree, some are just better at it than others. The critique of the arts media world is to try and explain a lacuna between what a lot of people are thinking and what they see represented. The lacuna of the 1% is easily explained by money.

  15. @Andrew C

    “£33k a year gross income gets you into the world’s top 1%.

    For wealth you need £600k – that’s equity in property and value of investments.”

    I find those figures hard to believe unless the gross income is excluding investment returns. I would have expected the majority of people with 600k+ of assets to be making 33k+, many from asset returns alone? And people with far lower assets (eg young professionals) will be over the income limit too. So I can’t see how those two figures leave you in the same percentile.

  16. MyBurningEars,

    Yes, the two sets very substantially overlap, but they won’t be completely identical.

    There will be quite some number of people with income >£33k but without the assets – that’s ok.

    The question is whether you can have £600k net assets without the £33k income. I would say yes: you may have a total return of >5%, but a good chunk of that will be capital appreciation, which is not income.

    Dividend yield is usually lower than that, and bond yields vastly lower.

  17. @MyBuringEars

    “I would have expected the majority of people with 600k+ of assets to be making 33k+, many from asset returns alone?”

    Your expectations are optimistic.

    If you own outright and live in a house worth £600k you are in the top 1% in the world on wealth but it’s not going to generate any income.

  18. TPG, thanks. (Doc too.)

    I think you’re right – to be fair, in the UK context especially, a lot of people who are only just over 600k (and there’ll be many more there than, say, only just over a million) will be there mostly from the property they live in, which isn’t generating income even if it’s been appreciating very healthily over the last few decades.

  19. @Andrew C

    Ahh you got there before me. Thanks.

    Yes, optimistic. Personally I’d rather have a mortgage and a diversified investment portfolio but it’s true the vast majority of Brits want to be outright owners even if they’ve very little elsewhere.

    If you’re owning a 600k house, I suspect you’re likely either to be in a good job or to have retired from one and have a decent pension. So still feeling somewhat sceptical. But there are some points I think Timmy has pointed out before, like what happens to the asset requirement if you tot up the NPV of the state pension and throw that in the mix.

  20. When was the last time anyone took any notice of a spiritualist, apart from the professional protesting class’s undermining of Glenn Hoddle?

    As for Sussex, I suppose he must be alluding to Meghan Markle but I don’t think anyone apart from Royal correspondents at the BBC and Mail pay much attention to her.

  21. Never forget that wealth is a proxy for age.

    The socialists’ demand for equality translates literally to, “Kill grandpa and take his stuff.”

  22. HB – The key battleground is for authenticity, and the electorate have a keen nose for inauthenticity.

    Yes.

    Authenticity and the radical, crazy idea that politicians should do what the electorate wants, as opposed to what the CBI/Westminster bubble/Oxfam/Mark Carney/George Soros want.

    Wat Tyler did nothing wrong.

  23. Rob – For a Marxist to complain that the Right “weaponises culture” is chutzpah of the highest order.

    In Gary’s case, it’s probably just stupidity. Though, give him his due: he managed to make a fool of Ambiguously Gay Hitler Richard Spencer, who is an even bigger idiot.

    Royal butt hound – When was the last time anyone took any notice of a spiritualist, apart from the professional protesting class’s undermining of Glenn Hoddle?

    Yes, it’s a strange and rather lazy list, even by Youngeian standards. Lemme see:

    Their targets are filmmakers, actors,

    Typically hypocritical luvvies who inject tone-deaf political lectures into what’s meant to be entertainment.

    lecturers,

    The intolerant political monoculture of loony left academia.

    journalists,

    Trickle-down media whores.

    “globalists”,

    The people who say we can’t have Brexit, because that’s just crazy. But we can have half the population of Africa and Asia moving in next door at our expense, because people who can’t change a lightbulb are going to… pay our pensions, would you believe?

    spiritualists,

    ???

    scientists

    Paid political shills who understand nothing of politics or economics, and are incredibly shaky on their repeatedly falsified warnings of climate Ragnarok, but are forever advocating some sort of global communism to protect us from the terrifying prospect of nicer summers.

    and vegans;

    Carrot-fondling sex pests.

    the Clintons,

    Lock her up.

    Hollywood,

    See above.

    Londoners, New Yorkers,

    Plz Mr Putin, do your stuff.

    Silicon Valley,

    Autistic internet monopolists trying to control what you’re allowed to discuss.

    Sussex

    ???

    and Berkeley.

    See: “vegans”, “academia”, and “the rednecks at the end of EASY RIDER did nothing wrong”

  24. “if you own outright and live in a house worth £600k … it’s not going to generate any income.”

    Imputed rent buys no beer.

    On t’other hand, it does release other income for a beer-oriented mission statement realisation paradigm.

    (See, I can write Murrikun too!)

  25. …as George Clooney put it about Trump: “I grew up in Kentucky. I sold insurance door to door. I sold ladies’ shoes. I worked at an all-night liquor store. I would buy suits that were too big and too long and cut the bottom of the pants off to make ties so I’d have a tie to go on job interviews.

    That’s complete bullshit. Clooney’s father, Nick Clooney, was prominent journalist, anchorman and TV personality in Columbus and Cincinnati for decades. He had his own TV show, and was the lead anchor for Cincinnati’s most popular TV station back when I was in college. George Clooney didn’t grow up in some shotgun shack in Kentucky. He grew up in a priviledged, upper middle class environment in Ohio.

  26. @Rob
    “newspaper moguls, bankers, political donors and corporate lobbyists”

    Thinly veiled cipher from Corbyn & Corbynite scum. They (and we) all know who they are referring to when they spew out one or more of those terms.

    You just have to look at the clips of Corbyn when he is gibbering on about bankers or media owners – the hatred and vicious anger in his eyes tells you all you need to know.

  27. BTW, George Clooney is currently advertising coffee here on Thai TV. Film work dried up, has it?

    There is one common thread running through all of George Clooney’s movies: The lose money.

    That’s why he’s selling coffee in Thailand… He’s box office poison.

  28. Actually, writing wog boils down to little more than…

    “Please, America, pay for this.”

    That about covers all of Europe.

  29. I would buy suits that were too big and too long and cut the bottom of the pants off to make ties so I’d have a tie to go on job interviews.

    Clooney’s family background notwithstanding, surely this is obvious bullshit? Who on earth can afford any sort of suit but not a tie? You could get a charity shop Armani tie for 50p today.

    I vaguely remember that in the first flush of hospital thingy fame, George was marketing himself as a working class star, which means he’s been selling the same shit for so long he probably believes it.

  30. Steve said:
    “The intolerant political monoculture of loony left academia.”

    Oi! Bloody cheek. That’s “near-monoculture” please.

  31. “BTW, George Clooney is currently advertising coffee here on Thai TV.”

    Blend 37, Alta Rica, Gold Blend, or Camp?

  32. Today’s Americanism:

    “When asked questions about their comfortability in philosophy classrooms, both male and female students at the university reported that ….”

    Let’s hope that nothing negatively impacts their comfortability.

  33. Wealth includes pension savings.

    Take, say, police sergeant (police pensions are fully funded I believe, if not, choose some other civil service with a funded pension scheme ,not a government promise one). Bloke in his 50s. Paid off the mortgage on a 3 bed des res in south of England. Earns more than 33k a year. Has a pension pot with an actuarial value of north of 400k at least.

    Top global 1% in income and in wealth.

    That top 1% doesn’t just reach down into the upper middle classes, it’s down into the artisan class in the rich countries. And yes, there’s an awful lot of lifecycle effects there. The same numbers will work for a senior NHS nurse for example. And yet, now it’s a graduate entry profession without bursaries, the student loan debt will mean that the starting out NHS nurse is in the world’s bottom 10% by wealth. For it’s net wealth. assets minus debts. Without including he human capital she’s just bought with that student loan.

    And really poor people can’t borrow money, so they don’t have significant negative wealth. The world’s top 10% by wealth and bottom 10% – mostly for the second – are pretty much all in the rich countries, the occasional 3 world billionaire excepted.

  34. @ Ducky McDuckface
    Sussex includes a university so notoriously trendy and lefty that it was mentioned by Rt Hon Jim Hacker (“should I say another kibbutz”) and Brighton that elected Caroline Lucas (yes, there is some overlap but there is a lot of non-overlap) and hundreds of her followers who are so “Green” that they blockaded, dangerously, a site where no fracking was planned as an anti-fracking protest.

  35. Well, I suppose so, but the Uni != Brighton, Brighton != Kemp Town and Kemp Town != Portslade, so I really don’t know what point he thinks he’s making.

    Not convinced.

  36. @ Ducky
    Looked him up – born in Stevenage, a depressing new town, in the late ’60s when Sussex was fashionable. Probably traumatised by the anti-black prejudice of those of his neighbours who had been rehoused from the East End. So joined the Young Socialists more than a decade after they were banned by the Labour Party; first paid job was at Uni as a “Welfare” officer of the students union; then given a Bursary by the Grauniad.

    Fat guy pretending to represent the poor.
    All i can say is that he thinks Sussex is a leading light for the New Left so anyone sane must be criticising it.
    .

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