Guest Post: America’s Wealth-Defined Society

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Ben Tanosborn

America’s Wealth-Defined Society

Many of us wonder whether the Occupy Wall Street movement will continue to grow and establish roots, to offer some hope for change… or whether it will be stopped and smothered… not by the Fat-Cats represented in that odious One Percent, but by the Squires, that Nineteen Percent of enforcers, or bystanders, of predatory capitalism that has taken over America; what is now Corporate America.  The Squires are the only middle-class left in the United States today, even if there are many others who illusorily think of themselves as middle-class, not wanting to be included in a bottom 80 percent, the place where they belong if only they would wake up to reality, set aside their pride.

For almost three generations most anyone in America considered themselves to be part of that mythical middle-class.  Lower class was a term seldom mentioned; only people down on their luck and one-third or more of blacks and browns living in virtual poverty, belonged to that class swept under the rug.  Be that as it may, the majority of Americans by most any standard were affluent enough not to worry about the many wealth rungs in the socio-economic ladder, or where they stood in it.

However, political economics during the past three decades have helped create greater inequality, much greater wealth differences between lower and higher rungs.  And, what may be even worse, it also helped erase the upward economic mobility it once existed in the lower rungs, where 80 percent of the nation’s population resides.  Such mobility has completely disappeared.  Ronald Reagan made greed a top virtue for Americans, and much of the population was ready to live by that creed.  But as it turned out, only a small percentage was successful at it – and not entrepreneurially but predatorily – most others still smarting from a real estate bubble, as acquisition of a home mortgage was dabbed part of the American dream… what should have been called the American nightmare.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, whether by art or by design, has been careful not to make their common cause one of a struggle between classes, and that has been, at least initially, a wise thing.  Having said that, however, it would be wise and survivalist for them to realize that although they portray the wealthy top One Percent as the enemy, it is the power of the Nineteen Percent behind them that they need to worry about; and that appears as not much of an issue with the protesters.  If so, it could easily become their downfall, a complete debacle for the movement.

For once, let’s be realistic and try not to live in ignorance or make-believe.

We should be challenging not only the meaning behind those statistics which are getting all the headlines, but also dig deeper for what other statistics may mean for a more just society.  Such statistics are available but unfortunately not properly analyzed or, at the very least, not properly presented.  There are very powerful implications to the well-being and justice for the bottom 80 percent of us… not just a majority, but a resounding and truly overwhelming majority… the EIGHTY PERCENT of POOR and POWERLESS in a nation we deem free and democratic, but which unfortunately is neither.  Here is what we tend to focus on… how unequal we are relative to The Wealthiest One Percent with three examples cited time and time again:

  • That the Top 1% owns 40% of the Nation’s Wealth; and,
  • That the Top 1% end up receiving 24% of the National Income (Take Home Pay); and,
  • That the Top 1% owns 50% of the nation’s stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

There is another truth, however, which gives a much greater condemnation of our capitalist system, a system which has gone array and makes a mockery of a just society, one which brings out the worst in our citizens, the predatory nature of man, not his compassion. 

Shouldn’t that overwhelming part of the population, the bottom 80 percent, be just as angry or upset if told they are joining forces with the only true middle-class, a class which in relative terms is ALMOST THIRTY-TWO TIMES (32X) as wealthy as they are? [The 19% group that follows the top 1% possesses 53% of the Nation’s Wealth; while the bottom 80% only possesses 7% of the Nation’s Wealth.]

Isn’t about time we look at the distribution of wealth in this nation, and realize the iniquity in our system of taxation, for the unworkable and unfair system that it is?

Should it surprise us that the standard of living for most Americans has been declining for years?  That more and more Americans lack access to basic necessities such as food and health care?  That 19 percent of Americans lack the money to put enough food on the table… while that’s only true with 6 percent of Chinese?

It is the system… a system which unfortunately is endorsed by far more than 1 percent of the population.  For America to set on a right course, the movement cannot be solely Occupy Wall Street… it should grow and become Occupy Main Street.

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trav7777's picture

nonsense, bitchez

anynonmous's picture

the following excerpt sounds wonderful but does not ring true nor are any references provided


  • That the Top 1% owns 40% of the Nation’s Wealth; and,
  • That the Top 1% end up receiving 24% of the National Income (Take Home Pay); and,
  • That the Top 1% owns 50% of the nation’s stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

Could Tyler's guest perhaps be guilty of promoting an agenda? How about solid data and facts please.

I for one am sick and tired of the effing BS from the mammer jamming dick head aholes.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

The top 1% have 100% of the power.

trav7777's picture

not even...the top 1% either of income or wealth isn't really that lofty.

I've been in the top 1% of earners on several occasions and I don't have any congressmen at my beck and call; I can't phone Obama like the Saint of Omaha can.  There's a TITANIC difference between the power of individuals and that of large corporations.  Those are like gigantic mechwarrior suits operated by their executives.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

OK.  1% is just a number.  Top 0.5%, 0.1% whatever.

Richard Head's picture

Yeah sure, "whatever."  The whining class can't even identify the targets of their anger, let alone propose realistic solutions to their perceived problems.  And redistributing wealth is not a real solution. 

Raymond Reason's picture

Hey Butthead, you're beginning to sound like an aristrocrat.  They have a simple solution: revolution.  And there will be a lot more than just wealth redistributed. 

Monedas's picture

In North Communist monkey owns 99.999999999 of what little they got ! Visit Pyongyang soon....we'll leave "the" light on for ya ! Monedas 2011 These OWS Acorn Operatives don't want a revolution ! Ask them ! They want four more years of Negro Care !

TaxSlave's picture

Yeah, ignore the money-printers, ignore that all that debt is put on your head for you to never be able to pay off.


Focus on envy and hatred, let them redefine fascism as capitalism, and throw the rest of your freedom into the jaws of the beast.


That is the meme of our masters, brayed from every telescreen every moment of every day.


By the time they round you up to work on the collective farm after taking that land from all those greedy farmers, it will be too late for you.

ifonly's picture

"Negro care" ?? Racist much?

UP Forester's picture

The top 1% have 100% of the corporate-controlled media.

Fixed it for ya.

The top 1% think they control the masses, the military and all the enforcers.

However, that leaves about 95% of the third rail of citizens' ability to change gov't.  The first two, the ballot box and the jury box, have proven to be teats on a bull.  How many hungry people does it take to get to the center of a cartridge box?  We may soon find out....

Charlie J's picture

Indeed, there is a lot of nonsense in this post.

"For once, let’s be realistic and try not to live in ignorance or make-believe."  OK, good idea. I look around at where I "live" and I see nothing but people who would likely be called middle-class. 

It's a community of 40,000, a suburb of San Diego and there are 20 or 30 other communities like this in San Diego county.  Yes, there are communities that are "poor".  There always have been, always will be.  Less than an hour drive south, there are LOTS of people living in cardboard huts, in Tijuana.  I don't see anyone living in cardboard huts here.

It seems to be in vogue these days to say that the middle class has disappeared, that it doesn't exist anymore.  According to what metric, what definition?  It's mostly nonsense, but people like to write it anyway.

And there is no mobility?  What a crock.  I'm a succesful entrepreneur who grew up with nothing.  I mentor entrepreneurs in a program here in San Diego and I see a lot of folks doing startups.  The banksters and the politicians are indeed disgusting and really hurting our country, and hopefully we will be able to change this, but the reality is that they have little to do with the success or failure of the startups we are doing.  I spend exactly zero minutes thinking about the politicians or bankers when I'm working on a startup.

Yes, the stuff is probably going to hit the fan someday, but my preparation for it is to have a business going that will still generate revenue.

ConfederateH's picture

This guest poster is a real fever-swamp leftie.  He really shows that the 99% and 1% aren't about wealth, but about intellegence.

Instant Karma's picture

If you want to spread the wealth around you tax wealth and assets not income. Duh.

ElvisDog's picture

And I dispute the claim that 19% of people don't have enough money to put the food on the table. The so-called poor in the U.S. are generally speaking fatter than the so-called Squires meaning they're consuming more calories not less.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

This sounds like the 1970s.  The top 1% decide to tax the next 19% to feed the bottom 80%.  This is the socialism scam.  Most of the next 19% earned their position the old fashioned way: education, work and savings.  But let's tax them and not have to make any fundamental changes to the game.  The downward spiral continues.

anynonmous's picture

I would not dare to associate your post with the term loser but WTF are you talking about?

Oracle of Kypseli's picture

These percentages have always been lobe sided. The total IQ of America is constant. It is the population that increases. Therefore, these numbers are getting more lobe sided.

Ideology, politics etc. have nothing to do with these numbers.  

No need to argue back and forth. One who really wants to excel and climb up, he/she will.

Some have a head start and waste it and some climb out of ghettos against all odds.


rufus13's picture

"The total IQ of America is constant. It is the population that increases. "


You are mistaken. The IQ of the USA is dropping fast, almost as fast as the quality of public schools (which is, at best, training/indoctrination), as the relatively intelligent majority northern eurpean/caucasian female is not having a half-dozen live births.  The last numbers (gov't fudged numbers) indicate barely replacement levels that I suspect are about 30% high. 

The new "standard" IQ for "Average" American residents will be more likely around 87 (from the 1960 average of near 100). If we keep importing central Africans, we could move this number closer to their average IQ of 70.  This means a huge shortage of workers who can do more than shovel and lift, or perhaps, drive a pattern with the help of a guidance computer after remedial training, and much much less wealth for the nation as a whole.  Innovation and ability to cope with change effectively will diminish. 

The IQ of Chinese Han is not going down. It's average 105  now, and probably higher in the urban areas.  300M motivated Chinese men who can't find wives need to do something about that. America has a slight surplus of women. 


Aeonios's picture

Hey, don't talk shit about Africans. Most (but certainly not all) of the African's I've met have been more intelligent and more polite than any of the 'mericans I know.

Hell, the way our public schools teach young kids math these days goes:

T:"Hey kids, what's 2+2?"

K:"I don't know"

T:"Ok, then let's get a consensus on it! Let's everybody write down what you think 2+2 is and pass it up to me."

T:"Ok, now let's see, most of you wrote down '5', so that's our consensus; 2+2=5"

K:"Yay! 2+2=5"

Then the police come in and give them their mandatory morning grope before they have to file down the hall prison style to their next class.

EDIT: And why would a bunch of intelligent Chinese dudes want to marry a fat braindead American manatee? They don't even cook, clean, work or do anything else that might be misconstrued as helpful.

ElvisDog's picture

What you wrote is sad but true. If you have a chance, open up an elementary or middle school math text book in a U.S. public school. What do you notice? There are hardly any numbers. It's mostly word problems.

Are you kidding's picture

You're so right about most American women being worthless...and SO full of entitlement. are FUCKING up your daughters!  They think every man owes them anything they desire.  They laugh at us saying "I'm not your mommy"...yet they EXPECT a "daddy" to provide them with everything.  Funny, men are still required to do the manly jobs...but we're supposed to SHARE the "womanly" jobs...PLUS be the sole family provider?  We men should start a national "Rent the cow...NEVER buy it" campaign to save our younger brothers from a wasted life.

dolly madison's picture

It is true that the IQ appears to be going down.  I suspect it may have something to do with the food.  The amount of glutamate added to the food keeps going up and up and up.  Tests on rats have shown that when they were given added glutamate as pups they developed hypothalmic lesions.  I think it could be making it difficult for the kids to focus.  Autism is way up, ADHD is way up.  The kids can't handle the poison.  My own kids had problems.  One of them was autistic and the other had ADHD.  There symptoms have improved greatly since I got them off of the processed food.

I've looked into this a great deal.  The first time glutamate was added to the food supply was in the fourties, they started adding malted barley to the wheat flour.  That significantly raises glutamate levels.  Next came MSG.  Then when people complained about that the manufacturers started adding things that were autolyzed and hydrolyzed to add glutamate, but not have MSG on the label.  Now, glutamate is also in pesticides, so it is even on fresh foods. 

Glutamate is used for signaling in our bodies, so eating such large amounts has the capacity to mis-signal our bodies and cause disease states.  Also, too high of levels of glutamate can destroy cells.  Our bodies normally would easily convert it to other substances, but with such great amounts being ingested frequently, it can deplete us of the B vitamins we need to do the conversions.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

"WTF are you talking about?"

Reread my post, dumbo.

sangell's picture

Exactly, a bit much to say one was 'preyed' on for the past 30 years! That Reagan! unleashed an economic time bomb set to go off decades after he left office and no one could defuse it! An idiot might have not taken advantage of the various opportunities to accumulate wealth over those years and there are a lot of idiots in the world but one could have bought shares in an Apple, Microsoft, Biogen, DNA etc or even a house and made some money. If you didn't or, worse, if you did and spent it , well, too bad.

I do feel very bad for the kids leaving school today. They didn't have the opportunity to accumulate and very likely will not for years to come.

Pure Evil's picture

In the land of opportunity, you make your own fortune, you don't sit around and whine about how life has given you the shaft.

These kids should start thinking about how to create, market, and manufacture the products needed by people in the future.

Steve Jobs came of age during the Nixon/Carter/Ford stagflation years.

So, what is stopping these whiners from doing the same.

batterycharged's picture

Was there 20% unemployment and globalization during those times, with 50% of people underwater in their mortgages?

I love the people with their idiotic anecdotes of why the 20% unemployed should have a job. Usually it comes from people who haven't been looking for a job in the last 10 years.

But thanks for the input. I'll file it under the "whatever" folder.

buyingsterling's picture

This article's title had some promise, but the writer is obsessed with outcomes rather than the actual nature of the system, which preys on 99.99% to one degree or another (globally that means about 700,000 people run the world, that sounds high, if anything). The problem is in part materlialism, which the system pushes; it's become the standard for happiness for too many people. The 'American Dream' has been redefined; it used to be something like meaningful liberty in an orderly society. You don't have to be well off to be happy, but you do have to have love. The government makes even that more difficult by pushing and pulling us in different directions. Even now, their bureaucracies and regulations are sacrosanct; hiring is harder and more expensive every year, and self starter types are often deterred by or run afoul of the web of rules and dictates. We can't afford the levels of dependency we have now, but they seem intent on creating even more. Dependence breeds entitlement, self-justification, and eventually hatred for the hands that actually feed. They seem to want us to dislike one another, amping up the mistrust of regular Americans whenever possible. They want us focused on fairness, and each other, so that we avoid seeing them. It's not working like it used to. We see you.

trav7777's picture

the system is a ponzi of growth.  There is no opportunity in the aggregate for generations now to expect upward mobility.  Things are contracting, not growing.

Pure Evil's picture

There will always be opportunities to make fortunes whether the economy is contracting or growing.

What one needs is the right frame of mind. As the saying goes, build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door.

For example, there are these idea fairs where people take an idea or invention to showcase and evil corporations show up to see if there is something to the idea or invention to sell. People become rich selling their ideas and inventions to corporations.

There is always a need for some type of service, whether its grass cutting, dog walking, pool cleaning, selling tacos, helping old people understand their new digital remote control device, installing home theatres, or just selling plain ole sex. Lots of $5000 dollar and up whores out there, just ask Eliot Spitzer.

There is unlimited potential for positive thinkers.

JW n FL's picture



It is over for you.. we are coming for you.. we will take whatever we want from you weak, petty, spinless fucks.. now, go run and hide under a rock.. before the knock at the door comes!

Pure Evil's picture

Bam!, bam!, bam!

Is that you JW?

Say hello to my little friend:

my little friend

UP Forester's picture

Unless you're a T-101, you're going to have trouble defending your mom's basement with that....

ElvisDog's picture

Yep, JW, you'll come for the successful. And you'll take all their stuff and maybe kill them for good measure. And then you and your fellow tatooed, functionally illiterate brethren that you seem to like to associate yourself with will starve to death because you have in fact been parasites all your life and don't have the skills to produce anything. When parasites kill their host, they die too you dumb fuck.

aerojet's picture

You believe that bullshit?  Those fairs are full of losers who mostly have rotten ideas and the few good ones get bought for a pittance or outright stolen from the inventors.  You might better play the lottery than fuck around with that crap.  Products, products, products.  Consumerism took a bullet ot the head and is lying on the ground bleeding out and you are telling us about people making their fortunes with some product!

batterycharged's picture

lmao @ pure evil

You remind of that scene in Office Space where the guy says "what you need to do is come up with a really good idea, like the pet rock".

I have been seeing fewer and fewer people suggest there are easy solutions to making money lately. You are one of the few remaining, PE.

My favorite is "just start your own business" neglecting that most businesses fail. Oh and it wipes out your life savings.

wisefool's picture

Wait a minute. We know that there are not enough females in china. We are painfully aware that western women will whore themselves to Western politicians and other powerful men. We know that there is a huge trade and debt imbalance between the West and china.

Is anybody thinking what I am thinking? Make Love and not WWIII? Sexual liberation was the debt repayment plan all along? I am kinda a prude, but also fairly libertarian thinking. If thats how a person wants to live their life I am not going to stop them. And they would not be paying back my debts. I am poor but I do not consume hardly any resources and have no debt.

The russians have been exporting brides for a long time purportedly cause the men die young from overdoing it (work, booze, etc) . Americans overdo it by not working and loading up on trinkets.

This might be the solution! I am patriotic entrepenuer!

Incubus's picture

I'm with you: send them all these loose-ass women with STDs, and call it a day.  No point in fighting over useless shit.  And we'll be better off with a few million less fake & bake gold-diggers in the country.  

AnAnonymous's picture

Waooooo, hopefully for US citizens, there is 6 billions people to cushion the US crash land down to reality. It will be massive pain for the 6 billions people though.

There will always be opportunities to make fortunes whether the economy is contracting or growing.


Yes and? Never been about the lack of opportunities but the quality, the nature of the opportunities.
Opportunities differ fundamentally in a growing environment or in a stalling environment.

In a stalling or contracting environment, alas for US citizens cheap propaganda, it is not possible to escape the plain fact that the rich man's gains are the poor man's losses.

What one needs is the right frame of mind. As the saying goes, build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door.

For example, there are these idea fairs where people take an idea or invention to showcase and evil corporations show up to see if there is something to the idea or invention to sell. People become rich selling their ideas and inventions to corporations.

There is always a need for some type of service, whether its grass cutting, dog walking, pool cleaning, selling tacos, helping old people understand their new digital remote control device, installing home theatres, or just selling plain ole sex. Lots of $5000 dollar and up whores out there, just ask Eliot Spitzer.

There is unlimited potential for positive thinkers.

This is the part showing up all the difficulties US citizens have with reality.

Because it is a list of opportunities that are typical to a growing environment.

US citizens as they are expansionists can not reveal the nature of opportunities that exist in a non growing environment.

In the end, the usual, laughable as usual.

Opportunities exist in any environment but they differ in nature. Please do not list opportunities that are typical to a growing environment when you are pointed to a stalling environment.

List the opportunities associated with a stalling environment.

Are you kidding's picture

There may be opportunities...but not as many and less potential for exponential growth.  A depression isn't bullish for much.  Just saying...

dolly madison's picture

Unfortunately, I picked Sun instead of Microsoft.  I didn't care though because I was busy riding the real estate boom by the time I lost my stock money, and I was smart enough to start purchasing some lesser value properties for cash, so I wasn't totally wiped out when that bubble burst, but still.  Should the people have to put up with this shit of banksters causing all this madness.  Screw the talk like yours.  Many people were hurt very much by the banksters crap.

navy62802's picture

But hey, futures are up!! Crisis averted, right?

Pure Evil's picture

You are correct sir!

Ed McMahon

TradingJoe's picture

There won't be any peaceful change to then better, only violence, read war, civil unrest, revolution that will bring about that mystical CHANGE!!!

Anything else is wishful thinking and TALK IS JUST CHEAP!!!

max2205's picture

Should be the bottom 30% against the top 70% but no one would go see that movie

Ranger4564's picture

It will be the bottom 80% against the top 20% apparently, based on the comments above me so far.  George is right, in my opinion.  Whether people choose to believe it is up to them.

Prometheus418's picture

Hate to say it, but it likely will be nothing of the sort.

Most likely, barring WWIII, is that those who have private and corporate jets at their disposal will get on them and move elsewhere.  Then the remaining whatever % will fight one another for the scraps- that's what happened in Argentina, and you'd best believe that that was a trial run.

Best chance all of us have is to refute the nationalization of the bank's private debts, and pull together as communities.  There will be unrest, sure- and ultimately, blood.  But, if any of the standard arguments have even a grain of truth to them, the departure of the "elite" should be quite a load off the shoulders of America.  

There is this money layer over the world, and while it is important, it's not everything.  Ultimately, the US is a resource-rich developed country.  There's nothing at all stopping us from giving the entire rest of the world the finger, defaulting on the debt, closing our borders, and rebuilding this country.  Gotta find a substitute for oil, which is no small task- but it's not impossible, either.  Fighting on US soil is the worst possible outcome- destroying homes, industry and infrastructure won't help anyone in the long run.

Best game I can envision right now is for communities to organize as much as possible for self-sufficiency and security, and then refuse to pay any further taxes.  It won't work if one or two do it- it will have to be thousands of towns and cities, all at once, and every one of them will need to be prepared for the possiblity that they will need to fight to preserve their assumed sovreignty.  If not that, it will be millions of individuals who are hunkered down and starving, fighting one another- not a pretty thought.  Nobody, gold and guns or not, will be in very good shape if we are burning pieces off our own homes to stay warm, and hiding in rat holes instead of going to work raising food and producing goods.

sethstorm's picture

The problem is that unlike Argentina, the US has a military that can shoot those planes down, repatriate the people who try to flee, and blacksite those that are outside of the US.  What allows people to move freely about the world also allows the US government to move freely as well. 

The world's superpower will be more than happy to turn on those that leave it with its military.  If anything, that will start World War III.

lolmao500's picture

Portugal revolution, here we go! Military : if people riot, we will side with them, not the government!

Translated using google :

The military thus ensure that "serve the Portuguese people and not private institutions," and warns, "Let no one dare to think that the armed forces can be used in the repression of social upheaval that these measures may cause."

From a friend :
"This is really interesting. Basically, the Portuguese military has come out and announced that if the people riot, they are on the side of the people, not the government. Also, when journalists asked the military if they planned to revolt, their only response was "Revolutions are not announced ahead of time."  


The First Day of the 2nd American Revolution - Land of the Free

Story: In a not too distant America, a small group of men who served in the American Military swore by the Constitution to protect their country from every enemy, foreign and domestic. Seeing Americas Freedoms and Constitution destroyed by the Patriot Act and other draconia legislation, they are pushed to the edge by the tyrranical, vicious Homeland Security. This forces upon us what becomes the first day of a second American Revolution.