Open Letter to the corporations and people of the 1% - The AIM Network
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
Firstly, I want to share a little something with you that we in here 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
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.
In spite of all your wealth and unmitigated successes you continue
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.
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 worlds 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 ever 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.
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
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
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.
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 to the suffering you are causing others?…
This is bit of 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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
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 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 to 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