Paul Krugman titled one of his posts: “With Great Wealth Comes Great Pettiness.” I wrote a comment that, I imagine, will be published at some point. Here it is what I wrote, slightly edited:
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I am no psychologist, but my very amateurish impression is that the 1%ers are incredible fragile creatures.
It is understandable. We are, as Aristotle had it, social animals. Our sense of ourselves depends to a large extent — no matter how robust and mature our personalities — on what others believe about us and how intensely they believe it (and the others in turn on our beliefs about them in a chicken-and-egg way).
In spite of the seemingly contrarian evidence, the 1% is troubled by their fortune (especially in the face of poverty and necessity) and they crave for any feedback that helps them believe that they deserve their possessions, even if they have to pay for that feedback (although they would certainly prefer it were spontaneous).
It helps tremendously when the 99% accepts that belief and reflects it back on them as admiration, fascination, imitation, or even envy. But when the 99% asserts their own needs as outright human and valid as those of the 1%, it is trouble all around.
I guess the two roles go together, but I wonder whether in this light the true and main one of the American Enterprise Institute, Fox News, etc. is that of paid sycophants for the emotional gratification of the 1% (and only secondarily, that of ideologists directing their work to the 99%).
For more, see Jamie Johnson’s documentaries (yes, from the J&J family), which are all online for free.
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Here’s Jamie Johnson’s documentary “The One Percent”: