Confessions of a Member of the One Percent

Dalrymple recently discovered that, measured by convertible assets (he seems to mean net convertible assets), he is a member of the infamous “one percent”, but he considers this distinction utterly meaningless:

This belief is no doubt the last gasp of dialectical materialism’s law of transformation of quantity into quality. According to this law, when a man grows rich enough he suddenly ceases to be a man like others and becomes—what, exactly?

My pattern of consumption and mode of life are not conspicuously different from those of many of my peers, except in so far as I have no television and buy many more books than most. It is true that my interests and amusements are not the same as those of most citizens, but that was so long before I joined the One Percent and would have been the case had I not joined it (or them). If it is really necessary to divide me from others by possession of some characteristic or other, my different tastes and interests would seem to me to be a better way to do it. The fact that I sometimes write art criticism, for example, distinguishes me far more clearly from my neighbors than do my assets.

The division of people by income or assets into One Percent versus 99 Per Cent as if they were creatures of different species is not so much descriptive or explanatory as incitement to those two most unattractive and destructive emotions: envy and resentment.

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