I’d like to talk about the enemies of humanity. The people who brought us to the state we’re in. The people who run our economy, own our corporations and control our media. The 0.1%.

“The 0.1%?”


“Not the 1%?”

The 1% are disproportionately wealthy, disproportionately influential and disproportionately polluting, it’s true… But the 0.1%… They’re another ball game entirely.

“I’ve always wished I was one of them.”

The 0.1%?


Me too. So I could self-immolate.

The 0.1%…

They’re the ones who take the biggest slice of the world’s pie and don’t share.

– The ultra-greedy.

– The hyper-authoritarian.

– The psychopathically uncaring.

They’re the 0.1% of us who don’t give much of a damn about the other 99.9%. The super-consumers who want everything while leaving the rest of us with less and less.

Enemies of humanity?

Enemies of the environment?

Enemies of the vulnerable? The poor?

Of course they are.

What else could they be?


“Is this a conspiracy theory?” you ask. “You know I don’t like conspiracy theories.”

Me neither.

No, there’s no need for conspiracy.

The 0.1% are perfectly open about what they’ve achieved.

In their eyes they’re getting the just rewards of a system which creates winners and losers.

Maybe they’re gaming the system – but who doesn’t game the system?

And they’ve got the majority of the rest of us believing this is the way it’s got to be.

“It’s quite some trick,” you say.

I agree. We’ve always known you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but it now turns out that with the politicians in your pockets and a wide-ranging media portfolio you can fool entire populations in near perpetuity.

The system we made

You’ve heard the phrases. ‘It’s just the way things are.’ ‘That’s how the world works.’ ‘You get what you deserve.’ ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’

Myths, sponsored by the rich.

It suits them for us to think like that. But none of it’s true.

Inequality doesn’t happen by accident. It doesn’t strike like lightning out of the blue. We’ve structured our society, our laws and our economy to support it. More than that, the 0.1% work hard to secure and perpetuate their claim. They buy out the newspapers, the television broadcasters, the radio networks. They lobby politicians. They finance think tanks which push for policies that serve only to accelerate the feedback loops of wealth.

“It’s a vicious circle, isn’t it?”

Exactly. It’s a circle around which the 0.1% are helping us all to spin.

And we’re spinning faster all the time.

The Safety Delusion

There’s a further danger. The super-wealthy – those with a net worth of $50m+, those who earn in a few days or even a few hours more than most of us earn in a year, those who own 25% of the world’s wealth while the poorest 50% in the world own less than 1%, well, they’re suffering from a dangerous delusion.

You see, their cushion of privilege means they imagine themselves safe – even as the system they control careers towards eco-apocalypse.

But they’re not safe.

And their delusion of safety is a threat to us all.

Name and shame

Who are the 0.1%?

They’re the owners or controllers of large corporations. People like Bernard Arnault, CEO of French company LVMH, whose net worth is estimated at $109b USD; or Zhong Shanshan, founder of Chinese corporation Nongfu Spring, with an estimated net worth of $85b; or Amancio Ortega, who controls Spanish fashion giant Inditex (incl. Zara), with a net worth of $58b; or Carlos Slim, owner of Grupo Carso and America Movil, with an estimated net worth of $56b. Or, of course, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, with a net worth of $150b.

They’re the CEOs or owners of monopolistic technology companies. People like Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, on $595,267,000 p.a.; Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, on $133,728,000 each year; Tom Rutledge, CEO of Charter Communications, on $116,995,000; Joseph Ianniello, previously Acting CEO of ViacomCBS, on $116,565,000.

They are the hedge fund managers. Folk like Jim and Nathaniel Simons of Renaissance Technologies (net worth $23.5b), Ray Dalio of Bridgewater ($18.7b), Ken Griffin of Citadel ($15b) and Steve Cohen of Point77 ($13.6b).

They are the wheelers and dealers of high finance. People like Fidelity’s Abigail Johnson, worth $29b; Carl Icahn of Icahn Enterprises, worth $19b; Blackstone’s Steve Schwarzman, worth $17.9b; Ned Johnson of Fidelity, worth $17b; or Thomas Peterffy of Interactive Brokers, worth $16b.

They are the inheritors of wealth, like: Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken (net worth $12.3b); Hans Rausing ($12.5b); Pallonji Mistry ($12.5b); Tom and Ray Kwok ($13b); Gerald Grosvenor, aka the Duke of Westminster ($13b); Kjeld Kistiansen ($13b); Donald Trump ($3.1b).

They’re the media tycoons, such as Rupert Murdoch of News Corp ($7.6b but disproportionally powerful as a result of his media ownership); Michael Bloomberg ($18b); David  Thomson of Reuters ($23b); the Barclay brothers ($8b) ; Jonathan Harmsworth, aka Viscount Rothermere ($1.2b).

They are kleptocratic politicians and dictators like Russia’s Vladimir Putin ($70b), Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi ($8.5b), The Philippines Imelda Marcos ($5b), North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un (£5b).

They are royalty, such as the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Hohammed bin Salman ($10b); the Crown Prince of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn ($30b); Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates ($30b); miscellaneous billionaire members of the royal families of Saudi Arabia and Brunei; the Prince of Liechtenstein ($3.5).

They are the world’s biggest landowners. People like beneficiary of imperialism, Queen Elizabeth II of the UK, with Crown Estates worth $17b plus the Duchy of Lancaster’s 18,433 hectares. Folk like Australia’s Gina Rinehart, who owns 8m hectares of land – and a scattering of other Australians whose families took ownership of vast swathes of formerly indigenous territories. People like the Irving family in Canada, with 1.8m hectares; the Matte and Angelini families in Chile, with 1.1m and 1m hectares each; Russia’s Linnik brothers with 1m hectares; King Mswati III of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) with 1m hectares (making most of his own citizens his tenants); John Malone in the United States with almost 900,000 hectares of land; and the Italian Benetton family, who’ve bought up a similar amount of land in Argentina.

And then, of course, there’s Joe Tax Evader and Molly Money Hider, who secret away their wealth in tax havens – an amount totalling somewhere between $24tr and  $32tr USD globally. We don’t know their true identity, that’s the point of the tax haven trick, but we do know who they are: Public Enemy No. 1 – the 0.1%.

And, of course, for each of these names there are tens of thousands more, playing similar roles as they amass unequal and disproportionate wealth at others’ expense.

Are they earning a decent day’s pay for a decent day’s work?

Are they f***.


Make no mistake, no matter how philanthropic or self-justifying, the 0.1% love the system that perpetuates their wealth.

It speaks for itself.

With their ownership of the media and their ability to leverage politicians they could reverse the cycles which reinforce inequality overnight. The 0.1%, the busload of oligarchs who own as much as 3.5 billion of the rest of us, the corporate tax evaders and their enablers, are not victims of a system they can’t control, they are the system. They’re its agents and its handlers – and their victims are the poor.

Or perhaps I should qualify that.

They are the agents and handlers of the system – and their current victims are the poor.

Which is quite sufficiently bad in itself: immoral, degraded and perverse.

But, in the world they’re bringing into being, through their over-confidence, their power-hunger and their greed, their future victims will be us all.

Luke Andreski

Luke Andreski is co-founder of the @EthicalRenewal and EthicalIntelligence.Org cooperatives. He is author of Short Conversations: During the Plague (2020), Intelligent Ethics (2019), Ethical Intelligence (2019) and How To Be Happy (2017).

You can connect with Luke on LinkedIn, https://uk.linkedin.com/in/luke-andreski-ethics, on WordPress,  https://lukeandreski.wordpress.com/, or via the EthicalRenewal co-op on Twitter https://twitter.com/EthicalRenewal.

Substitutes For Bread image courtesy of James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey (1795). Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org.



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