Talking about "the 1 percent" has become a popular pastime, though usually the person doing the talking means someone else - outside TV commercials no one ever cops to being The Man.(1) Protesters in the Occupy Wall Street movement meant it about rich, which investment bankers, for example, so they dutifully ignored the opulent wealth of Kanye West and his $355 t-shirt, Balmain jeans, Givenchy plaid and gold chains when he visited to show support for their cause.
While he buys t-shirts to wear for $355 he only sells his own brand to young fans for $120 each. See? He is such a giver and therefore not part of the 1 percent.
Kanye West showing his support for the poor at Occupy Wall
Street by bringing an entourage and $80,000 in accessories.
It isn't just a money thing that has the have's and have nots - I have long said that food has its own 1 Percent too; in America and Europe the 1 Percent can afford to buy organic food and haughtily insist it is sustainable for everyone, because we all live in an area where food can be grown easily. We're lucky to have been born in places where food grows so well that, for the first time in world history, poor people can afford to be fat, and therefore that the Food 1 Percent can deceive themselves about organic food. Most of the world does not have that luxury.
Organic food shoppers may be even more elite than they claim; persistent claims that food grown and sold using the modern 'organic' process is nutritionally different than traditional food have long been debunked, so advocates have again taken up claims that they have fewer pesticides. Well, they don't. Without pesticides, pests would holocaust crops, anyone who has lived on a farm knows that - the same demographic that insists organic food has no pesticides are also against plants that produce their own pesticide naturally, so organic food uses lots of pesticides, they are just not synthetic. You'd still better wash your food, no matter what their marketing claims about a health halo.
In reality, 99.99% of the pesticides that can be detected in the bodies of Americans are due to plants that produce them naturally, not synthetic residue from regular food eaten by we commoners. So organic food shoppers who insist they can afford food that has never used a pesticide are not just the 1 percent, they are the .01 percent - truly elite - because they can worry about things bordering on insignificant and do not need to care what food costs. If a farmer suffers 50% losses using no pesticides of any kind, the farmer simply charges twice as much and the .01 percent can afford to pay it. Like Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, who can redo an $11 million house and then start building a bigger one before they even move into the 'old' one, the Food .01 Percent are really out of touch.
'No pesticides' is just not anything close to a real world scenario for 99.9% of America, and certainly not a way to feed 10 billion people worldwide.
Organic food has grown to be a $60 billion industry so clearly that is not all 1 Percent-ers buying it. Just like young people who somehow spend $120 on a Kanye West t-shirt, a whole lot of poor people are trying to emulate their elites also; they are buying organic food because it makes them feel like better people, ethically and nutritionally. But they are not being told about the increased water consumption, eutrophication, ammonia emissions, nitrogen leaching, and nitrous-oxide emissions in organic farming. Traditional farming in America is environmentally terrific, in the last 30 years it has "dematerialized" agriculture to where farming produces far more food on far less land with far less environmental impact than ever dreamed about.
(Science Left Behind. New York: Public Affairs, 2012, page 65)
Most organic shoppers are instead being fooled. The .01 percent are convincing everyone else that organic food for commoners is healthier and better for the environment and farmers because it creates a big enough market to give them the food choices they want, like organic pineapples and organic onions and non-GMO rock salt and other things equally meaningless.
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