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Letter From the Editor

Letter From the Editor

We Need the 1% 

By Josh Beaudoin 

The “1%” gets a lot of bad press. People see others with exorbitant amounts of wealth such as the likes of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk and, perhaps naturally, it doesn’t seem fair that such a small amount of people should control such a large percentage of wealth.  

One report found that globally “the richest decile (top 10 percent of adults) owns 85 percent of global wealth.” [1]  

Politicians act as if the redistribution of this wealth is simple. At the 2021 Met Gala in New York, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a dress that had the words “Tax the Rich” written on it. [2] This sentiment—that government redistribution through taxation would work—has been a common trope, especially among progressives.  

But this is a horrific oversimplification of the matter, and the truth is that we still have no idea why wealth seems to funnel to the top fraction of people, and even if it is a bad thing that it happens at all. For example, the 2008 Tesla Roadster originally cost just over $100,000, putting it way outside the budget of many people even in the global 10%. [3] However, as the wealthy purchased Teslas, the company was able to reinvest the money into better quality products so that now it costs as little as $40,000. [4] Because the 1% had money to spend on a Tesla, it is now more affordable for everyone, and the environment is healthier because of it. 

This trend can be seen in most new technologies. My mom told me how my grandfather got a calculator as a present decades ago. It costed over $100—much more in today’s dollars— and was primitive. Now, calculators only cost a couple dollars and have many times more computing power than the originals.  

There is also the issue of the ubiquity of the 1%. In classical music there is a small fraction of musicians that are still remembered. And of their music, only a small fraction of it is ever played. In acting, a small fraction of actors get the vast majority of attention. A small fraction of books become bestsellers. The top 1% of athletes become icons to people. And at The Collegian, we want to hire the top 1% of writers on campus to provide you with the best quality writing possible. 

If you start looking for the 1%, you’ll be surprised how many places you find it. With how prevalent it is, it appears to be something almost like a natural law. [5] 

So, before we go criticizing the 1%, let’s remember how much we owe them for the abundance we have. 


See Also

1. Elkins, K. (2018, November 2). How much money you need to be part of the 1 percent worldwide. CNBC  

2. Hills, M. C. (2021, September 14). AOC caused a stir with her statement-making met Gala Gown. CNN  

3. Reed, E. (2020, February 4). History of tesla: Timeline and facts. TheStreet  

4. Design your model 3: Tesla. Tesla. (n.d.). 

5. Peterson, J. B. (2017, March 11). 2017 personality 13: Existentialism via Solzhenitsyn and the Gulag. YouTube 

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