How the one percent will change

Finger pointing.001Pointing fingers.

We can’t blame the 99 percent for wanting its pound of flesh from the one percent. Decisions made “up there” are causing a lot of problems “down here.” We dislike owning problems. Especially our own. So we point fingers; at our family, spouses, bosses, government, lawyers, the weather.

Remind us of our culpability, our part in the predicament, you’ll get “you’re blaming the victim!” Justifying our victimhood is natural. It also keeps us powerless.

Powerlessness is common in Status-Quo economies. So is apathy. There are so many problems in the system, we grow numb. Even heroic actions to change often fall under Status-Quo economic weight. That’s why so many non-profits fail to solve the problems which sparked their creation. Solving the problem is too hard. So they spend resources on staying around.

Apathy. We can’t solve the problem. Let’s live with it.

Here’s what’s great about human behavior.

Look around you. Our behavior takes the shape of  the container it occupies, just as water fits a pitcher. Pour that same water into a glass. It takes that shape. Generally, we adapt to our circumstances. That’s how remarkable we are.

People adapt. That’s why we have different color skin and nose shapes. Over many years we adapt. Socially, we adapt to new roles as children, single adults, spouses, parents, seniors. We adapt to our work, our culture. We adapt to our neighborhoods. We adapt to the system.

Long-term hostages, prisoners, combat troops. All adapt to harsh, seemingly inhuman situations. There are costs. There are exceptions. Even so, example upon example show how human behavior adapts.

The one percent are people just like the rest of us. That’s why we at Copiosis believe there is hope for them. It is also why we believe they are needed in our shift from Status-Quo economies to post-scarcity gift economies. As a practical matter, they control most wealth and resources. How do we expect to make change with an extreme minority share? “Revolution” is not the way. Showing them how they too will be better off is. More bees with honey. Remember?

Two experiments support our assertion that the 99 percent and the one percent have more in common than not. Jane Elliot’s Blue-Eyed/Brown/Eyed experiment demonstrated how the one percent became the one percent in behavior. It showed how even children are vulnerable to privilege. More importantly, it showed how quickly “oppressed” and “oppressor” can flip.

This is why we argue for seeing the one percent as ourselves. They are us.

The other experiment confirms Elliot’s findings and is more recent. UC Berkley researchers demonstrated how easy it is to turn someone into a one-percenter. Here’s the video. Worth watching.



We all fit the container we’re poured into. Better or worse. Capitalism and representative politics makes us contort ourselves so we can cope with false realities. We know it doesn’t have to be this way. We feel powerless with few alternatives. Powerlessness overwhelms. Fingers start pointing. Desperation leads to violence.

Change the container and we change everything else. The one percent included. Make the container a beautiful shape and the majority will discover their own beauty reflected in the beauty of others. Compassion returns and so will healing.

We offer a beautiful container in which all people can thrive. That’s all people. The planet too. That is the future we want to see. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing. We ask you: spread the word. Don’t worry about the response you get. If people respond like you’re crazy, just remember: they’ve taken on the shape of the world they see.

5 thoughts on “How the one percent will change

  1. I loved this post. I think we must take into consideration that people feel wealthy in respect to other’s wealth. That might be a reason why the wealthy don’t want everyone else to be wealthy too. I love Tibor Scitovsky’s “The joyless economy”. Food for thought.

    1. We’re betting humans aren’t so petty as to compare their status with others and limit others’ advancement in favor of feeling superior (as much as wealth can do that). We take the shape of our containers. The container we’re in may foster the behavior you point to. Let’s hope for that, while moving forward with meaningful change that makes the world better for all. Even the planet. Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply