Directed by Jamie Johnson (2006)
The 1%, produced and directed by Johnson and Johnson heir Jamie Johnson, offers a rare insider perspective on the dangers of extreme wealth inequality for contemporary society. Johnson favors using major tax reform, ie requiring the wealthy to pay more tax, to reduce inequality.
The film devotes more or less equal emphasis to the psychological insecurities underlying greed and the sordid efforts of the 1% to corrupt democratic institutions.
It includes interviews with late conservative economist Milton Friedman, Ralph Nader, arms dealer Adnan Kashoggi (who brokered the Irangate arms for hostages deal), Robert Reich, sugar barons Alfie and Pepi Fanjul,* Chuck Collins (the Oscar Mayer heir who gave away his wealth), Bill Gates senior (who also supports higher taxes for the rich), and Nicole Buffet (her grandfather Warren Buffet cut her off from the family when she appeared in an earlier version of the 1%.
The film has some great archival footage of Katrina victims during their five day struggle, in the hurricane’s aftermath, to find food and water.
I was also struck at the major role professional financial advisors play in protecting the wealth and power of the 1%.
*Who largely owe their wealth to a quaint US law (and subsidy) that sets the wholesale price of sugar at 23 cents a pound while the rest of the world pays 7 cents.