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The 1% and the Rest of Us

The 1% and the Rest of Us

Tim Di Muzio


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While the Occupy movement faces many strategic and organizational challenges, one of its major accomplishments has been to draw global attention to the massive disparity of income, wealth and privilege held by 1% of the population in nations across the world. In The 1% and the Rest of Us, Tim Di Muzio explores what it means to be part of a socio-economic order presided over by the super-rich and their political servants.

Incorporating provocative and original arguments about philanthropy, social wealth and the political role of the super-rich, Di Muzio reveals how the 1% are creating a world unto themselves in which the accumulation of ever more money is really a symbolic drive to control society and the natural environment.

'Distills the concepts of capitalism, political economy, finance, inequality, the profligacy of the 1%-ers, and much more in morally coherent chunks of need-to-know information. It is a superb book.'
Dissident Voice

'Tim Di Muzio debunks the radically antisocial belief that wealth is the sole result of individual efforts and talents. His contribution is novel and original, but it is also a significant part of a growing clamour for change.'
Danny Dorling, author of Inequality and the 1% and Population 10 Billion

'Capital is power, wealth is social, the rich are undeserving, growth is unsustainable. In this timely book Di Muzio takes aim not only at the emergence of a global super rich, but also at the ideologies of wealth generation that keep them in their place and us in ours - an indignant call to put people and planet above profit and status.'
Amin Samman, City University London

'This compelling and original work is a must read: it brilliantly illuminates a world dominated by a tiny, immensely powerful ruling class who have accumulated enormous wealth, even during the global economic crisis. It explains why and how that has happened , who they are, and not least how such plutocratic power can be resisted and transformed to better serve the majority of people on the planet.'
Stephen Gill, York University, Toronto

'A highly accessible must-read primer for anyone interested in the world's dominant capital, its incessant drive to accumulate power, and the impact this has on our lives and future.'
Jonathan Nitzan, co-author of Capital as Power

'Tim Di Muzio has produced a remarkable book: remarkable for its original reading of available evidence on the rise of the 1%; remarkable for the creative interweaving of empirical findings and theoretical insights; and remarkable for its politicization of the inequality issue. Di Muzio gives the Capital as Power approach a concrete and down-to-earth bite.'
Henk Overbeek, VU University Amsterdam

Tim Di Muzio is senior lecturer in international relations and political economy at the University of Wollongong in Australia. He currently edits the journal Review of Capital as Power.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Front Cover Front cover
About the Author i
Title Page iii
Copyright iv
Contents v
Tables and Figures vi
Dedication viii
Introduction: Towards a Global Political Economy of the 1% 1
Political Economy and the Elite 4
The Main Arguments and Structure of the Book 12
1: The Unusual Suspects: Identifying the Global 1% 21
The Professor and the Prince 21
Income and Wealth: A Primer 22
A Taxonomy of the Global 1% 26
Holding Wealth 35
The Geography of the 1% 40
Billionaireville 43
The Rest of Us 45
2: Capital as Power and the 1% 48
A Brief Genealogy of the Term ‘Capital’ 51
Corporate America and the Rise of Capitalisation 57
Capital as Power 61
The Capitalist Mode of Power 66
The Architecture of Capitalisation 72
3: Wealth, Money and Power 103
A Brief History of Wealth before Political Economy 104
Mercantilism 113
The Birth of Classical Political Economy 116
The General Theory of Money, Energy and Power 136
4: Differential Consumption: The Rise of Plutonomy 142
The Global Plutonomy 143
Conspicuous Consumption in the First Gilded Age 146
Differential Consumption in the New Gilded Age 151
‘The Rich are Destroying the Earth’ 161
5: Society versus the Superman Theory of Wealth 165
From Hobbes to Locke’s Theory of Ownership 166
Rousseau, Bentham and Mainstream Economics 172
Veblen’s Political Economy 179
Unjust Deserts 185
The Distribution of Wealth and Capital as Power 188
6: The Party of the 99%: Resistance and Future Prospects 192
Occupy in Context 193
Five Reasons Why Present Trends Will Likely Continue 199
Ten Priorities 205
Creativity, Power and the Meaning of Life 215
Notes 220
Bibliography 229
Index 242
Back Cover Back cover