The One Percent Research Paper

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Running Head: THE ONE PERCENTPage 1

THE ONE PERCENT
Ryan M. Kerrick
March 18, 2012

THE ONE PERCENTPage 2
Ryan M. Kerrick
Mr. Richard Cannella
English Composition II
March 18, 2012
A good friend of mine recently recommended me to watch a documentary called “The One Percent.” I do not usually watch documentaries unless I am gaining some type of knowledge out of the information presented. Unsure of what it was about and what I was going to get out of it, I turned on NetFlix and proceeded to watch the film. I soon came to realize I was enamored by this film, “The One Percent,” and it remains one of my favorite documentaries of all time. The documentary deals with the disparity between the wealthy elite and the citizenry and how they are both so far removed from one another. “As of 2010, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 35.4% of all privately held wealth.” (Domhoff, 2010, The Wealth Distribution, para. 1). The producer and interviewer presents this film through many wealthy American businessmen, critics, economists and even his own family to explain this major social gap that exists on our home front. When looking at the differences side-by-side, it is hard to grasp that we all live in the same place, the United States of America. The film was created by Jamie Johnson, the heir to one of America’s most affluent families. Being born with a “silver spoon,” Jamie never really had anything to worry about in life-- from private schools to private jets, equestrian clubs and charitable dinner parties. But, he always felt something was missing in his life and he couldn’t quite put a finger on it. The fortune that Jamie inherited on his 21st birthday was from one of the wealthiest family-owned companies in the United States, Johnson and Johnson. THE ONE PERCENTPage 3

Ryan M. Kerrick
Mr. Richard Cannella
English Composition II
March 18, 2012

His great grandfather “started the company in 1886” (Johnson and Johnson, 1997) and it continued to grow well beyond imagination. Jamie would always wonder what made him deserve this prosperous lifestyle. After self-examination, Jamie was determined to investigate some of the questions haunting him in his head about the wealth disparity in America. Attempting to bring his mind to ease, he decided to create this documentary, “The One Percent.” Within the first few minutes of the film I noticed a sign labeled “Private Property Members Only.” To me the sign is showing how the wealthy pride themselves in being part of such an elite club. Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, the working class feel like they are not truly part of society at all. In the beginning of the documentary you see the Johnson’s having a family meeting. At first it looks normal, but they are not discussing chores around the house. It is a “family meeting” with their financial wealth and money management advisors. The meeting is centered on managing their wealth and assets and essentially turning their millions in to more millions. The consensus from the advisors is that every year the family fortune tenfold and they continue to become richer and richer. Jamie seems to be upsetting his father with the making of this documentary and the advisors seem hesitant to talk about money and wealth on camera.

THE ONE PERCENTPage 4
Ryan M. Kerrick
Mr. Richard Cannella
English Composition II
March 18, 2012
His father’s initial reaction is that his son’s documentary is nonsense, but something that might have a huge ripple effect if taken seriously. Jamie does a great job trying to get answers and asking difficult questions to the wealthy elite of America. The footage he presents is of people giving their most honest views and thoughts and it is evident there is a huge gap between the wealthy and the poor. Jamie Johnson interviewed numerous people within different social classes. They ranged from Milton Freedman and Steve Forbes, who owns his own private...
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