I would like to take a moment out from things philosophical to talk a little about a documentary I just finished watching called The One Percent, made in 2006. The film’s creator is Jamie Johnson, who is one of the great-grandsons of Robert Wood Johnson, a co-founder of Johnson & Johnson.
Johnson’s film is very revealing of the growing disparity between rich and poor in this country. The story is an overwhelming one that leaves the less well-to-do feeling hopeless.
Of course, money is not everything. To couch hope and meaning in the context of wealth, or the lack of it, is far from correct. There is a scene where Johnson is interviewing a taxi-driver in a poor neighborhood that is very poignant. The driver tells Johnson, upon hearing that Johnson is an heir to a vast fortune, that he feels his family is one of the richest in the world. This is due to the love and respect they have for one another, and for being brought up to treat others as they would wish to be treated.
It seems rare for one of the one-percent to make such a film. Perhaps there are many of the younger heirs to fortunes who feel this way; I certainly hope so for the sake of all our futures. What these people do with their massive wealth will shape how this country fares for centuries to come, I suspect.
To Johnson’s credit, he shows that he cares about the disparity, and that he would like to see things change.
I thought the interview with Warren Buffet’s granddaughter was one of the best parts of the film. Very powerful! I respect her for how she is living her life.
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