I always wondered about certain members of mega-rich families that happened to question the aristocracy-type model they were born into; What kind of consequences would result with a member of such a family asking certain questions about the polarization between the rich and poor? How does one justify the exponential amassing of wealth while the wealth and overall quality of life of the the other 99% of the population plummets? And can those of the elite status honestly uphold a so-called Democratic-Republic when this same elite class heavily influences congress to pass bills contrary to the best interest of the people?
Well, Jamie Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune, summons the courage to ask such ‘forbidden questions’ while documenting this exploration on film. Jamie doesn’t claim to have the answers and some of his ideas may be questionable, but the degree of sincerity and boldness that it takes to address a subject that is considered taboo within the elite class is quite admirable.
As I watch this documentary created by Jamie Johnson, I recognize the sincerity of his endeavor as I identify with his astonishment over the system of values that surround him, and the great void and deep concern in his soul by the general lack of empathy toward humanity.
Needless to say, his film project, named “The One Percent”, experienced everything ranging from no support to sharp opposition from those in his class. It is interesting to see the hostile reaction from his family financial adviser and people like Warren Buffett and Milton Friedman.
Even more interesting was the dynamics of his own family. When Jamie’s father was young, he raised the same questions about the ‘wealth-gap’ and was involved in his own film documentary on the subject. Jamie’s father was strongly rebuked for this and never approached the subject again, and even with his son begging him to open up with his thoughts about it, refuses.
With all due respect to Jamie Johnson, I see his father as someone who appears to be in a crisis of conscience and resigned to cowardice- to the point where he cannot even bring himself to talk about such things with his own son; And when I look in his eye’s, I see a wealthy man with a hollow soul.
I don’t see Jamie as someone who wishes to dishonor his family, but someone who is torn between his allegiance to his family- and his allegiance to an even higher calling- to address the disturbing inequality of society. His courage is an exemplary example for others to follow.
Below is a one minute trailer of “The One Percent” directed by Jamie Johnson:
Watch now as Jamie Johnson sets his poise to enter the forbidden room of the elite society in this profoundly thought provoking documentary in full length:
This 80-minute documentary focuses on the growing “wealth gap” in America, as seen through the eyes of filmmaker Jamie Johnson, a 27-year-old heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune. Johnson, who cut his film teeth at NYU and made the Emmy®-nominated 2003 HBO documentary Born Rich, here sets his sights on exploring the political, moral and emotional rationale that enables a tiny percentage of Americans – the one percent – to control nearly half the wealth of the entire United States. The film Includes interviews with Nicole Buffett, Bill Gates Sr., Adnan Khashoggi, Milton Friedman, Robert Reich, Ralph Nader and other luminaries.
We must not confuse prosperity with greed; The former is a gift from God, but the latter is an abomination