We are the 99%, we're told. Are we now? Who's "we"? And what or whom does that 99% comprise? Well, the general idea is that there is 1% of the population (of the world, the West, the UK? - not clear) which is stupendously rich - and then there is the rest of us. More specifically, the 1% is synonymous with those who have got rich quick as a result of the couldn't-give-a-damn, money-for-nothing culture which is the context for the current financial crisis. The 1% are the guilty men: those whose greed has plunged the rest of us into water whose metaphorical temperature varies from tepid uncertainty to scalding penury, and who have yet to be held to account.
Well, since nearly all of us are in the 99% (in fact, 99% of us, I'd guess), it's pretty easy to demonise the 1%. But that 99% is not a uniform block. Sure, it contains people who are abjectly poor - from the third world, dollar-a-day multitudes whose plight intermittently attacks our collective conscience, to our own Western underclasses of the hopeless and excluded. Yet I have to tell you that the 99% also includes people who are very, very rich. They may not be among the "guilty men" of the current crisis; but they are largely people who have made large sums of money by selling goods and services to the rest of us at a profit (for that is what capitalism is) and perhaps not always doing so in a way that all of us would be comfortable with. Then below them is a stratum of the slightly less rich and perhaps slightly less venial; and below them another, and another, and so on. You take my point: between the very rich and the very poor are countless gradations of wealth/poverty and guilt (in terms of how money is made) which nonetheless together comprise the 99%. If we're dividing ourselves up into percentages, are we seriously supposed to regard all these as a single block? For that is what "We are the 99%" implies.
The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) makes interesting reading. Did you know that a salary of around 32k gets you into the top 25% of UK earners; £45k into the top 10%; £60k into the top 5%; and £120k into the top 1%? You'll note that the top 1% threshold is well short of the £150k at which the 50p tax rate kicks in - people in that bracket are in the top 0.6% of earners. If you are earning £21k, you earn more than around half the surveyed population (this figure rises to £26k for full-time work only).
Feeling (relatively) rich? That may be because you are. The Wikipedia page on income in the UK begins "In terms of global poverty criteria, the UK is a wealthy country, with virtually no people living on less than £4 a day". So if you are surprised by how well-off, statistically speaking, you are in UK terms, think how rich you are in global terms. Well, you can find out. Spare 30 seconds to look at http://www.givingwhatwecan.org/resources/how-rich-you-are.php and follow the instructions.