Income Inequality in the Big Apple

Income inequality and the death of culture in New York City. The battle between the 99 percent and the one percent began before Occupy Wall Street protesters filled Zuccotti Park.


| March/April 2012


Editor’s note: Christopher Ketcham wrote this essay before the Occupy Wall Street movement began, and before “the one percent” and “the 99 percent” became buzzwords defining income inequality. After OWS was in full swing, Ketcham wrote in a postscript, “I had little hope that the kids in New York would pull off anything like the growing revolt in Liberty Square and beyond. I am delighted to be proved totally wrong.” 

For my daughter’s benefit, so that she might know the enemy better, know what he looks like, where he nests, and when and where to throw eggs at his head, we start the tour at Wall Street. It’s hot. August. We’re sweating like old cheese.

Here are the monuments that matter, I tell her: the offices of Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon; the JPMorgan Chase tower up the block; around the corner, the AIG building. The structures dwarf us, imposing themselves skyward.

“Linked together like rat warrens, with air-conditioning,” I tell her. “These are dangerous creatures, Léa. Sociopaths.”



She doesn’t know what sociopath means.

“It’s a person who doesn’t care about anybody but himself. Socio, meaning society—you, me, this city, civilization. Patho, like pathogen—carrying and spreading disease.”

Dee Jay
2/29/2012 10:22:18 PM

This is the most fallacious article I have ever read. It contradicts itself at every turn. Regardless, New York died as the center of the artistic world ages ago - they are still stranded in the "post- modern" era which is really just most modern. Silly issue oriented art while the intellectual world leaves them in the dust. As for the disparity in wealth - the author pretends it is an isolated province as most New Yorkers do but should be aware it is an international city. I can go on and on, but I won't - those who don't know will refuse to be educated and those who do know don't need to be. Catch up with the rest of us artists - if you want to be competitive - it ain't NY anymore folks. I am sad however that those who think they are creative either pour out this drivel or believe it.


GWYNN O'NEILL
2/29/2012 8:51:59 PM

That's what Occupy is about. But it is great to hear from a real freedom fighter, a person who joined the Resistance in France. A better, more effective tactic now, when we are not in a hot war as was the case in WWll, is the Occupy choice of non-violence, since the bankers have the means of violence; the rest of us really don't.















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