In the last issue, I wrote about “Occupy Wall Street”. Now, their slogan, “We are the 99 percent”, has been used in Korean politics as well. So I want to explain why they call themselves “the 99 percent.”
First of all, we have to understand the concept of “noblesse oblige”. It usually means that those with wealth, power and prestige must accept their responsibilities and act in a way that is worthy of their position.
Those who call themselves the 99 percent want and hope that those who have the most will carry out their responsibilities. The demand for commission reductions by credit card companies are a typical case. Most credit card companies make earnings of to two trillion won from credit card commissions.
The 99 percent are saying that we want to reduce the commission rate for using credit cards. And that is appropriate, because the companies earn revenue using a payment system devised by the government, so some of this money should revert to society.
Notwithstanding the 99 percent’s demand, the 1 percent are not showing any action. On the contrary, they say they will reduce card benefits to customers. Their claim is that if they have to cut the commission rate of credit card use, they will have no choice but to cut benefits to customers because the benefits are paid for from the commissions.
I have often seen many companies’ promotion materials to inform us of their social-minded activities. When I see the promotion materials, I think they are putting their shoulders to the wheel to fulfill their sense of noblesse oblige. On the other hand, I think this demeanor is not wrong because they are merchants who pursue huge profits.
A comedian recently said in his routine, “If you dishonor this social duty, you are not taken into police custody. It is not the law, just a custom.” If all those who have wealth think that way, is “noblesse oblige” feasible?
by Ryu Seung-bong, Editor-in-Chief
Ryu Seung-bong firstname.lastname@example.org
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