The One Percent’s Stranglehold: How the Wealthy Elite Controls Global Governments and Economies

Ninety Percent in the Dark: The General Public's Ignorance and the Elite's Control.

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Lt Col Manoj K Channan
Lt Col Manoj K Channan
Lt Col Manoj K Channan (Retd) served in the Indian Army, Armoured Corps, 65 Armoured Regiment, 27 August 83- 07 April 2007. Operational experience in the Indian Army includes Sri Lanka – OP PAWAN, Nagaland and Manipur – OP HIFAZAT, and Bhalra - Bhaderwah, District Doda Jammu and Kashmir, including setting up of a counter-insurgency school – OP RAKSHAK. He regularly contributes to Defence and Security issues in the Financial Express online, Defence and Strategy, Fauji India Magazine and Salute Magazine. *Views are personal.

Societies over centuries have been exercising control over the citizens. For understanding societal power dynamics, dividing society into distinct groups based on their influence and awareness is essential. The concentration of Power is with one per cent of the society. This group represents a small but compelling and wealthy population segment capable of significantly influencing significant societal decisions and policies.

Puppetry of the Elite: These are the four per cent of society and, therefore, the enablers of the one per cent of society who have a concentration of Power, including politicians and high-ranking corporate officials, who, while not as powerful, still hold significant sway and work to maintain the status quo.

The General Public, a majority of ninety per cent, is often perceived as being largely unaware or disengaged from the deeper power dynamics, focused on daily survival or distracted by popular culture.

The Aware Minority consists of five per cent, a smaller segment conscious of these power dynamics, consisting of activists, whistleblowers, and others who strive to challenge the status quo and spread awareness.

Control and Suppression are exercised by the people with concentration of Power and their puppeteers with whom they work closely. This keeps the majority population in a state of ignorance or passivity, thus hindering the aware segment of society from awakening the majority.

This is observed universally across governments. The dynamics described are seen as universal, prevailing in various forms of government, such as monarchies, dictatorships, and democracies. This is further analysed by discussing each one of the power players.

Concentration of Power (One Percent)

The concept of a small percentage of the “One Percent” population holding significant Power and wealth has garnered substantial attention, particularly in discussions about economic inequality, political influence, and social dynamics.

Economic Disparity 

Wealth Accumulation. The One Percent are typically characterised as the wealthiest individuals, possessing a disproportionate share of global wealth. This disparity often results from accumulated wealth over generations, high-income professions, ownership of large businesses, or significant investments.

Income Inequality. There is a widening gap between this wealthy elite and the rest of the population. The income growth for the one Percent has significantly outpaced that of the average worker, leading to increased economic disparity.

Political Influence

Lobbying and Policy Making. Members of the one per cent minority often have resources to influence political processes. This includes funding political campaigns, lobbying for legislation favouring their interests, and accessing political leaders.

Regulatory Capture. There is a concern about the one Percent’s influence over regulatory bodies meant to oversee their industries. This can lead to policies and regulations that are more favourable to their interests, sometimes at the public’s expense.

Social Impact

Influence on Media and Public Opinion. Wealthy individuals or groups often have significant control over media outlets, which can influence public opinion and the dissemination of information. Globally and in India, this is a significant influencer of public perception.

Philanthropy and Social Causes: Members of the one Percent also engage in philanthropy, which can have positive impacts but also raises questions about the role of private wealth in addressing social issues traditionally handled by governments.

Global Perspective

Global Wealth Concentration. This phenomenon is not limited to any single country. Globally, a small fraction of the population controls much of the world’s wealth.

Impact on Developing Countries. In many cases, the wealth and Power of the one Percent extend beyond their home countries, affecting economies and policies in developing nations.

Critiques and Debates

Economic Systems. Critics argue that the current economic systems (like capitalism) inherently favour wealth accumulation by a small minority, perpetuating inequality.

Social Mobility. The concentration of wealth can impact social mobility, making it more difficult for individuals from less affluent backgrounds to improve their economic status.

Calls for Redistribution. There are increasing calls for wealth redistribution through more progressive taxation, corporate reforms, or other social welfare policies.

Puppetry of the Elite (Four Percent)

The concept of the “Puppetry of the Elite” or the “Four Percent” in societal power dynamics refers to a group of influential individuals and entities that, while not as wealthy or powerful as the top One Percent, still hold significant sway in shaping societal, economic, and political landscapes. They are often seen as facilitators or enablers of the agendas set by the most powerful elite. 

Characteristics of the Four Percent

Occupational Profiles. This group commonly includes high-level politicians, corporate executives, top-level bureaucrats, influential media figures, and leaders in various fields. They are in positions where they can make or influence decisions that have wide-ranging impacts.

Economic Status. While not as wealthy as the top One Percent, members of the Four Percent are typically well-compensated and enjoy a high socio-economic status. Their wealth and resources give them access to power circles and decision-making processes.

Roles and Influence

Policy and Decision Making. They often play critical roles in formulating and implementing policies at both national and global levels. Their decisions can significantly impact economic policies, regulatory frameworks, and social programs.

Corporate Influence. In the corporate world, these individuals make decisions that can shape market trends, influence labour practices, and drive economic growth. They can also have a significant impact on environmental policies and sustainability practices.

Media and Public Opinion. Media leaders and influential figures in this group can shape public discourse, influence public opinion, and control the narrative on critical issues.

Interaction with the One Percent

They are supporting the Status Quo. The actions and decisions of the Four Percent often align with the interests of the One Percent. This can be due to a shared economic and social environment, similar goals, or direct influence exerted by the One Percent.

Networking and Alliances. The Four Percent often form networks and alliances that cross industries and sectors, further extending their influence and ability to shape policy and opinion.

Criticisms and Concerns

Conflict of Interest. There are concerns about conflicts of interest, where decisions made by this group might benefit the One Percent or their interests rather than the broader public.

Lack of Accountability. Given their influential positions, there is a debate about how accountable they are to the public and whether their actions adequately reflect the needs and wants of the broader population.

Barrier to Change. Their role in maintaining the status quo is a barrier to significant social and economic reforms that might otherwise address issues like inequality and environmental sustainability.

General Public (Ninety Percent)

The concept of the “General Public,” representing approximately Ninety Percent of the population in this framework, revolves around the idea that most people are either unaware or only partially aware of the deeper power dynamics that shape their societies and lives.

Awareness and Engagement

Limited Awareness. It is posited that the general public, preoccupied with their daily lives and responsibilities, may need a comprehensive understanding of the intricate and often opaque power structures that influence socio-political and economic systems.

Media and Information. People’s perceptions and understandings are significantly shaped by the media and information they consume. Given the control or influence exerted by powerful groups over these media outlets, the information reaching the general public might be selective or framed to support the status quo.

Engagement in Socio-political Issues

While there is a growing awareness and engagement in social and political issues, particularly with the rise of social media, it is argued that a significant portion of the population remains disengaged or minimally engaged in these areas, often due to the pressures and demands of daily life.

Economic Challenges. Many focus on economic survival – earning a living, supporting a family, and managing day-to-day expenses. These immediate concerns can overshadow broader socio-political issues.

Educational Disparities. Educational opportunities and the quality of education can significantly influence people’s ability to understand and engage with complex societal issues. Disparities in education can lead to disparities in awareness and engagement.

Social Stratification. Social classes and stratification play a role in how different population segments perceive and are affected by broader power dynamics.

Distractions and Popular Culture 

Role of Popular Culture. With its entertainment and celebrity focus, popular culture is often seen as a distraction that keeps the general public preoccupied and less likely to engage deeply with more severe societal issues.

Technological Distractions. The prevalence of smartphones, social media, and other forms of digital entertainment can contribute to focusing on immediate gratification and personal interests over broader societal concerns.


Vulnerability to Manipulation. A population that is less informed or engaged in critical socio-political issues may be more susceptible to manipulation, misinformation, or demagoguery.

Democracy and Representation. For democratic societies, this lack of engagement or awareness can have implications for the effectiveness of the democratic process, as it relies on an informed and active electorate.

Social Change. Significant social change often requires broad public support and engagement. The notion that most of the population needs to be fully engaged in societal issues suggests challenges in mobilising widespread support for change.

Aware Minority (Five Percent)

The “Aware Minority,” often referred to as the “5%” in this context, represents a segment of the population that is not only cognizant of the underlying power dynamics and inequalities in society but also actively seeks to expose and address these issues. This group is characterised by their commitment to challenging the status quo and fostering greater awareness and change. Key aspects of this group include:

Identity and Role

Activists and Advocates. Many in this group are activists who campaign for various causes, such as social justice, environmental protection, human rights, and political reform. They often work within grassroots movements, NGOs, or advocacy groups.

Whistleblowers. Whistleblowers play a crucial role in this category. They expose unethical or illegal activities within organisations, often at significant personal risk, to bring public attention to injustices or corruption.

Intellectuals and Academics. Scholars, researchers, and intellectuals who study and critique societal structures and power dynamics also form this group. Their work often provides a theoretical framework for understanding and challenging these dynamics.

Journalists and Independent Media. Investigative journalists and independent media outlets striving to uncover and report on issues overlooked or ignored by mainstream media are key players in informing and mobilising the public.

Goals and Methods

I am raising awareness. A primary goal is to educate and inform the general public about the realities of power imbalances and social injustices. This is often achieved through public speaking, publishing, social media, and participation in public demonstrations.

Advocacy and Lobbying. Advocating for policy changes, lobbying for legislative reforms, and engaging in public debates are standard methods to effect change.

Community Organisation and Mobilisation. Organising communities, leading grassroots movements, and mobilising public opinion are critical for social change.

Challenges Faced

Opposition and Backlash. Members of this group often face opposition from powerful entities and individuals invested in maintaining the status quo. This can include censorship, legal challenges, and, in extreme cases, threats to their safety.

Marginalisation. Their views and efforts are sometimes marginalised or labelled as radical by mainstream society, making it challenging to gain broader public support.

Resource Constraints. Limited access to resources compared to more established institutions can hinder their ability to effect widespread change.

Impact and Influence 

Social Change. Despite challenges, this group has historically played a significant role in driving social and political change. Movements for civil rights, environmental protection, and labour reforms, among others, have often been spearheaded by such aware minorities.

Public Discourse. They contribute significantly to public discourse, often bringing new perspectives and critical thinking to the forefront and influencing public opinion and policy.

They are empowering others; by raising awareness, they can empower others in the general public to become more engaged and informed about societal issues, potentially expanding the reach and impact of their efforts.

Control and Suppression

The notion of “Control and Suppression” within this framework posits that the most potent and influential segments of society (the One Percent and their enablers, the Four Percent) engage in deliberate actions to maintain their status and influence by keeping the general public (the Ninety Percent) in a state of relative ignorance or passivity. This is perceived as a strategic approach to prevent the spread of awareness and mobilisation by the “Aware Minority” (Five Percent).

Mechanisms of Control

Media Influence. One of the primary tools of control is the media. Ownership and influence over media outlets by 1% and 4% can lead to the propagation of narratives that support their interests while marginalising dissenting viewpoints or critical reporting.

Economic Dependency. By maintaining systems that keep a large portion of the population economically dependent or focused on basic survival, the power elite can limit people’s time and resources to question, challenge, or engage with deeper societal issues.

Educational Systems. Control over educational content and access can also be a tool for shaping public perception and understanding. Educational systems may fail to encourage critical thinking or awareness of societal power dynamics.

Policy and Legislation. Policies and laws can be shaped to preserve the status quo, such as voter suppression, gerrymandering, or laws limiting the freedom of assembly, speech, or press.

Impact on Society

It restricted Public Discourse. When a tiny elite controls or influences public discourse, it can lead to a narrow range of accepted ideas and discourage critical or independent thought.

Suppression of Dissent. Efforts to challenge or change the status quo, such as protests, whistleblowing, or alternative media, may be suppressed, discredited, or marginalised.

Perpetuation of Inequality. These control mechanisms can perpetuate economic, social, and political inequalities, as they prevent significant challenges to systems that benefit the elite.

Resistance and Counteraction

Activism and Advocacy. Despite these suppression efforts, various groups and individuals continue to advocate for change, using platforms and tools less susceptible to elite control.

Alternative Media and Information Sources. The rise of independent and alternative media outlets, including those enabled by the internet and social media, provide channels for disseminating information and viewpoints outside the mainstream narrative.

Public Awareness and Education. Efforts to educate and raise awareness among the general public about these dynamics can counteract the effects of controlled narratives and misinformation.

Debate and Scepticism. The concept of control and Suppression is subject to debate and scepticism. Evaluating deliberate manipulation claims critically is essential, considering the complexity and diversity of societal structures.

Diverse Factors and Actors. Recognising that many factors and actors influence societal dynamics, not solely by a small elite’s actions, is crucial.

Universal Across Governments

The assertion that the described power dynamics are universal across various forms of government including monarchies, dictatorships, and democracies — suggests a belief in a fundamental commonality in how Power is exercised and maintained, transcending the specific structures and ideologies of different political systems. This perspective holds that similar patterns of power concentration, elite control, and public disengagement are present despite the apparent differences in governance models. Key aspects of this viewpoint include:

Power Concentration in Different Regimes

Monarchies. In traditional monarchies, Power is often concentrated in the hands of a royal family and their close associates. While the specifics vary, the general structure typically involves a clear hierarchy with significant Power vested in a few individuals at the top.

Dictatorships. Dictatorships are characterised by authoritarian rule, where a single leader or a small group centralises Power. These regimes often suppress dissent and maintain control through various means, including force, propaganda, and surveillance.

Democracies. In democracies, Power is ostensibly distributed among the people through elected representatives. However, the assertion here is that even in such systems, real Power may be concentrated in a wealthy and influential minority, who can exert significant control over political processes, economic systems, and media narratives.

Common Themes Across Systems 

Elite Influence. Regardless of the government type, a small elite group often wields disproportionate influence, shaping policies and decisions to serve their interests.

Economic Power and Political Influence. In all these systems, economic Power is closely linked to political influence. Wealth can be used to shape political agendas, irrespective of the formal structure of the government.

Public Disengagement and Manipulation. The general public’s disengagement, whether due to Suppression (in more authoritarian regimes) or distraction and misinformation (in more democratic contexts), is standard. This disengagement benefits those in Power by reducing the likelihood of widespread demand for change.

Implications for Governance

Challenges to Democratic Ideals. In democracies, this perspective challenges the ideal of equitable representation and the effective functioning of democratic processes, suggesting that true Power may not lie with the electorate, even in these systems.

Global Similarities in Power Dynamics. The assertion of universal power dynamics suggests that similar challenges and issues in governance, such as corruption, inequality, and elite dominance, are faced globally, beyond the confines of specific governmental structures.

Role of Institutions and Civil Society. It underscores the importance of strong institutions and an active civil society in challenging these dynamics and promoting more equitable and transparent governance.

Diversity of Political Contexts. While this perspective highlights common themes, it is essential to acknowledge the diversity of political contexts and the unique characteristics and challenges of different governmental systems.

Complexity of Power Structures. Power structures are complex and multi-faceted, influenced by historical, cultural, economic, and social factors. A universal model may need to be more accurate to justify these complexities.

Potential for Change. Acknowledging these dynamics also opens up discussions about potential reforms and the capacity for change within different types of governments.

Evaluating Evidence and Biases

Evidence-Based Assessment. It is essential to assess claims about power dynamics and societal structures based on empirical evidence. Relying on well-researched, verifiable information helps distinguish fact from speculation or conspiracy.

Confirmation Bias. People often seek information that aligns with their pre-existing beliefs. Recognising and challenging one’s confirmation bias is crucial in critically analysing these topics.

Diverse Sources. Consulting various sources, especially those with different perspectives, can provide a more rounded understanding of the issues.

Understanding Complexity

Societal Complexity. Societal structures are complex and influenced by many factors, including history, culture, economics, and technology. Simplistic explanations may need to pay more attention to these nuances.

Interconnected Systems. Power dynamics are often the result of interconnected systems and structures. Understanding these interconnections is critical to grasping the broader picture.

Global Context. Recognising the global context and differences across cultures and political systems is essential. What holds in one context may not be applicable universally.

Recognising Oversimplifications and Conspiracy Theories

Oversimplifications. Broad statements about society and Power can sometimes oversimplify complex realities, ignoring different groups’ and individuals’ varied and nuanced experiences.

Conspiracy Theories. Be wary of theories that claim to explain complex societal issues through the actions of a minor, secretive group. Such theories often lack evidence and may rely on speculation.

Multiple Viewpoints and Discourse

Engaging with Different Viewpoints. Actively engaging with viewpoints that differ from one’s own can provide valuable insights and challenge ones understanding of these issues.

Constructive Discourse. Fostering an environment that promotes respectful and constructive dialogue enhances the overall comprehension of societal matters, even in situations where viewpoints differ.


The significant influence of a minor, wealthy elite raises questions about fairness, governance, and the impact on societal values and economies. The Four Percent are seen as enablers of the One Percent, highlighting the intricate interplay between wealth, Power, and influence. This raises important considerations about governance, accountability, and equitable resource distribution.

The portrayal of the general public Ninety Percent as largely disengaged from power dynamics underscores the challenges in fostering a more informed, engaged, and equitable society and the importance of addressing governance and social justice issues.

The Aware Minority five percent is crucial in challenging power structures and advocating for societal change, promoting a more equitable and just society despite significant obstacles.

Control and Suppression, an idea that elite groups seek to maintain Power and prevent societal awakening, is a significant theme, necessitating a nuanced understanding and critical evaluation of motivations and evidence.

The Universal Power Dynamics Across Governments concept invites a critical examination of power exercise in different political systems, urging consideration of the similarities in these systems and their implications for democracy and governance.

A comprehensive understanding of societal power dynamics requires careful evaluation of evidence, awareness of complexities, scepticism towards oversimplifications and conspiracy theories, and openness to diverse viewpoints.

In summary, these remarks call for a thoughtful, critical, and multi-faceted approach to understanding and discussing the complex power dynamics that shape modern societies, highlighting the importance of varied perspectives in navigating these contentious and significant issues.


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