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2017 Crystallizing Public Opinion

One work in this series, The 1 Percent Club’s 1 Percent Club, was inspired by an article called "The Richest Rich Are in a Class by Themselves", which was published online by Bloomberg Businessweek. However, the article has since been archived and is only available for Bloomberg Professional Service subscribers for a fee.

In short, the premise for the article was that the top 0.1% of the wealthiest people in the United States has rebuilt their wealth after the 2008-09 financial crisis to where it was during the 'Roaring Twenties'. However, the wealthiest 0.01% has seen their wealth increase immensely, which has quadrupled since the Regan era. There are approximately 16,000 families in the top 0.01% and they have a combined total of $6 trillion in assets, or 11.1%t of the total wealth in the United States.

The top 0.01% typically has a net worth of $100 million and up. This is "the 1% club's 1% club".

Disparity between the wealthiest members of society and the least is at an unfathomable level. According to the most recent Oxfam report, 80 people throughout the world now have the same wealth equivalent as 3.5 billion people. The 2017 Oxfam report (entitled “AN ECONOMY FOR THE 99%”) focuses in on the political influence (such as lobbying, specifically in the financial and pharmaceutical and health care industries) that has assisted in wealth development for the ‘ultra-rich’.

Another work in this series called Westminster-Branson Neighbourhood was inspired by a study performed by Toronto Life magazine and the Martin Prosperity Institute, which is a think tank at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. The study was developed by urbanists, economists, sociologists and information scientists that focused on information from various sources such as the Fraser Institute’s school report cards, the Toronto Police Service crime figures, community health profiles, census data and various studies.

The study ranked Toronto’s 140 neighbourhoods based on 10 conditions: Housing, Crime, Transit, Shopping, Health, Entertainment, Community, Diversity, Schools, and Employment. The rankings were then compiled into one large overall ranking and many categories were made up of multiple variables.

The Toronto neighbourhood of Westminster-Branson Neighbourhood, was ranked 140. I chose this neighbourhood to highlight not only what is considered the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ neighburhoods within Toronto, but also to highlight how institutions are prone to categorizing and organizing individuals into a series of data constructs. In this case, it is a neighbourhood, a grouping of people that are then further divided and labelled into a set of criteria that strips the neighbourhood of its individual constituents and their individual stories. Individualism is lost and a pastiche of group identities is applied on top.

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