Two years ago, Zbigniew Brzezinski predicted that rising unemployment rates and the growing inequality between the classes could lead to clashes in the streets. Today, the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread across the country, with thousands of Americans demonstrating over these very issues.
In an Oct. 17 appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," the former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter described the protests as a reflection of deep passion, resentment and fear. He also offered several suggestions on how to improve the situation, including the publication of a list featuring the names of people who earn enormous amounts of wealth through speculation, and then hide their money from society.
Brzezinski received the 2011 Jury du Prix Tocqueville Prize on Oct. 14 in recognition of his dedication and contributions to advance "the principles of individual liberty as the foundation of free, prosperous and humane societies." In his acceptance speech, Brzezinski discussed the challenge he sees facing contemporary America.
"Though a democracy, it is becoming a country of socially ominous extremes between the few super rich and the increasingly many who are deprived. In America today the top 1% of the richest families own around 35% of the entire nation's wealth, while the bottom 90% own around 25%. It should be a source of perhaps even greater concern that the majority of all currently serving Congressmen and Senators, and similarly most of the top officials in the executive branch, fall in the category of the very rich, the so-called top 1%."
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