Wednesday 18 October 2017

5 Percent Of The Population, 100 Percent Of The Power.

The Special Relationship: Uncle Sam and Britannia, weapons in hand and accompanied by their heraldic national beasts, stand atop the world. The image neatly captures the racial assumptions of global power, but it errs in its inclusion of the feminine. It is the 5 percent of the human population that is White and Male who wield 100 percent of the power-that-matters on Planet Earth.

HOW DOES A TINY MINORITY control an overwhelming majority? As a young history student, it was a question that continued to intrigue me.

How, for example, did Great Britain, a nation of less than 15 million in 1850, manage to control the more than 190 million Indians? More specifically, how was a ridiculously small occupying force of British businessmen, bureaucrats and soldiers able to subordinate the interests of the entire Indian subcontinent to those of their British homeland?

The answer, it emerged, was that, at its heart, the whole imperial enterprise was nothing more than a gigantic bluff. The British ruled India for more than a century because they could. Or, more precisely, because the Indian people believed they could. The moment Mohandas Gandhi and the Indian National Congress persuaded them to stop believing in the imperial might of the British Raj, its days were numbered.

With imperialism (at least of the pith helmet variety) safely interred in history’s graveyard, it was tempting to believe that the whole notion of a tiny minority controlling all the peoples of the planet had been buried with it. New Zealanders still look back with pride at the role their country played in the abolition of minority rule in Apartheid South Africa.

These were, as Paul Simon told us in his 1986 album Graceland, “the days of miracles and wonders”, and, to many, the fall of Soviet Communism and the triumphant progress of democracy across so much of the Earth, seemed the most wondrous miracle of them all.

So far, so smug: so safely and conventionally liberal.

And then, just the other day, my attention was drawn to the existence of a tiny minority whose power exceeds that of all the nineteenth century imperialists combined. In spite of the fact that they comprise just five percent of the world’s population, White Males control the planet.

I was stunned. In fact, I was in denial. Could White Males – the minority among whom I must include myself – truly represent such a tiny fraction of global humanity? I would have to check.

Not such an easy thing to do.

Since the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945, the entire concept of “race” – of “whiteness” and “blackness”, “Übermensch” (Supermen) and “Untermensch” (Subhuman) – has been declared dangerously unscientific and politically disreputable. As a consequence, the agencies of the United Nations neither collect, nor publish, data on the “racial” composition of the human family.

In order to pursue this question further, therefore, it was necessary to descend into the underworld of what is today referred to, euphemistically, as the “Alt-Right”. For the advocates of “White Supremacy”, the ratio of “Caucasians” (Whites) to the rest of humanity is a very important statistic indeed.

The world of the White Supremacist is not a nice place to visit. It is enveloped in a thick and choking atmosphere of unabashed racism. The fetishization of ethnicity that constituted not only the essence of Nazism, but also of the ideology of “Scientific Racism” (which, alongside the imperialist era it did so much to justify, reached its apogee at the turn of the nineteenth century) certainly did not die with Hitler. On the Internet it is alive and kicking.

From the Georgia-based National Policy Institute (the least sulphurous of the American websites visited) I learned that the “White Race”, which constituted 35 percent of humankind in 1900, had, by 1950, shrunk to just under 28 percent, and was projected to collapse to just 10 percent of the global population by 2060. The present-day figure, calculated at 6-8 percent by the only slightly more respectable CIA World Fact Book, makes the NPI’s projection look wildly optimistic.

In hard numbers, the total of “White” human-beings is generally agreed, by White Supremacists, to be 750 million. With the current human population estimated at 7.5 billion, the “White Race” thus tops-out at 10 percent of the total. Divide that figure by two, and “White Males” are, indeed, representative of exactly one twentieth of the human species.

Such a tiny number, and yet, in every sphere: be it the global financial system; the global media; or, the ability to project decisive military force anywhere on the planet; the power lies preponderantly, and indisputably, in the hands of White Males.

So, how does Donald Trump’s and Harvey Weinstein’s tiny sliver of humanity get away with it? Because we can. Because the rest of humanity lets us.

“You will not replace us!”, chanted the White Supremacists marching through Charlottesville on 11 August 2017.

Yes, my brothers, they will – just as soon as they find their Gandhi.

This essay was originally published in The Press of Tuesday, 17 October 2017.


Nick J said...

I would have thought that the "alt-Rights"need to "organise" to ensure their own "supremacy" was proof that they have none.

As for 5% of "white males" being any different from "white females" as the power faction....very dubious. If you go around the world and look at womens rights and social position being in a "white males" country is by far their best option.....yet the meme says it is all the "fault" of our "white males".

Then there is "white male" influence....China Korea Japan, yes one third of the world really run by/for "white males"...I think not. Latin America, Middle East, are they "white"...who knows?

Im afraid that the on the ground reality does not support the meme, and regardless of idiot racial supremacists (not a monopoly of "whites"), nobody has anymore a preponderance of power and influence.

Kat said...

Superior firepower, then a reluctance to pull the trigger.

Charles E said...

I agree with Nick, you may as well have claimed white women dominate the planet as they create and bring up the white males, and a few brown ones as well, like Obama. What race is he then? The human race. No, the concept colour = race = something is rubbish. It does not.

The whole concept of race is a shallow and barren field, and I would argue race does not exist, at least in any way that tells you much. Ancestors count enormously, but not genetically. It is what we culturally inherit from them that determines to a significant degree how well we do. Both within a culture, and in the world. It’s not genetic. Proof of this is that a few Europeans did indeed rule India. The numbers do not count, the culture and what it means does. It was not a bluff, it was and is real.

Culture determined the success of the Europeans, and we are their product as with most of the planet. This world has been for centuries very much run by our relatives, so we should be grateful and celebrate this.. The majority of NZers have majority European ancestors, including those here who also have Polynesian ancestors. Thereby our culture is mostly of European cultural origin and continues to be so and increasingly I reckon.
The non-Europeans coming here are culturally very much Western and therefore a product of European culture. Less so than us of course, but they will become more so living here.

The fact that Europeans were white or olive skinned is irrelevant, except to skin cancer rates, and to racists and people who think race exists as a determinant. Surely you don’t Chris?
The white supremists are indeed doomed, but the culture that came from peoples who happened to be white will continue to dominate the world, as it more or less has achieved 100% coverage now.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Hell, I argue with these guys online all the time. They often just call themselves "race realists". Bugger that I don't even bother with the Neo in neo-Nazi. What amazes me those when you see pictures of them. How the hell they could see themselves as some sort of master race I just don't know. The American ones are to say the least chubby. God I'm so old I remember David Duke when he was a freshfaced young KKK leader. Had a BA in something. Not as bad as the old Indian meme – "BA – failed" but when you think he was the leader of the master race. Deary me. And you have to laugh, because many of them have Irish names – and they weren't considered properly white in the nineteenth century, and many of them had Slavic names – and we all know what Hitler did to them. I often ask them 'if "Hitler did no wrong" how come he killed so many white people? – Oh forgot, he didn't consider them white.' It's almost as fun as baiting Charles, which I notice you didn't let me do the other day Chris. Sort of made my second comment a bit incomprehensible but what the heck.:)
One interesting thing, they often quote the bell curve about how black people have lower IQs than white people and it was Prof Jim Flynn, more or less a Kiwi, that pretty much knocked that on the head in the '90s. And they still don't have an answer for it.

Victor said...

Nick J

The US has, almost from its inception, been in the forefront of moves to enhance the status to women, provided they were white and, ideally, WASP.

I also agree with you that Chris is painting with far too broad a brush on this occasion. Probably he's just filling in time waiting for Winston to define the nation's future.

Even so, the emphasis on visceral right-wing identity politics that the atrocious Trump has enabled and championed also seems (in the US at least) to have unearthed
an unexpectedly large seem of male resentment against those women who don't see their role as either "barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen" or obediently decorating the arm of their sugar daddy.

That's surely one of the reasons why the televised version of "The Handmaiden's Tale" has stirred such horrified interest.

pat said...

Not entirely sure by what you mean by control.....but if its political influence then "white males" certainly dont control anything like the entire world....perhaps youre refering to financial control but even there there is increasing diversity...which is not surprising given the rise of all in all its sounding like an urban myth

jh said...

Yes, my brothers, they will – just as soon as they find their Gandhi.
Except that when they chant "you will not replace us", they mean the white left - baizou.

Wayne Mapp said...

Who is "white" these days?

I guess 75% of the North America, and a similar percentage of Europe, plus the small numbers of Australia and New Zealand. So yes, less than a billion.

In large measure known as the "west", though that obviously excludes Russia. It also excludes the several hundred million in Latin America. Yet a number of people in those countries are obviously white.

Rather than focussing on race you should look at who is the "West", because in my view that is the power structure you are really talking about. And while it may have European origins, it clearly is no longer a racial construct, if it ever was. Because Japan, South Korea and Singapore clearly have signed up, to a greater or lesser extent, to the construct of the "west". President Obama was clearly a leader of the "west" as was Colin Powell and Condalezza Rice. No matter what you say, none of them can be considered dupes. The characteristics of the "west" are not derived from race, they derived from shared values. Which is why Russia is not yet fully part of it, but Japan is.

This has all been exhaustively analysed by Niall Fergusson, which I am sure you are full aware of.

Patricia said...

Sorry Nick. Your argument sounds good but just look, virtually every company and political party in the western world is run by mostly old white men. Yes, there are honorary women playing their game but that doesn’t alter the system. White men have controled the world for the past two hundred years. Some would say they are still controlling it. To diffuse the argument by talking about the East and Latin America and the Middle East is silly. And to say that by being in a white male country is the best option for my rights and social position is insulting. To start with it should be compulsory for every Board and political party to composed of 50% female and 50% male. I am sure other women could add more.

greywarbler said...

Portugal did great things despite being a small nation tucked into
Spain. Andorra, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland all small but anxious to move up in the rich list and succeeded. If a small population with a shameless set of movable principles and a huge desire to profit from every transaction, with sign up 'Anything Considered', well if that is the recipe for success in the bucaneering world of private enterprise and piracy, then why can't we do it too?

We have all the attributes for being a little hot spot that the world's movers and shakers can't ignore. Hey isn't that what's going on now.

David Stone said...

So. I deeply suspect that the vast majority of the frequenters of bowalley Rd are guilty as charged. With a few from the other 5%.
Does this perhaps have some subtle contribution to make to the why of this analysis?

Perhaps we should form a mutual denigration society; I'm sure David Cunliffe would join up.

Seriously though, side-stepping the question of who qualifies for the 5% ( does 1/32 maori blood eliminate you?), I think "Bluff" is one way of describing the forces in operation here. Another more respectful term might be willpower .
The way humans control animals, like huge mobs of cattle, like horses and elephants vastly superior in strength is probably assumed by most to be to do with intelligence. But I don't believe this is the main factor operating. It's man's (or woman's ) irrational overarching will. The domination of 'white European men' over the majority of mankind might be an extension of that. The sense of entitlement seems to effect not only the "entitled" but also the "un entitled".

Cheers D J S

Nick J said...

Patricia, you feel insulted by my pointing out that women in the West have it better than elsewhere, it's merely an observation. You might want to question why? Maybe these "patriarchal old white males" have a deeper respect and regard for women's rights. There seems to me to be an ever increasing number of women in top jobs. You can attempt as you suggest equality by way of compulsion, that will result in you never knowing whether the program for "women's rights / equality" has succeeded, or if you have merely subjugated men.

I would suggest that the top layer of the hierarchical structure of our business institutions reflects continuity in careers as much as old boys clubs. We may be better to encourage men into child rearing and roles / occupations regarded as women's roles, have men stay at home. You won't get any objection from me on that count.

jh said...

Re Wayne Mapp said (the West is about values)...

A Sydney Morning Herald editorial made this error in implying that the Australian Secret Intelligence Service’s mission is to stop the enemies of the open society. That would be a congenial outcome but is not its prime mission, which is to defend the Australian nation, whatever its present economic or social system. The great Enoch Powell made this point in discussion with Margaret Thatcher shortly before the Falklands War. The prime minister said that a strong defence force was needed to protect Western values.
Powell: No, we do not fight for values. I would fight for this country even if it had a communist government.
Thatcher: Nonsense, Enoch. If I send British troops abroad, it will be to defend our values.
Powell: No, Prime Minister, values exist in a transcendental realm, beyond space and time. They can neither be fought for, nor destroyed.
Mrs Thatcher looked utterly baffled. She had just been presented with the difference between Toryism and American Republicanism.[5]
Consistent with Powell’s distinction is the hierarchy of bonds. People are more likely to sacrifice for their nations than for abstract principles.[6] The nation is the largest secular entity able to elicit robust solidarity.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Seriously though, side-stepping the question of who qualifies for the 5% ( does 1/32 maori blood eliminate you?)"
It used to. I suspect it's a bit more complicated now.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"The great Enoch Powell "
Oh, please..............

Keith Shorrocks Johnson said...


The impressively monikered Karl du Fresne

Has just given ‘social scientist’ Camille Nakhid

A good wigging for expressing the view

That immigrants should be given longer shrift.

Karl grew up in a small Hawkes Bay town

And he walks across his lawn every day

In the Wairarapa to write in his shed

For the Pakeha Establishment in Wellington.

Actually, I’m amazed at how tolerant

Our new immigrants are about how stuck

Up and up themselves the Old Chums

Are about their tightly-held corners.

And I think Karl is missing something

When he snides that we can safely assume

That people immigrate to New Zealand

Because it’s infinitely better than the place they left.


And I get pissed off when the Oxford Companion

Makes a big point of the fact that Allen Curnow

Was a fourth generation New Zealander

Who lived in a succession of Anglican vicarages in Canterbury.

And that the keepers of New Zealand literature

Quibble about whether Greville Texidor or Eve Langley

Exhibited a sufficiently restrictive desideratum

In articulating a New Zealand particularity or ‘common problem’.

And that Kendrick Smithyman slags

Tanned, earnest Slavic Polynesian faces

Or that David McKee Wright assumes that

The native who is a brother is a Pakeha.

Or that my beloved Iris Wilkinson

Talks so casually - so disparagingly about Nigger Jack ...

Or that Tariana Turia cites an enormous public ignorance

That is starting to become actual hostility towards Maori.


Time to give some ground, time to move on

Time to open things up and make some space.

Let’s face it, a quarter of us were born abroad

And then there are the more and more mixed.

Maybe the New Chums from Cambodia, Tonga

China, India, Iraq, Somalia, Nepal and Kingdom Come

Really need a bit more slack so that we can all pull together

To bring up the future with a golden tether.

The young, the best, the intelligent, brave and beautiful,

Have made a long migration under compulsions they hardly understand -

New generations are homing from distant shores

Imprinted with this destination by their dreams.

And an extraordinary thing may be happening.

From the edge of the universe, New Zealand

May become not only the site of our own dreams

But a place where the world wakes refreshed.