Sunday, 17 January 2010

Money Money Money Money

One thing that has come to my attention lately are the astromical amounts of money we allow some of our fellow citizens not only to have at their disposal, but to use for completely dubious purposes and then have it bragged about in the press as if it was some event we should all be overjoyed over. Morocco, the country I've just returned from, where a photo of the king adorns most commerces, shops, taxis and buildings you set foot in, has a minimum wage of less than 300$ a month. Not bad for Africa. And the king has a 2 billion dollar personal fortune and a palace budget of over 900,000$. Hey Mohammed VI, how about sharin' the love with your fellow Moroccons?

Before you mock the descent of Islam's prophet as an example of corrupt third world despotism and gaping inequality, which I was very tempted to do upon learning these facts, look a little closer to home at the Windsors. Did anyone ever think to ask Her Majesty Elizabeth II to maybe scrape through the 20 billion pounds in the couch cushions of Buckingham Palace and throw a lifeline to the one third of UK seniors on or below the poverty line? Not on your life.

What you can be sure of is that these two figures remains objects of immense adulation in their respective countries and what are ordinary life events for most people (birth, death, trip abroad, marraige, children, grandchildren) require in their cases oodles of ink towards coverage in every self respecting press outlet.

It's funny that out of all the sad stories and economic casualties I recall hearing of in the past two years, one that comes to mind is P Diddy's private jet.

Is this a populist rant? Not at all. I'm talking about the relative worth and value of citizens and why people need to be in possession of such vast sums. Do we really need people possessing fortunes in the second decade of the twenty first century under the pretext that they're "royalty"? I was inspired for this particular piece when I learned about the spectacular and unnecessary excessiveness that this decade was commenced with by Mr. Roman Abramovitch. The Russian Oligarch, a relatively new royal presence on the global scene but ostentatious enough to make up for lost time, spent 5 million dollars on a Caribbean new years party on the island of St. Barts. Beyonce was in the house with her husband Jay Z, as was the fashion designer Marc Jacobs and who the fuck cares who else. The point is, with 5 million dollars, that's like 5 million people's daily income. You could have made five million people's day twice as good. And then when I open a magazine I have to witness the incredible waste of this booze soaked hob nob tropical shmoozefest. But clearly people don't feel the same way, or the magazine wouldn't have put it there. The reality is that people are fascinated and amused by it.

I invite the richest of the rich to divest themselves of large parts of their fortunes. I would. It's the right thing to do. And let's be honest about "their" money and tell them to cough it up. There's a lot of people out there who need it a lot more than they do.

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