September 15, 2012

Rich declare war on the un-rich

Marx was gung-ho about the prols rising up against the owners of production, but class warfare has simply never panned out the way Marx envisaged.  Give the prols enough to survive, plus go shopping, tell them that they are aspirational, and throw in some Kardashians, and thereabouts, class warfare, imaginings of revolution, splutter into nothingness.  

Funny to read of our latest class warfare, seemingly driven by bitter billionaires, baiting the rest of us.  

During the week, BHP Billiton chairman Jac Nasser taunted us with imaginings of Gina Rinehart and co heading off to live in Singapore.  
Mr Nasser said: “Would Australia be better off if the top 2 per cent of wealth creators and high-net worth people left and decided to live in Singapore? Would we feel better about that? Would we feel better if – you know, in some of these examples, if Twiggy Forrest woke up tomorrow, or Gina, or whoever, and decided, ‘I’ve had enough of Australia. I’m going to live in Switzerland.’
“Would that make us feel better?
“And the answer is, well, it shouldn’t and . . . it just seems to me that we should be congratulating and looking up to people who build and create growth and wealth, rather than this.”
Nasser, being a rich, smart man, top of his game, is out of his depths when it comes to defending his patch.  

So they could all up and go somewhere else?  And?

Who would care where they live?  Their assets would still be here.  Rather moot where our billionaires live.  

Dumb luck, being born into wealth isn't a matter for admiration or envy.  Nor are such people role models, since they can't be emulated.  There is only one Gina Rinehart, one Bill Gates, one Warren Buffet, and so on.  Some of these people are enviably smart, with full comprehension of their privileges in this mortal life, and  - notwithstanding the talent, vision and hard work that went into achieving what they have - they don't run around telling the un-rich that they too can achieve dizzy heights of wealth.  They're not that dumb.

With only 1226 billionaires in a global population of seven billion people it's stupid and insulting to lecture the world at large, to imply that there's infinite room at the top.  There isn't.  And the air up there is more rarefied than ever.  

Millionaires and billionaires declaring war on the un-rich is unseemly and more than a little bit pathetic.  It certainly lacks class.

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