31 July 2007

1,000 US billionaires and counting

Within days of launching i-needle, here's yet another report (The Guardian) on the extraordinary, extreme wealth of some Americans. There are now 1,000 billionaires in the USA (up from 13 in 1985) with a combined wealth of $30 trillion - more than the GDPs of China, Japan, Russia, Brazil and the EU combined. But isn't that a great thing for the USA? Doesn't this benefit everyone? Surely some of the $30 trillion's "trickling down"? Well, not to the 36 million Americans (i.e. 6%) who live in poverty it's not.

Meanwhile ...

"We're trying to feed and manage this insatiable appetite for luxury."
That's a guy who runs a time-share company for the super-rich with a "Platinum membership" start-up fee of $875K and an annual fee of $42K. People who can afford this are the same people looking to burn their easy-come (ill-gotten?) money on $736K Franck Muller watches, on $10K martinis at the Algonquin Hotel in New York. May this is Larry Ellison's life? The founder of Oracle owns a five-storey 450ft "yacht" with 80 rooms, a helipad and a cinema (see pic above).

These contemporary excesses are clearly of Marie-Antoinette proportions. And we all know what happened to her.

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