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(Guardian)   "The super-rich inhabit a world the rest of society can hardly dream of. It's a parallel universe"   (observer.guardian.co.uk) divider line 515
    More: Obvious  
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22378 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Dec 2006 at 2:02 AM (7 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2006-12-17 05:05:53 AM
ChopsMIDI: A large gap between the rich and the poor is a sign of a HEALTHY economy


Pre revolutionary France and Russia must of had the greatest enconomies evar.
 
2006-12-17 05:08:46 AM
So you want to close off their universe...CLOSE THE DAMN IRIS!!!!
 
2006-12-17 05:11:11 AM
My white-trash neighbor was just bragging about getting a job making 'almost 9 bucks an hour'. Talk like that make me feel super-rich, even though I'm not.
 
2006-12-17 05:13:19 AM
Dialectic

"The truth is, really wealthy people hardly ever talk about money. Only the nouveau riche are the ones flaunting it like rappers drunk on Crystal."


You got this old saw half right.

It is true that old money does not brag about it, but it's not true that "the really wealthy people" are the old rich.

In an economy that grows relatively steadily the new rich are almost by definition wealthier than the old rich. These days it's the hedge fund managers who become multibillionaires while still quite young.

I didn't RTFA but I would think it tells you this.

Also as an aside, only a peasant would pride himself on the fact that he is does not brag about his non-existent riches in the manner of those trashy nouveaux riches.

The fact is whatever the merits of the old rich versus the new rich, if you are not rich yourself you can rest assured that both classes would rank you below them.

That reminds me of the snobbery of the country club maitre'd who sneers at the visiting dot.com millionaire for wearing blue jeans.
 
2006-12-17 05:25:10 AM
NedwinHLongfellow
Damn I hate rich farks. The one lesson from history that gives me comfort is knowing that they'll be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

How you can let people starve while you live in such excess defies understanding.


You display some fine compassion yourself.

It's not as easy as just sending money over to poor areas of the world. If it were, the massive world aid to, say, Malawi would have eliminated hunger by now. Instead, they're currently starving. Their political system is dysfunctional, their economy is unsophisticated, and they are undeducated. That's not a simple problem to solve. Indeed, simply providing charity to such countries may help to prop up corrupt governments and to keep the population at unsustainable sizes and growth rates.

So in the absence of obvious solutions, people, including rich people, do things that they know does good. They make themselves happy. They make their family and friends happy. They work like dogs to provide goods and services that other people value highly enough to buy with their own hard-earned money.

So take your bitterness, jealousy, class warfare, and self-righteousness elsewhere. It's harmful and ignorant.
 
2006-12-17 05:43:35 AM
'I am the happiest man alive. I have that in me that can convert poverty into riches, adversity into prosperity, and I am more invulnerable than Achilles; fortune hath not one place to hit me.'
 
2006-12-17 05:47:38 AM
2006-12-17 02:09:26 AM Churchill2004

There's nothing wrong with the rich. It's when people are poor because other people are rich that it's a problem. That's not the case in our society.


Many of the rich have received 8 figure bonuses for laying off 10s of thousands of workers. You see no causality here?

2006-12-17 04:19:01 AM EmperorTippy

The point is it is better for the economy and nation as a whole to have a vast amount of money concentrated in a few hands then it is to have a sufficient amount of wealth spread out over many many hands.


2/3 of the US economy is consumer spending. More wealth in the hands of consumers is VASTLY more important to the US economy as a whole than concentrations of billions in the hands of a few. Further, more wealth in the hands of consumers leads to more wealth in the hands of those who sell, increasing the wealth of the moderately to very rich considerably.
Policies which encouraged a larger middle class and a greater percentage of wealth in the middle class would be beneficial to everyone except for the few thousand people in the stratospherically rich category. The benefit of a strong middle class to a nation's economy has been demonstrated empirically over the last three hundred years and no practical maximum to the size of that middle class has ever been observed.
Vast wealth in the hands of the few, however, has been observed quite readily in collapsing economies throughout the same time period, and is the current hallmark of countries such as Russia and Mexico.
 
zz9
2006-12-17 06:03:59 AM
The world's resources are finite. Therefore, it follows that the wealthy can only exist if others do w/less.

Resources do not equal wealth. Resources exist naturaly. Wealth is created. Oil has been around fo the entire human existance but not until a hundred years ago did anyone use it. It had no value at all.
And what resources has Bill Gates used to create his wealth? No oil, coal, diamonds or land were needed, apart from a few trees for MS instruction manuals and packaging and the oil for CD ROMs but these amounts are minimal. A major newspaper would use more paper in a day and AOL have manufactured a hundred times more CDs.

Bill Gates (love him or hate him) created his wealth. He didn't find it in the ground and dig it up. That wealth didn't exist naturally.
And in creating it he has created employment for thousands of people and paid vast amounts of taxes.

If you complain about rich people owning thousand acre plots for their home then you could argue that leaves less land, a finite resource, for the rest of us. But wealth is not finite, it's not a resource and it doesn't exist naturally.
 
2006-12-17 06:07:06 AM
Resources do not equal wealth. Resources exist naturaly. Wealth is created.

If resources exist naturally, just tell that to your water company as why you aren't paying that bill anymore. They need a good laugh now and again.
 
2006-12-17 06:09:29 AM
zz9
ComicBookGuy: "The world's resources are finite. Therefore, it follows that the wealthy can only exist if others do w/less."

Resources do not equal wealth. Resources exist naturaly. Wealth is created.


QFT.
 
2006-12-17 06:11:37 AM
Befuddled
zz9: "Resources do not equal wealth. Resources exist naturaly. Wealth is created."

If resources exist naturally, just tell that to your water company as why you aren't paying that bill anymore. They need a good laugh now and again.


Water does exist naturally. Clean water pumped to your home does not.
 
2006-12-17 06:14:42 AM
Water does exist naturally. Clean water pumped to your home does not.

So go out and try to tap some of that natural water, see how long you get away with that until you are arrested.
 
2006-12-17 06:21:30 AM
Befuddled
So go out and try to tap some of that natural water, see how long you get away with that until you are arrested.

Obviously, private individuals and goverments have water rights, just like they have land rights, mineral rights, airspace rights, etc.

I don't see what this has to do with wealth being by and large an output of things like natural resources, time, labor, capital, etc.
 
2006-12-17 06:23:14 AM
MacGabhain

Glad to share a state with you. I'd like to add that unfortunately, the stratospherically rich also have the money to fund think tanks that come to different conclusions.
 
2006-12-17 06:26:18 AM
troyh1976: /Money is great but if you don't have it, do you choose to be happy? I try. Some of it is fooling yourself but if it works, that's gotta be worth something.

Great post. A reality injection. Only dissent - "better class of ass" women don't fark guys who are rich, they fark guys who display value.
 
2006-12-17 06:38:52 AM
EmperorTippy: The point is it is better for the economy and nation as a whole to have a vast amount of money concentrated in a few hands then it is to have a sufficient amount of wealth spread out over many many hands.

octo: Also as an aside, only a peasant would pride himself on the fact that he is does not brag about his non-existent riches in the manner of those trashy nouveaux riches.

unbelievable
 
2006-12-17 06:45:31 AM
Money, aside from its buying power is essentially useless.
 
2006-12-17 06:51:03 AM
mr0x

You exemplify the living in two worlds.

You are so out of the rich world that you don't even know what good is.


And you do? Cool. I live in a better world, friend. Ignorant but kind of happy, obviously.

You think living in that tiny, paper-walled apartment eating what was on sale at your local grocery clicking around in your sub-par computer through a mediocre screen in a small desk with crappy lighting is good life.

Dude, I said I was on a middle class income, not poverty stricken. I don't get why you are being so aggressive. There is so much projection in your above scenario that it's funny.

You think you have 95% in you car but when you could be hit by a drunk rich guy's tank SUV who walks away with a headache and you'd have to be picked up a bucket it might make you think otherwise.

SUVs are dangerous to *anyone* they hit because they impact higher than sedans do. Ask the late Princess Diana about how being rich allows you to escape the laws of physics. Or not, as the case may be.

Friends and lovers could be fake anywhere. Being rich is not bling-bling, it's about the little things like freedom to do what you'd like, where to go etc.

And this is after your lecture on my paper thin walls, my crap monitor and how my car will be squashed by a rich man in an SUV?
 
2006-12-17 06:51:27 AM
mr0x
Compared to people who are long dead is pointless.
If you only compare how well you do in relative terms, then you're just talking about the very base emotion of envy.

Thinking about your situation in absolute terms- ie, how far beyond your basic needs you are- gives you a decent perspective.

Yeah, we get music and all that stuff but there are more important things that the rich have ... freedom to do what they want.

We can't even do something we want for one week at the risk of getting fired, screwing this or that up. We can so constrained in what's possible - either by this or that.


You don't have to be rich to be able to do this, you just have to be financially responsible. Eliminate debt- especially consumer & automobile debt- and have some savings and you too can live your life as you see fit. Having some savings and no debt gives you the exact kind of freedom you want. Sure, you may not be able to take a jaunt to europe but you won't worry about next month's bills either. Go to www.daveramsey.com to find out how you can do it, even if you're not 'rich.'

NedwinHLongfellow

Damn I hate rich farks. The one lesson from history that gives me comfort is knowing that they'll be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

How you can let people starve while you live in such excess defies understanding.


One, the starving people you're so worried about are an abstraction to you. You've never met them. I grew up poor and still know some people at the bottom rung of society. Their basic needs are met. When you can buy a warm coat at the much maligned walmart for $20, the bar for being absolutely destitute is much lower than ever before.

Two, there will never be a revolution in the United States.

The skills required to successfully organize one are worth money to businesses. Lots of money, actually.

Anyone capable of organizing a revolution will be gainfully employed and be 'the man' instead.
 
2006-12-17 06:52:57 AM
EmperorTippy: The point is it is better for the economy and nation as a whole to have a vast amount of money concentrated in a few hands then it is to have a sufficient amount of wealth spread out over many many hands.

If no one has volunteered yet, let me be the first to volunteer to better our nation by unburdening you of all your wealth. If you can manage it, get your friends and family to do the same for the good of our country. Me being newly rich will make your newfound lives in poverty all that much more rewarding.
 
2006-12-17 06:55:44 AM
Befuddled
People do everyday. Look in the phonebook for a well drillers. Usually in the plumbing section. It might be impossible to get clean, free water in the city but ask someone in the sticks what their waterbill is and you'll get a chuckle.
After you get the permits and environmental assessment you're good as gold for that well. Legal too.
 
2006-12-17 06:57:39 AM
It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle...
 
2006-12-17 07:01:59 AM
rrtt22

It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle...


The 'eye of the needle' was a man-sized gate in a bible-era city wall. It was the only way to get in at night, IIRC.

In order to get a camel through this 'eye', you had to remove all of the load it was carrying, and then it would have to kind of bow it's head and duck through the man-sized gate.

So the analogy is this- the rich can't take it with them and must be humble, as this is how camels got through the eye of the needle.
 
2006-12-17 07:10:04 AM
just before the revolution.

bear that in mind
 
2006-12-17 07:14:01 AM
Why I want to be super-rich: Endless hookers and blow!

/will never be rich
 
2006-12-17 07:34:45 AM
I wouldn't hate the super-rich nearly so much if the farking news media and tabloids would quit fawning over these bastards.

No CNN I do NOT want an exclusive first look at Richie McRiches summer home and $30 million yacht. DIAF.
 
2006-12-17 07:37:14 AM
I bet they stiff the pizza delivery driver and complain about the tip jars in Starbucks.
 
2006-12-17 07:43:20 AM
2006-12-17 03:01:44 AM Robo Beat

He's got a point. America may be the only place in the history of the world where even the poorest among us can eat red meat, drink beer, and watch pay-per-view wrestling on their big-screen TVs.

As a member of the non-American parts of the world, exactly what are they teaching in your schools that makes you think that the rest of us live in poverty?
 
2006-12-17 07:43:58 AM
dfenstrate

The skills required to successfully organize one are worth money to businesses. Lots of money, actually.

Anyone capable of organizing a revolution will be gainfully employed and be 'the man' instead.


You forgot about one thing: ethics

Believe it or not, there are some people who would rather die than be bought out by the devil. I'm not saying we're at that point, but if we should ever get there, I'm sure someone would try.
 
2006-12-17 07:48:13 AM
Mitch J

As a member of the non-American parts of the world, exactly what are they teaching in your schools that makes you think that the rest of us live in poverty?

Nothing, but all a lot of Americans ever hear from the outside world is about how arrogant we are (which is partially true) and how good we have it. Plus the blind assumption that "If america isn't the best of the best and a shining beacon of govenrment for the world to you, you're unpatriotic" is running amuck.
 
2006-12-17 07:58:54 AM
Opiate of the Lasses: It's arguably better to be happy and poor.


Agreed. Once you stop struggling and striving for success it gets pretty boring. Then you start comparing, and it all goes to hell.

Or, to be even more succinct, as my Mother used to tell me: 'Worry about yourself, don't worry about them.'
 
2006-12-17 08:04:12 AM
Money can't buy you happiness, but you can rent it, one $10 lapdance at a time.
 
2006-12-17 08:09:02 AM

Befuddled

Water does exist naturally. Clean water pumped to your home does not.

So go out and try to tap some of that natural water, see how long you get away with that until you are arrested.


Every time I turn on the tap, clean water comes out of the ground via the well on my property.

Does that count?

Wealth and Resources are not synonyms, developing wealth requires resources (human and natural) and some wealth developing means have unequal distribution of inputs.


M$ = Way more human than natural
Exxon = Way more natural than human
 
2006-12-17 08:12:32 AM
"Every man a King, but no one wears a crown."

No one person, I don't care who you are or what you do, should have a fortune of over $50,000,000. No one, should make a salary of over a $1,000,000 a year. There is enough wealth in this country for everyone to live a comfortable middle class life.

Ole' Huey had some pretty good ideas. Too bad he was gunned down.

I do disagree with Huey on one point however. I believe that everyone should work, no exceptions. No work = no food.
 
2006-12-17 08:21:23 AM
Maddogjew: No one person, I don't care who you are or what you do, should have a fortune of over $50,000,000. No one, should make a salary of over a $1,000,000 a year.

You're shiatting me, right?
 
2006-12-17 08:24:40 AM
The vacuous, pedigreed trust-fund babies can afford to have an electrode wired to their pleasure centers for non-stop stimulation. It would save daddy's fortune from being spent on albino peacocks, as well.
 
2006-12-17 08:37:31 AM
He's got a point. America may be the only place in the history of the world where even the poorest among us can eat red meat, drink beer, and watch pay-per-view wrestling on their big-screen TVs.

As a member of the non-American parts of the world, exactly what are they teaching in your schools that makes you think that the rest of us live in poverty?


That there are two types of people in this world. Those who wave tiny American flags, and those who stand hip-deep in mud while eating spiders for breakfast. Why, you saying that's not true?
 
2006-12-17 08:46:22 AM
Would any of the super-rich here tonight care to donate between $100,000-1,000,000 of the money that doesn't make them happy to my research grant?

I would like to prove, scientifically, once and for all, that money will not make me happy, and I need your support. Everything will be well-documented, you will get your name on the final report, and I will wear a white labcoat.

The more of you that care to contribute the better. With a large enough grant I can expand the testing to other subjects, like family and friends, to prove that money will not make them happy either.

Cash, check, money orders, old $100 bills with coke still smashed into the rolled end... whatever you've got. Hell I'll even accept Paypal. Just fire off a payment to the email in the profile.
 
2006-12-17 08:47:21 AM
Been there, done it, and yes, it's true. However, that parallel universe isn't as fun as the hoi polloi seem to think it is.

I prefer where I am now.



I prefer not using an extraneous "the" when dropping "hoi polloi" bomb.

lollerskates!
 
2006-12-17 09:20:38 AM
The super rich need an ethic among themselves to spend money not just on extravagance, but wildly creative endeavors. Projects of genius and difficulty that cannot get funding elsewhere.

A single billionaire could change the world many times over by giving a grant to 100 unusual people, then to follow-up with funding the best 10 ideas. I say "unusual" because "brilliance" is sometimes compromised, and is often far better at executing ideas than creating them.

For example, think of 10 unusual web sites. Then try and guess what would happen if each one got a grant of $500k.

Now the billionaire might be more pragmatic, wanting something that will produce tangible, lasting results. Or just some lasting memorial, if kooky.

How about a home for unwed mothers, in which they and their children would live comfortably for years, and the children get a good education? Except they must legally change their names to those of the billionaire and his wife. So a mansion full of Bill and Melinda Gates.

Some billionaires are already doing some things like this, such as the rocketeers investing in space travel.

The bottom line is that giving money to their charities just often results in wasted resources, and nothing tangible or lasting in the world. But giving money to the unusual could still be a good tax write-off, but also make the billionaires' names live beyond their years.
 
2006-12-17 09:26:13 AM
YoungSwedishBlonde: You're shiatting me, right?

The system that I propose is a lot cleaner than just lining the rich against the wall, shooting them, and then just taking the money. Who the hell needs more than $50 mil? That's just being greedy.
 
2006-12-17 09:31:05 AM
Making a list for the wall, when the revolution comes
 
2006-12-17 09:31:15 AM
clovis69: Even Bill Gates will die like the rest of us. No matter how rich someone is, if they gets the wrong kind of cancer, they will be pumped full of poison and die in pain too.

Well, the very rich will have access to much better hospitals and cutting-edge treatments than the poor. I worked in one of the best cancer treatment hospitals in the world, and wealthy people come from many other countries to get treatment there. Then, ironically, my not-rich dad got lung cancer and died in a little rural hospital where all they did was call his relatives to tell them he was dying, and give him morphine while waiting for him to die. Ya rly.
 
2006-12-17 09:32:31 AM
you guys are forgettng the real happiness in life being attractive

who cares if your rich if your ugly as sin then you know every realationship is based on the dollar

but...

if your attractive

a) its easier to aquire wealth
b) even if you don't make alot of money you still get to have fun

at least that's something we can all agree on that ugly people suck and if you try to defend that then you must be ugly, sux to be you
 
2006-12-17 09:33:03 AM
RTFA. Underwhelmed. none of what was described was particularly desirable.

We have been asked to create a cat pen for a family in south Kensington for £30,000. Their two Bengali cats were not allowed to mix with other animals, so we created their own universe.

BFD. When I set up my hobby farm, I'll create a universe for my chickens!
 
2006-12-17 09:44:38 AM
wellknownassh0le: a) its easier to aquire wealth
b) even if you don't make alot of money you still get to have fun

at least that's something we can all agree on that ugly people suck and if you try to defend that then you must be ugly, sux to be you


Maybe that "good looking gets you places" thing works for women, but it hasn't done a whole lot for me. When I take care of my appearance, strangers (women especially) are more likely to be cordial to me, than when I put on weight and get a five oclock shadow and dress sloppy. I get hit on a bit more. But it doesn't go far enough to add up to much.

Maybe it's a grass-is-greener illusion; I've long believed that the key to having more fun and aquiring wealth more easily is having good social/networking skills (combined with decent self-confidence), because it's my biggest deficit--I'm well below average in those areas. Being reasonably bright and decent looking has helped me get my foot in the door in some areas, but that's absolutely as far as it's ever gotten me. Once the potential GF/buddy/employer finds out I'm socially awkward and insecure, the rest just doesn't seem to help much. (I've tried faking confidence many times, I don't seem to pull it off well.)
 
2006-12-17 09:46:32 AM
"2006-12-17 03:35:57 AM Turtle Head"


Is it because you are getting no reaction to your extremely unfunny pictures?
 
2006-12-17 10:09:36 AM
Sad thing is that the middle class has eroded away in the united states. A larger middle is set i surpass us in china. The days are gone that a person with a high school diploma can work in a factory for 40+ years retire with benfits and make as much as paper pusher. Income inequality is exploding and the GINI proves this. Unless you are making between 250,000 to 5,000,000 you are no longer middle class. Anything below 250,000 you are just working class. The poverty line in reality in the united states is 30,000 grand. It seems to me, and this my opinion mind you, that if your you are a consumer in this country then you are not a citizen. This seems very true at this time of year. I don't how much more this country economy can take, it seems like 2007 might be 1929.
 
2006-12-17 10:10:05 AM
Historically, Americans (and, to a somewhat lesser extent, the British) have tended to be much more tolerant than people in most other countries of large socioeconomic inequality. Underlying this tolerance is the belief -- held, by some, with an almost religious intensity -- that we live in a fully meritocratic society in which anyone with sufficient abilty, drive, and self-discipline can become wealthy, no matter what his or her circumstances at birth. The corollary is that if someone is impoverished in later life, it is due to his or her own personal failings, and not to broader structural factors that might require legal or constitutional remedies such progressive taxation, much stronger protections for labor unions, nationalized health care, etc.

And indeed, the US was fairly meritocratic in this sense for much of its history, especially as compared with the aristocratic, class-conscious societies of pre-WWII Europe. But increasingly, this is no longer the case. Economic mobility across generations is now, at best, stagnant, and quite possibly in decline (cite),
and indeed mobility is now smaller in the US and Britain than in Canada and continental Western Europe (cite).

In other word, the "American Dream" is on its way to becoming little more than a dream -- America, by contrast, is on its way to becoming a class-based society of the sort that people originally emigrated to America to escape from. When the American people start to perceive this -- and I believe they already have -- then you will see more left-wing and populist economic legislation to reign these inequalities in.
 
2006-12-17 10:14:30 AM
NedwinHLongfellow: Damn I hate rich farks. The one lesson from history that gives me comfort is knowing that they'll be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

How you can let people starve while you live in such excess defies understanding.


...says the man selfishly spending money on a computer and internet access while other people starve. Excess is all relative, Skippy.
 
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