When I was 16 I read Mao’s Little Red Book and the collective philosophies of Karl Marx. I think I even attended a couple of meetings of the very small Christchurch, New Zealand, Communist Party.
Coming from a family totally entrenched in the Labour Party – my grand father was a Member of the Legislative Council representing the Labour Party – it was expected that I would follow the left road.
By the time I had got to 20 my feelings and aspirations had changed. It was all about me!
Through the many years that followed I was happy to be a capitalist. To experience those happy days where a $1,000 could be spent on lunch. When we could get enough interest overnight on a building progress payment to pay for a very expensive meal for a group of us.
At one heady stage an acquaintance of mine held the record for having a liquor bill larger than the avgas bill for his private jet between Auckland and Sydney. Now how bad was that?
Times changed, I changed, but it seems the world has not. It would seem that to many, if not most in the world, it is still all about me!
I have watched so many appalling extremes of rich people behaving badly that nothing really surprises me any more.
However my reading about India\’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, having a little housewarming in Mumbai this week to show folks around got my hackles up.
It could take them awhile. The $1-billion home, seven years in the making, is 400,000 square feet on 27 floors, all for a family of six.
Now this house is the extreme and even more so when built in a city better known for its slums and revolting living conditions for millions of people. People who really have little or no hope of escaping the slums that surround them.
Mukesh’s house is being billed as the most expensive home in history. Anywhere.
Twitter users made their comments. “Knowing that there are millions of people starving, w/o clean water, and adequate shelter, makes this hard to read.”
Some people think criticism is a guilt trip. \”Every country has its super-rich and super-poor.” Get real. We don’t seem to have progressed at all as a society since 0BC.
What would I do to correct the imbalance? I don’t really know. I grew up in a time of 48% personal taxation where we created every structure to reduce tax. In a time where we lavished ourselves. Did we give to others –no.
A recent article in the Hindu Times said “None of the top 10 super-rich billionaires of India have given any substantial amount towards any charity or for human welfare.” Yet they probably expect the rest of the world to look after the needy of India.
Well I have turned down my invitation to Mukesh’s house warming (right). I would rather support the Ozzie girl working in the slums to help youngsters improve their English to give them a chance.
Without being jealous what do you think of the extravagances of the super rich?