Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The Rich List and the rest of us

In 2013 I wrote a blog "Goodbye to weekend magazines". about how my love for magazines had waned and that they had little relevance and less interest to me. 

I glanced at two last weekend - the Sunday Times published its Rich List 2015.  Last year you needed only £85 million to be included but this year there are so many billionaires that you need £100 million.  Gosh – that lets me out then. In the same newspaper there is a magazine called Style. There are quite a few garments from the high street but the jumpsuit at £3,600 and white silk top at £1,235 never mind the lace dress at £3,065 take the breath away.

Now I am sure that there is a link between the people in the Rich List and these clothes but together they illustrate a disconnect from the rest of us. Coming during an election campaign, (while I think that the mansion tax proposed by Labour is simply a spiteful London tax), I am not sure that the many mega-rich people who live in London contribute much to society. Most of them don't actually live here all year round like us plebs, they have homes in London.

Does the fact that we have more billionaires here than in China or more per head than any other G20 country benefit anyone other than a small handful of estate agents, interior designers, designer stores, accountants, lawyers, bankers etc? I don’t see a trickle down. I don’t see them supporting local businesses (excluding the ones I just mentioned); the sports stars and celebrities do not create wealth or employment. Those who created wealth in the past through industry (say the Sainsbury’s and Weston’s) created employment and if we go back to the Cadbury’s and the Fry’s - through their philanthropy and philosophy had a positive impact on society. Regrettably for many on that list today - their charitable giving is not necessarily in proportion to their wealth.

There is one shining exception - someone called Richard Ross.  He has given away so much that he doesn’t qualify for the Rich List this year.  That is really something to be proud of.

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