The Rich Get Richer

September 13, 2010

The major UN Report on Global Economic Activity released in December 2009 stated that:

the continued weakness of the world economy is manifest in the continued increase in unemployment. Through the end of 2009, the recovery will have been “jobless”. Unemployment  rates are expected to continue to rise well into 2010.  The number of unemployed has more than doubled in the United States since the beginning of the recession in December 2007 [to] the highest in 26 years. … The unemployment rates in the euro area are also estimated to have increased by more than 2 percentage points in 2009 … Unemployment rates in transition economies and developing countries have also moved higher, in particular in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Central and South-eastern Europe, where the number of unemployed increased by as much as 35 per cent in 2009 … In East and South Asia, vulnerable employment affects about 70 per cent of the workforce … In sub-Saharan Africa … the share of working poor (that is to say, those earning less than $1.25 per day in purchasing power parity (PPP)) is expected to increase to about 64 per cent in 2009, up from 59 per cent in 2007.

Another report notes that

at the end of 2009, there were 81 million “economically active” youth aged between 15 and 24 who were unemployed, or 13% of all such youth around the world — an increase from the 11.9% in 2007.  In other words, the situation for that group is getting worse.

But luckily we have Luxist to remind us that it is not all doom and gloom around the world.  A couple of articles in particular caught my eye today. First there was the story of the three-bedroomed apartment in Monaco that someone just bought for $308million.  Let me repeat that: a three-bedroom apartment in Monaco that someone just bought for $308million.

One of its main features is the fully developed rooftop, which looks like it belongs on a cruise ship:

Personally, I wouldn’t buy it because it is not even private! Look at the picture above and you can see a tower overlooking the grotto.

The other story was about a 21-year old kid with a $5million car collection that will become a $10million collection when he has his next birthday.  He doesn’t have to work for it, or get a certain grade level; his daddy will simply give him another $5million worth of cars for his birthday.

All his vehicles have personalized license plates featuring the figures 070, which cost an additional $150,000 a pop. The international playboy spent the summer flying his cars to London, Montreal, Las Vegas and New York to go on high-octane driving tours with friends.

I read that just after learning about the 81 million unemployed youth, youth that need to work to help feed their families. I’ve since looked up that average student debt in the UK is $40,000, with similar figures in North America.

Will the rich never understand the problem with such conspicuous consumption? To broadcast the spending of $308 million on an apartment while millions are homeless and hundreds of thousands of ordinary houses are in foreclosure, to give a work-shy kid four “Ferraris, five Porsches, three Lamborghinis, two Rolls-Royces and a Mercedes SLR McLaren” while his contemporaries are buried under huge debt loads and unable to find gainful employment; this almost screams for a revolution. I guess they think their private armies will save them.  Well so did Louis XVI.

Gladioli 3

September 13, 2010

Gladioli No.3