According to global aid organisation Oxfam, the world’s 2800 billionaires have made more money since Covid began than in the previous 14 years. So it’s nice that not everybody has had a difficult pandemic.
But it’s not all good news. The 20 richest billionaires have a carbon footprint that is 8000 times greater than the poorest billion people. That’s the equivalent of 400 billion poor people each. The uber-rich must really put in the hard yards to get through all those resources.
A recent account by a designer working for a company that decks out jets for the mega-wealthy (747s, not piddling Gulfstreams) explained how a client got a new jet when his spiritual advisor told him the old one was bad luck. His new jet was fitted with the standard gold-plated everything, but for a touch of luxury he ordered pure silk carpet at thousands of dollars per square foot. His wife was allowed to use the old jet. She must have been thrilled.
Examples of extravagant opulence abound. Many of them concern House of Saud royalty. One Saudi Prince visiting the UK and looking for a souvenir, opted for a fully personalised Jaguar. When he couldn’t decide on the duco he simply ordered one in each of the 16 available colors. He had them all air-freighted home so he could play with them sooner.
But it doesn’t end at opulence. Sometimes it gets dank. Yet another Saudi prince is said to have a carefully vetted fellow in his entourage as an organ ‘donor’ in case of emergency. The fellow must be pampered (for the time being) because surely the prince wouldn’t want his spare organs to look too second-hand.
With all this talk of billions of dollars and billions of poor people and (probably) billions of silkworms, its easy to forget how much a billion is compared with a measly million. A million seconds is 11 days. But a billion seconds is more than 31 years.
Since Covid began, said Oxfam, a new billionaire has emerged every 26 hours. So just sit back, relax and wait until it’s your turn to be the newest billionaire on the block.
It’s only a matter of time.