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Useful And Fantastic: Waste Of Millionaires

Val Yule expresses strong views on how great wealth could be used to best effect.

While governments struggle to raise revenue with antisocial taxes on such things as gambling and many people struggle to survive with low incomes, there is plenty of money sloshing around with no useful purpose.

Matronage, as compared with patronage, is using millionaires’ money to promote good works and the arts. Ten percent of income to good works is the traditional tithe. not often practiced by millionaires. Billionaires use their surplus money to drive up prices of real estate and art treasures and to gamble hundreds of thousands of dollars instead of dollars or cents, for the same thrill. Let them gamble instead on good works, competing to solve the social and ecological problems of our time.

Readers could supply ideas for particular “games” that could be played: a new railway, perhaps.

Payoffs could include names on public works orstatues erected.

The seventeen richest people in the world got most of their money by exploiting natural resources: oil, timber, etc. An alternative rich list could be as follows:

1. For making Mars Bars: Forrest E. Marsen.
2. For packaging milk in cartons: Hans Rausing.
3. For Being Queen.: Queen Elizabeth.
4-5. For setting up chain-stores & retailing.: Sam Moor Walton & the Brenninkmeyer family.
6. Electrical and sports teams: Lester Crown.
7. Publishing and broadcasting.: Samuel Newhouse.
8. Shipbuilding, paper and newspapers : Kenneth Irving.
9. Media. Kenneth Roy Thomson.

Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, reckoned that the person who did the most good was the one who “made two blades of grass grow where one grew before.”

Here are my nominations for people who have done most to help the world be a “better” place. (This list is not in order of marvellousness!)
1. The co-inventor of the binary digital computer, John V. Atanasoff.
2. A developer of television to be a practical proposition.
3. The discoverer of penicillin.
4. A discoverer/developer of immunology for transplants.(Sir Peter Medawar or Sir Macfarlane Burnet?)
5. Schumacher someone like Buckminster Fuller…….or one
who gets us to conserving rather than waste our resources.
6. A pioneer of using solar energy.
7. A discoverer of genetic codes.
8. A pioneer in making literacy easier rather than keeping it difficult for most of us. (e.g. Paulo Freire or John Henry Martin)
9. Mao Dzedung. (How is he spelled now?) Whatever one may think of Communist China,it is a far better place to live in for most people than what they had before.
10. A pioneer of the Green Revolution in growing food for developing nations.

The most shocking thing about this list is that I don’t know who most of these people are – and I bet others don’t either. If every school kid knew about them they would be inspired as to what they might like to be or do or invent.

It is utterly stupid that four hundred American families own $US1.4 trillion – more than the total wealth of most countries of the world.

It is utterly stupid that simply because they are rich, they automatically keep on getting richer.

It is utterly stupid that the rest of the people are told these accumulations are justified on the grounds that unless unlimited wealth is attainable, everyone will lose incentive to work, and there will be shortages of capital to invest. And that it is naughty envy to wish that all that wealth was being used to benefit the world.

It is utterly stupid that millionaires play the wrong sort of games to avoid boredom. They have to gamble their money heavily or take over empires to get excitement into their lives. For example, Australia’s richest man, Kerry Packerlost $18 million in one session of blackjack.

There is a clear need for millionaires to have games that occupy their money more constructively. Then they need not live in fear of Andrew Carnegie’s dictum, “He who dies rich dies shamed”. (They could support my campain for esier spelling.)


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