Different from you and me, and that makes the world ...
6 February 2007, 1:02 PM
One of the things that still manages to surprise me on a regular basis is the way that the very rich are different from you and me. Last night I listened to an NPR story asking Does Wealth Imbalance Threaten Society's Fabric?, in which John Ydstie hangs out at Gulfstream, the maker of private jets. In the last couple of years, reports Mr. Ydstie, the very rich bought around 1,500 new private jets.
Digression, I suppose: Ben Stein—Ben Stein!—says that “We're way down the road” to becoming “an oligarchy where a very few, very rich people call all the shots.” It’s a digression because I my take at the moment isn’t the political take, but yes of course if a handful of people control most of the wealth in the country than they will control most of the power, and all the campaign finance reform in the world won’t fix that. Amazing to hear Ben Stein say it, thought. End Digression.
This morning I read in the FP Blog about Selling to the global hyper-rich, wherein Prerna Mankad writes about how the extremely rich are being employed to sell Rolls Royces to the absurdly rich, and brings up that the number of billionaires in the world (according to Forbes) has risen from 476 three years ago to 793 this year. That’s a short time for an awful lot of people to break that elusive billion-dollar-barrier.
I also this morning was informed about HowsMyNanny.com, which will for only $50 a year (but a five-year membership for $36.50 per) you can have a identifying license plate for your stroller, so that total strangers can report to you (via the HMN website, of course, undoubtedly crackberried to you in your Very Important Meeting) that they have observed your nanny snorting heroin off the dashboard of little Chalmer’s $500 PegPerigo Completo (with the Revi Orange upholstery). Now, I understand that $50 a year is not actually very much money. There are many, many things on which YHB is happy to spend $50 a year to make the Perfect Non-Reader safe, or happy, or mildly amused, or even educated. This is not one of them. This, to me, is about how the very rich are different from you and me.
Also, it doesn’t say whether the geniuses behind this market plan are planning to take HowsMyHusband.com. The potential market is presumably much larger, not only because not all couples have stroller-age kids, but because not all couples have kids at all...
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,