Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Peculiar consequences of wealth concentration

There is enormous, incomprehensible, wealth in the world. Increasingly, across all nations, it is concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people.

This has obvious consequences, but I'm sure there are surprising consequences too.

Emily and I remember a boat tour of island estates of eastern Florida. Each estate costs millions, but they were empty. Only caretakers visited, though we were told each had owners.

Owners who bought them, but had better things to do. Or maybe nothing good to do at all.

That is a problem with modern wealth. It's easy to spend a few million relatively well. Beyond that -- what is it good for? A yacht is nice if you like boats -- but then it gets boring. You can hire people to manage hassles, but then you have to manage people. A private jet? A mansion? Private artwork? Wild sex and drugs?

It would be different if we could buy lifespan -- and maybe one day that will happen. Not yet though -- at least not much if any more than the average citizen of a wealthy nation.

All that money can be used for is to play, to compete, to make more money. A game in which there is little meaning to losing, and little meaning to winning ...

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