Richie Rich gets Richer

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Richie Rich gets Richer

How can it be that the luxury industry is booming while across Europe there is austerity and benefits are being cut? The explanation is surprisingly simple. The rich of this world have become even richer since the economic crisis in 2009. Each year they've seen an average increase to their wealth of 6%. In some countries, this increase has been as much as 18%.

Who are these rich, how do they live, and how do they manage even in times of crisis to become richer? Many of the secret rich live in Manhattan, New York. Of the 1,000 billionaires in the world, 58 call this home. At the same time, one in seven Americans currently relies on food stamps and one in six has no health insurance. Wall Street is the heart of the financial industry, the largest stock exchange in the world. There the financial crisis started and from there it spread to the whole world. Several billion shares are traded there each day.

People used to be happy when you had made a two or three million dollar profit. Today we see large companies like Apple who record a six billion dollar profit and whose dealers are not even satisfied with that, because they were expecting seven billion in one quarter. That's not even turnover, that is pure profit. How someone with a six billion dollar profit is not satisfied? The strong performance of financial markets recently has exacerbated the wealth divide. Whilst property value increases virtually by itself, people without property are becoming poorer.

People who don't have money are not involved in the market. They've lost their jobs, prices have gone high, commodities went up, and the cost of living has gone up. Granted, if you don't have any money, you have less money now. If you have money then you have a lot more money now.

Hedge fund manager, John Paulson, made a record five billion dollars there a year ago. One can only make such high profits by entering a high risk situation. It is mostly a risk at the expense of others. For example, in the case of Greece, you bet on the collapse of a country, attempting to make the largest gains. Many think this is morally reprehensible, but it makes no difference for the hedge fund managers because they want to make their profits. They are in position of kings. The money of the rich works for them too. They begin with the capital they have, and even if they only gain a small return it adds up to more and more.

  • Harry Nutzack

    when i was a teen in NYC (back in the late 70s), a VERY prolific "vandal" magic markered the phrase "EAT THE RICH!" in just about every subway station, on many a street sign, the roll down gates of businesses, etc.

    sitting here going on 4 decades later, that "gift" of 20/20 hindsight leads me to believe we could have done much worse than heeding that ink stained prophet's advice.

  • ChefBryn

    never understood why anyone would want more than £10M, guess when you get more and more money, politics and power take over

  • DigiWongaDude

    I don't like the way they refer to my abhorrence as 'envy'. It's far from envy. That German grey haired chap, stated the rich and poor have 'drifted apart'...what?! And then insinuated that an executive is working ten times harder today than he might have been thirty years ago...excuse me?!

  • Harry Nutzack

    one man's "envy" is another man's "righteous contempt". it all depends on perspective, and what one tells himself to be able to sleep at night, and then face himself in the mirror in the morning.

    in that example (made by the former "ski bum" who basically managed to use "market cache" to turn a decent product into a gold mine), i would actually say those who aspire to "be like mike" are the envious ones. they covet their status, after all.

    i think you attribute too much intentional animus to the hoarding of wealth. the philosophical position isn't really "gotta keep my lead on those peons intact", or "what can i bleed out of those serfs today?". it's obsessive lust. it's a "love of the game". they're like gamblers who found a "system". there is a doc (i believe i saw it here) that explains the chicanery of the "money boys" that resulted in the crash of 29. one of the key players, although fabulously wealthy, sunk into a monstrous emotional depression, and died soon after the new regulations prevented his "gaming". he lived for the game, not what it allowed him to accumulate. when the game couldn't be played anymore, he had nothing to live for. if you gamble, you know the thrill of "taking the pot", even if the "losers" are folks you care about. imagine the thrill it must be when 30 million players have "fed the kitty". if you have a bit of a sociopathic nature, that thrill will justify nearly anything. if you don't "play for keepsies", the thrill isn't there.

  • Adam Young

    where are the cyber Robin hoods we so desperately need ?

  • Carl Hendershot

    Do not waste your time on Social Questions. What is the matter with the poor is Poverty; what is the matter with the rich is Uselessness.

  • Paul Gloor

    Its OK to be rich I think, but its not OK to be a total douche and sit on it. Spend it, be cool, innovate, shake the hand of a poor man and make a better future for all of us. What do most of these billionaires do with it ? they fill a garage full of expensive cars to show to their rich friends. I would be investing in research projects with Nasa and the like, a little outside funding could go a long long way and 7 billion people just might think you're a little cooler. Thats what would matter to me.

  • Pysmythe

    Snorting coke off Maid Marian's ass, in cahoots with the sheriff to rip off the serfs, and making a killing somewhere.

  • Pysmythe

    Less and less are interested in that sort of thing, unless regular folks are the ones paying for it. Worldwide, there's approximately 32 trillion socked away altogether in off-shore accounts by the wealthy, so that they don't have to pay taxes on it in their respective countries. The problem has never been worse, it has a very definite impact on the cheated countries, and the psychopathy is only growing, without anyone willing to do anything about it, or even feeling that anything can be done about it.

  • Pysmythe

    Makes me think of that J. Paul Getty bio I read 20 years ago. I think that guy must have been the most complete exemplar of this kind of attitude I've ever encountered. What a massive trail of destruction that sad b*stard left in his wake.

  • dean

    yeah the rich seem to be quick to quote dubious stats to support their greed but even quicker to deny the widening wealth gap that they create and justify and that hurts the poor.

    The politics of envy is a red herring; it's about fairness - always was and still is. They brand us commies - nonsense of course, the real RED herring.

    We just want to prosper as they do, and why not? It's the only outcome of a true democracy.

  • StevenLJones

    The rich don't give two figs about anybody but themselves. Economic policies are meant to benefit them and keep them in power. The rest of us can go to hell as far as they're concerned. We the people need to demand an end to tax heavens including Switzerland for starters.

  • dewflirt

    If you can afford anything you want, why bother owning anything at all? :)

  • Harry Nutzack

    robin hood, like ALL heroes, was a work of fiction. villain and hero dichotomy is a myth. neither really exist. reality is a triad of beneficial, benign, and malignant. which group anybody (or thing) fits in is entirely subjective, except in the most EXTREME cases of malignancy. be VERY careful what you ask for, because often that "hero" is even more malignant than the "villain"

  • Harry Nutzack

    because half the fun of winning a pot at poker is your friend moaning he just lost his cigarette money for the week, and you taking the stack of bills, sniffing them deeply in front of him, and declaring "mmmm, smells like your marlboros". that's what the half million buck cars, mansions you need a topographic map to navigate in, and yachts with 6 golden props are, that all important "gloat"

  • Harry Nutzack

    in a world where people starve, not many of those billions will see financing "space exploration" as in any way beneficial. the reality is, the concept is just a continuation of colonialism, which most find abhorrent. how many wells with wind driven pumps would a single "space probe" finance? how many bowls of rice? how many "producer gas mini stoves"? a half billion coffee can sized stoves that allow a handful of twigs to cook dinner not only feed those folks, but also put ghetto dwellers to work building them for distribution, warehouse workers stocking and delivering the materials, with the ripple going all the way to those digging ore (or recycling soup cans). not "gee whiz" in any way, but much more benefit for the "serf class" through the entire equation

  • Pysmythe

    Assange, Manning, and Snowden have taken a crack at the surveillance side of the equation. They've at least attempted to put some power back in the hands of the people.

  • dewflirt

    I dare say you're right but I don't think gloating is all its cracked up to be, unless they're completely lacking in empathy. But that's probably it, isn't it?
    I was thinking about the graffiti you mentioned, Eat The Rich. Sticker bombing is popular here, for a while the town was decorated with butterflies and in the patterns of their wings were the words Shopping is not Creating. I don't like having for havings sake, the unnecessary weight of caring for a thing compared to the lightness of giving it away. But I've only ever been skint, what would I know? ;)

  • dewflirt

    And the quietly heroic, all those that potter along doing little acts of goodness. Rare, and precious to know :)

  • Pysmythe

    Agreed, and that's what ought to be hoarded, only so that it might be given out freely. Anyone who is unafraid and genuinely loves his neighbor is much richer than he knows.

  • Harry Nutzack

    folks who have gone to bed hungry tend to have a better understanding of hunger. the grim specter of it either inspires them to help as they can, or do anything they can to never experience it again. the vilest of exploiters tend to rise from such beginnings.

    those who have only known hunger as an abstraction can easily convince themselves that it is entirely the fault of the hungry. they didn't "apply themselves properly". that allows one to rationalize "the man who deliberately steers his ship into the rocks has no right to call out for rescue." or "sure, those serfs live in tar paper shacks while working their lives away for me, but without my stewardship, they wouldn't even have that". this is especially true of those who inherit riches, as they have never known either need, or unfulfilled material desire.

    the "gloat" isn't for we common riff-raff, we are genuinely inconsequential beyond our ability to "earn a profit" for the "player of the game". it's an " i took a big pot in the game" signal for other players. when i do the "cash sniff" after winning the big hand of the night, it's only for those sitting at the table tossing chips into the kitty. when the homeless guy at the gas station asks for a quarter, i don't repeat the move, i give him a buck, or buy him a beer, or offer up a share of the munchies i bought, or a combo of the 3.

    edit: forgive the shameless upvote i just gave myself, it was honestly intended to be placed on Py's response, rofl

  • Pysmythe

    "Short of genius, a rich man cannot even imagine poverty." - Charles Peguy

  • Harry Nutzack

    a few years back, on a holiday we have here called "thanksgiving" (where the ritual is to gorge oneself on "pilgrim food") while driving home from the feast with a huge stock of leftovers, i stopped to offer them up to a homeless cat on a bus bench. instead of the expected gratitude, he dressed me down mercilessly. "where were you last night when i was hungry? you're the 5th f00l to offer me a plate tonight!!".

    a week later, i saw him on the same bench, while going home with a pizza. i stopped down the block, bought a bottle of soda, and wandered back to him with a few slices in a bag, and the soda. he was incredibly grateful.

    neither act was "heroic". nor is it if i see an old lady struggling, and lend a hand. or buy a lemonade for a mother and kid baking in the sun at a bus stop. beneficent perhaps, but without risk to life and limb, there is no "heroism". i tend to look at it as merely "being human". no different than sharing my lunch with a foodless co-worker, or letting a pal crash on my couch when his old lady kicks him out for the night, or teach a clueless teen how to change a flat tire.

  • dewflirt

    Harry, you're a good person ;) Perhaps I should have said courageous rather than heroic, but I have seen instances of extraordinary courage that I believe are heroic. Danger not included ;)

  • Harry Nutzack

    the current set of spots this leopard wears are those of an empathetic man. at other times, i can assure you such was VERY far from the case. we live, we learn, we grow, we change. i sometimes doubt my "goodness", and chalk up my acts of humanity as attempts at making up for past acts of severe inhumanity.

    "peel away a veneer of altruism, and you often expose a penitent fiend" - H. Nutzack

  • dewflirt

    Hopefully there are some who remember it.... eventually ;)

  • dewflirt

    Such bad spots? Difficult puberty?
    Unless they allow laptops in prison cells you must have decided the jungle was no place for a cat like you. There's courage in that ;)

  • dewflirt

    You said it, now all we have to do is live up to it. And then convince the walking wallets that less is sometimes more ;)

  • Harry Nutzack

    bad circumstance, bad choices, bad outlook, bad attitude, and bad weather visible on all horizons. at times, young men do what they feel they must, and often live to rue those decisions. yes, my change of coat was all my own doing, though the metamorphosis is still a work in progress. my only time behind bars was limited to a few overnight stays, though i spent quite a few years in a prison of my own design. those walls are the hardest to escape. the prosecutor in ones skin is often the one that builds the most airtight case. the jury of ones conscience is often the least lenient. the sentences handed down in self judgement, the most draconian.

  • John Krisfalusci

    That's funny because I read a quote somewhere many years ago that changed my view on money forever.

    "You can be a king or a street-sweeper, but in the end, everyone dances with the grim reaper."

    Morbidly deep huh? ^_^

  • Pysmythe

    I know I don't need to tell you that if the planet is going to survive, we have to do something about unchecked capitalism and the greed it instills in too many. Everyone everywhere is talking about it these days. (Personally, I honestly don't mind people being rich, or being able to get rich, but doing so at the expense of everything and everybody else is another thing, which is exactly what seems to be happening.) But if we're going to change that, we're going to have to get used to something we've never done before, which is, indeed, to learn how to live with less. Of course, there might be many good ways of curtailing that a good bit, like clean-energy programs in earnest, greater recycling of whatever can be, vast reductions in military expenditures, and a host of others, but it seems like that's out of all real consideration because of how much it would cut into the wealth and power that already exists.

  • elizabeth wesley

    The worms wait. money has no taste.

  • elizabeth wesley

    It takes courage to be honest especially when the honesty is not flattering.

  • Glen

    Strange how one of the most expensive cars depreciates as quickly as hand grenade with the pin out.
    Money can't buy poverty I do know that for sure.

  • Glen

    Every 80 years there has been a depression the last one was 1930 the next one is over due and being help up by Bernanke's money printing which means it is going to be lot worse than we will expect.

  • CameronGunn

    "you ever seen a hearse pulling a U-hual?? cant take it with ya pal"

  • avd420

    "What do most of these billionaires do with it ?"

    Well, whatever they want. Thats really none of our business. The money they have they got from us. We voluntarily gave it to them in the exchange for a product or service. After that trade, what they do with their end of it, is none of our business.

  • bringmeredwine

    I've been rich and poor. I don't need "stuff" either. But it sure is nice taking a friend out to lunch just because I know she'd enjoy it.

  • bringmeredwine

    Right on, thanks for writing that!

  • bringmeredwine

    Interesting little show. I swear the German man being interviewed at the NYSE hasn't had to shave yet; he had the most beautiful skin on a man that I've ever seen.
    I don't envy the very rich. I look at them the same way I do vegans, nuns, cops or athletes; their life styles do not appeal to me. They are free to do what they like.
    I was horrified learning that German workers are taxed 43 percent. And I thought Canada was bad!

  • Mike Smith

    I had to log in to my google account to comment.
    this is a first.
    and it's also a first to make a comment on this forum -- i have been watching docs on this website for a couple of years now...
    Harry, my brother -- for what you have written above, and everything below, i thank you.
    i've 'been there' - at both extremes - not rich, but QUITE comfortable thank you...and then through self-analysys asking myself if I was truly happy, i discovered to my bewilderment that i wasn't.
    i followed my heart..i walked away.
    and spent a few years after the fact marveling at my 'bafflingly unrealistic' move.
    hero or villain..broke or poor..money is either a tool or fodder to fill an emptiness inside.
    ive found things like taking a picture of a tourist with their camera for them, giving up a seat on the bus, pressing the 'walk' button at an intersection to speed up the light for drivers at the red, etc, etc, much more rewarding than the fortune500 job that i sold my soul to, my leased car, the emptiness of exercising my gold gard, etc, etc..
    we're all in this together :)
    nice to see some folks 'get it' :) :)

  • Ilija Prentovski

    This is no "crisis", but a robbery on an unprecedented scale. Of course the rich get richer - the system is rigged. The rich guy puts money in the bank and gets interest; the poor guy must raise a loan to survive, and - guess what - pays the interest to the rich guy! People get rewarded for not doing anything.

    Anyway, I hope they are happy with their choice of not contributing to the well-being of anyone. If they are not, well... it's time for them to DO something about it.

  • werbed

    Your point of view is ironic because tax evasion is one of the main reasons for these big financial crises. It's a (historical) fact, go read on it.

  • Jack1952

    Bartenders have a saying. "The size of the tip is directly proportional to the cut of the customer's clothes." It's amazing how accurate it is. It seems those who can least afford to leave the gratuity are the biggest tippers.

  • gunk wretch

    its from Bill and Teds Bogus Journey

  • gunk wretch

    Just like in the depression, its not a loss of wealth, its a wealth transfer, they are harvesting us according to the business cycle just as surely as farmers harvest according to the cycle of the sun

  • Lucixir

    Decent short video but doesn't really explain much, just kind of a short there is a problem but we can't say what it is or how it got this way... or no solution. Social inequality is a big problem and the old argument of justifying meritocracy is furthest from the truth. There is no problem with how people want to spend their money, just how they earn it, which is not from hard work or taking risks to justify the reward. They have manipulated the system to take no risks, write laws that benefit them, avoid taxes and continue to enrich themselves at the costs of all others... and there is where the problem lies.

  • Terry Beaton

    Well said. Your metaphor is spot on. For the non industrialised countries it's the tilling and the seeding, (the turning of the financial soil) that is the first order of business. Harvest comes later.

  • JohnVideobiographer

    I agree. Not until Americans remove the blinkers from their eyes and use their votes to elect honorable representatives will the extreme disparity between rich and poor be put to rights. There will always be wealth and poverty, of course, but things have gotten so far out of balance in the USA, the odds of a kid from a poor family becoming successful are actually lower here than in the "socialist" countries of Northern Europe.

  • colinvanful .

    in my country there is an old folklaw story of robin hood, who robed the rich and gave to the poor, although this was a myth and really never happened the story still lives on.
    today when 2% of the world has all the money where the hell is robin hood?
    I am one of the 98% of this world that realises that money will not ever make you happy, but somehow the rich people of this world think they can buy happiness, sad twisted greedy money rich people will ultimately own everything. by then the human race will have to fight for there freedom and there life.
    history shows us that any civilisation that bases it's model upon the idea
    has ultimately failed!
    we the people of this world are divided until we can evolve to the state where people mean more than profit more than the economy'
    only then will the human race evolve , forget what your government tells you, follow your heart, if you believe it is wrong stand up and say!!!
    I am a old man now and I fear for my children's life in a world that only cares for the rich, or those that can pay there way in this world
    sadly the super rich do not understand they are the solution to the worlds problems!! and are so raped in making money they totally miss the fact that they can change this world for the better.
    2%of the population have the ability to make a real difference.
    reality check they don't give a f*** because we the people are sheeple ! and do what we are told to!!!!! for fear of the bite of the sheep dog .
    ultimately this world is changing and we have to adapt [or there is no hope for the human race we will be as extinct as the dinosores]
    ditch the rich spend there money to save the human species and the world?

  • Abamovich

    Frankly, I would HATE to be that rich (except to spend my life giving it to others in charity work, but not for selfish ends). All I want is a basic wage to keep me out of poverty and to be comfortable and that is truly within reach of most people in society. I was laid off and out of work for 6 months, so I got to see what it is like to live on unemployment benefits, below the poverty line. Now I am back at work, earning a good average income and I've come to understand just how little money you actually need to be happy. I'm glad I had that experience, it taught me a lot. We just don't need that much money, because as long as our basic needs are met (and we can learn to live on a lot less), happiness comes from community, from our relationships with others, that's the real fabric of life and a drive for wealth distracts us from life, we don't get the years back again. Wealth and our society's drive for it are the cause of most of our troubles, we get lost in the pursuit of some mystical dream of wealth, that if we had it would be a complete anticlimax (is that what I wasted years of my life over??). My car still gets me from one place to another, just like a rolls royce does and it has character!! And why would I want to isolate myself from others by living in a massive mansion and driving around in something that could put several of my friends' kids through school? Money doesn't make you happier. Look around and taste life, the best things in life really are free, stop believing the nonsense fed us by the corporate marketing machine.

  • John Leitaker

    If you give away the money (as many of them do) You only make yourself a big shot. As with Carnegie. Now if you take the money, hire people at a fair wage and make better opportunities with the money, your doing something.

  • John Leitaker

    they couldnt turn off the other language?

  • LoggerheadShrike

    Well, no. We design, produce, transport, retail (and manage all the people who do these things) everything, all the things we pay them for. By virtue of ownership, they skim profits from transactions between people who have jobs and create things. It's true we allow this to happen voluntarily - but one could say the same about any swindle.

  • LoggerheadShrike

    People who are starving to death while you praise yourself for giving up a seat on the bus probably beg to differ that we are "in this together"

  • avd420

    We get paid to do that. When you accept the cheque for the services, the trade is over.

  • LoggerheadShrike

    And the money is fiat. Just a symbol. We do everything, make everything, run everything, and these made-up symbols justify them leeching most of the value out of all the work everyone but them does.

  • LoggerheadShrike

    The planet will survive. Sterilizing the planet is something that would be extremely difficult, considering the existence of things like tardigrades. Life itself is not under any threat. The future existence of specific species, including ours, is.

  • avd420

    Again, logger, we agreed to it. And it symbolizes something very real, the trade of goods. Which is why you were able to trade the symbol for a computer, which is very very real.

  • LoggerheadShrike

    The trade of goods between people who have jobs and produce things, yes. It also symbolizes the right of some to siphon value out of those transactions without actually participating in any real way, simply through the control of more symbols.
    We agreed to it; such is the nature of a confidence trick.