Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Divine Decadence, Darling!

Two news items caught my eye this morning:

According to a new report from the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations, the richest 1% of adults in the world own 40% of the planet's wealth, and the richest 10% of adults accounted for 85% of the world total of global assets, while half of the world's adult population owned barely 1% of global wealth.

Just let that sink in. Half of the planet's population own 1% of the world's household wealth.

A couple of comments from the same article:

"These levels of inequality are grotesque," said Duncan Green, head of research at Oxfam. "It is impossible to justify such vast wealth when 800 million people go to bed hungry every night. The good news is that redistribution would only have to be relatively small. Such are the vast assets of the rich that giving up a small part of their wealth could transform the lives of millions."

Madsen Pirie, director of the Adam Smith Institute, a free-market think tank, disagreed that distribution of global wealth was unfair. He said: "The implicit assumption behind this is that there is a supply of wealth in the world and some people have too much of that supply. In fact wealth is a dynamic, it is constantly created. We should not be asking who in the past has created wealth and how can we get it off them." He said that instead the question should be how more and more people could create wealth.

In other news, the little black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's sold at auction yesterday for £467,200 - more than six times the estimate - at Christie's.

The good news is that:

All proceeds from the sale will go to City of Joy Aid, based in Calcutta, a charity set up 25 years ago. French author Dominique Lapierre, who was selling the dress on behalf of the charity, said: "There are tears in my eyes. I am dumbfounded that a piece of cloth which belonged to such a magical actress will now enable me to buy bricks to put the most destitute children in the world into schools."

Doubtless some cynical punter will come along now and criticize the need for charity. Well, indeed. Did you think I was trying to point out what an ideal world we live in? No. Just go back and read again. In a world where half the population owns next to nothing, a "piece of cloth" was sold for £467,200.

And there's not even a picture of Jesus on it.


Martin said...

It's not even a big "piece of cloth".

Unknown said...

definitely no bigger than a size 2, I'd say...

John said...

No, tpraja, I haven't seen it. Is it staffed by underpaid workers forced to watch Coronation Street and Eastenders 12 hours a day?