So. According to a report from Oxfam I read today, the richest one percent of the population now have more money than all the poorest people of the world combined. The sixty-two richest people have more money between them than the poorest three point six billion.
That’s an awful lot of money that is owned by relatively few pople.
And that just cannot be right can it? Why do they have it?
I think it’s because they believe it makes them happy. Bulging safety deposit boxes and bank accounts that read like a fantasy novel, apparently, make them happy.
But does it? As far as I am concerned that’s a funny sort of happiness.
I’m not saying that having more money wouldn’t make me pretty content, of course it would. Not having any concerns about where the rent is coming from. Not feeling stressed out by the arrival of the winter duel fuel bill. Not worrying about how to pay for food for my family next week would be great but all those zeros in phenomenal positive totals on my bank statement, would they make me really happy? Maybe not.
What makes me happy are the smiles on my children’s faces when I tell them that I love them. The feel of their hands holding mine. The laughter in the evening whilst we watch our favourite TV shows and talk about what we’ve done that day. I love the phone calls I get from my father and my nieces and knowing that they are doing well and enjoying their lives. Chatting to my friends online and reading their posts and chats in social media. Lying back and having the time to read my favourite books. Eating chocolate and cake and cheese and peanuts. They are all things that make me happy and none of them cost mega mllions.
What do these people who have so much do with it all? I’m not exactly certain. Sure, they can buy houses and luxury cars and extravagant holidays and designer clothes and send their children to expensive private schools but what do they do with the rest of it?
Squirrel it away and leave it to moulder in a bank vault? How is that going to help anyone?
Do these people think that, somehow, they are going to be able to take it with them when they die? Are they of the opinion that they will be able to spend it in the after-life? I have news for them – that just won’t happen. Once they die they will have no need for money, regardless of whether there is a heaven or hell or endless nothingness it doesn’t cost anything to be dead. Money is only handy whilst you are alive and you only need a finite amount of the stuff.
I know this makes me sound a bit like a later day communist convert but why can’t the mega-rich sixty-two share it out a bit? Why don’t the big oligarchs pay their workers a bit more in salary and put a bit less into their own pockets? Why don’t minted property developers try using some of the profits they are making from buying and selling massively over-priced houses to help house people who can’t afford to buy enough food to live, let alone their own homes? Why can’t the hereditary monarchs and landed gentry share their land and inherited wealth with the people who need it? What makes the sixty-two think they have the right to all this money when there are people who are starving and freezing and dying for lack of just a few pence.
My hope is that things will start to change. My hope is that reports, like Oxfam’s report today, will get people talking and thinking, at that, at least some of the super wealthy sixty-two, will see just how unfair the system as it stands is. My hope is that all the money can be shared a bit more and that the three point six billion can have a bit more of a chance to live their lives without having to struggle for everything. I do understand that this is a pretty vain hope but I can dream can’t I? Dreams, at least, are free.