The super-rich are stalking us at this point.
In January, it was revealed that the combined wealth of the world’s 10 richest men had increased by $540bn (£400bn) during the pandemic.
This is an almost impossible sum to comprehend. It is precisely because our intuitions are so unreliable regarding the magnitude of this wealth that we sit down and accept it.
Despite the jaw-dropping accumulation enjoyed by a slim group of billionaires – enough, Oxfam says, to keep the world from falling into Covid-19 poverty and pay for vaccines for all – countries around the world continue to struggling economically in the face of the pandemic.
That’s why Jeff Bezos projecting himself into space is so tasteless.
It’s like someone showing up to your lung cancer surgery, pulling up a lounge chair and lighting a cigarette.
During this crisis, the wealth of British billionaires increased by 35%. Food bank use increased by 33%.
Although the correlation is difficult to demonstrate, what is abundantly clear is that another vast transfer of wealth is now well underway.
One that should shock and irritate us all.
We are unfortunately so numb to the apocalyptic inequality of our world that some are more likely to be annoyed by an immigrant getting a decent house down the street than they are by the fact that two million dollars is for Jeff Bezos what a dollar is for his. employees – this is the extent of his astronomical fortune.
But rather than do something about it, we sit down and accept it like good little plebs.
We chuckle through the resignation. We are looking for the irony in all of this. As if, somehow, by rolling disapproving eyes at this vulgar display of greed, we were somehow absolved.
Clearly, our economic system must evolve. Unfortunately, history isn’t exactly littered with examples of this being an easy, linear, or bloodless process.
While many would have us believe that the brave people of Davos have the situation under control, it seems that no crisis is too shocking to rouse the masses to action.
We sit back and ignore the news as a super-rich group knocks our beautiful planet off its ecological axis while portraying themselves as the tech-savvy saviors who can save us from disaster.
A super-rich class with the political and economic influence, not just to lean on politicians, but to shape our entire culture, until their values, aspirations and interests appear to the rest of us as common sense. As a force for good.
It’s a hard nightmare to wake up, isn’t it? Even when the place is flooded, burning and collapsing all around us, the comforting illusion that all will be well prevails.
Money goes to money. Wealth is a magnetic force.
Our economic system is rigged to push money upstream. Rigged to keep people stressed in their low-wage boxes and in debt, while the cost of living skyrockets.
The system is rigged to exploit and destroy the natural environment.
And rigged to look like there’s nothing you can do about it – or that sticking your wine bottles in the wrong color bin will make a blind difference.
Clearly, for Bond villains like Bezos, moving business overseas is, much like the world itself, just not enough. He wants to move his business off the planet.
Maybe the next time one of these weirdos wants to visit space, we should make sure that re-entry is an even more taxing experience than usual.
Immigrant Claims Are Little Grimey Lies
We are now at the “let the immigrants drown” part of the Brexit dystopia. Yeah, it’s time to cancel the lifeboats, apparently.
At least, that’s the state of play according to right-wing puppets like Darren Grimes.
The human thing to do when it comes to the fate of migrants, according to meta-ethicist Grimes, would be to stop enticing them into perilous journeys through dangerous waters – leaving them to die at sea.
Every time a lifeboat arrives to pull someone struggling out of the water, it sends a signal to migrants everywhere that the UK is operating a free water taxi service.
Obviously, little evidence has been provided to support this ridiculous argument.
Given the war zones and tyrannies that many of these people are fleeing, I suspect their risk threshold is already extremely high.
It is therefore highly unlikely that letting desperate people drown will achieve anything other than the continued debasement of the UK’s moral currency in the world.
However, that may be what some of these Little Englanders want. Immigration is a complex issue, yes, and anyone left or right who claims otherwise is wrong.
But the question of whether we should protect human life is, fortunately, rather simple.
Are you half empty?
Are you the type to moan when it rains but also complain when it’s “too hot”? Do you feel overwhelmed, wishing you weren’t so busy, but then bored and discouraged when there’s actually nothing to do?
Do you secretly harbor a primitive resentment towards half the country’s population for reasons you don’t really understand? Do you justify this by “chattering”?
Does your house contain a room with a “big” light, or maybe a can of “juice” which is, in fact, a sweet carbonated drink?
Already planning your New Year’s resolution to lose weight because starting so late in the year now seems unrealistic?
Basically, do you find that you are never happy or satisfied despite the many reasons to be grateful? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, congratulations, you’re probably Scottish.
The suite fits the bill
Ghostbusters fans should be thrilled with the trailer for the long-awaited sequel, Ghostbusters: Afterlife. It sounds like the nostalgia fest many of us might have. Even if Bill Murray only stays there for 2 minutes, it will be worth the price of admission for me.
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