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2/22/2012

Forbes 500, here I come


Wow, what a productive day so far. I saved the world yet again from nuclear war, put those murderers in jail, burnt some rather insignificant books (Whoops, you still needed those..!? So sorry, the cover didn't give it away, mates), then I dealt with the most important assignment there is. I paid the bills. Electricity bills, medical bills, bills and bills and bills. I paid so much random stuff today, I actually feel like Croesus must have felt when taking a dive into piles of coin. 

Most of the time, I feel wealthy, but rarely do I get to feel rich. Because who else can afford to pay so much, except really rich people. Today, I am in a good mood, and I don't mind you calling me Bills Gates at all!

Usually there is this great divide between me and the rich. The differences between them and me are, that they are a rather privileged bunch, Tuxedo-wearing, Hermes-bag-throwing, Rolex-polishing, well-educated faces, whose every aspiration it is to maintain the status quo. After all, it has worked for their families for generations. I am talking about Old Money of course.

Moneybags in Switzerland, two or three planes, not model airplanes, the real ones. Oh, wait there was something else. The reason us ordinary mortals can't climb that ladder is, because, unless we were bred in the same stable with them, they will always know to distinguish our smell from theirs by intuition - because it genetically differs. Theirs is the one that smells of oppression, guilt and severe discipline - since 1803. Ours reeks of.... trading stamps. Yuck.

Astor family drawing from 1878. Not a shabby shack.















I cheat myself into thinking that, if it wasn't for my constant tardiness, I could manage to become one of them, sneak my way into their ranks. Hollywood tells us it is possible. But it's not true. There is money and then there is Money. My money is cheap, no matter where I got it from (bank robbery or clever real estate investment).


Rich people's money is superior to mine, because they are the ones who co-founded the bank. I am - at best - the one who stares at the cashier's face at gunpoint, but it doesn't matter either way. Rich heirs to the throne don't marry poor people (before you cut in, no, Kate Middleton's family is not poor), for the simple reason that they want to keep the bloodlines close. And what a wonderful sentiment that is. 

Genetics really gives it away, this thing we suspected all along. That inbreeding is the key to upper class. Damn, since my husband and I are not actually related by birth, my children and my children's children will have a really hard time in life, climbing that fancy ladder. After all, we are not the ones with the same revealing birthmark. 

But, by any chance, may we still be the ones carrying the insignia of control?

We may, because luckily for us, the capability to think is one of those privileges we all share, a predefined human condition. It always was and always will be the true equilibrium of power. And on top of that, it comes for free. 


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"Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think."

"Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity, but your talent to their reason."
 
Ayn Rand (novelist, philosopher)


"The only question with wealth is, what do you do with it?"

John D. Rockefeller (oil tycoon)