Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Have you ever wanted to be one of the stinking rich? While the immediate response of many to that question would be, “Ooh, yes, please,” taking a moment to consider the implications might well have some changing their minds. After all, it’s not all champagne suppers and high class prostitutes – though they’re probably two of the benefits – and it could mean having to hobnob with the likes of George W Bush and the Cheney’s.

Yes, I thought that might cause you to reconsider.

The truth is that most of us aren’t obsessed with riches at all, it’s just that we don’t want to be poor. It isn’t any fun when your income only provides food sufficient to last halfway to the next pay check. Having once lived on stale oatmeal for three full days, many years ago, I wouldn’t be happy to repeat the experience, yet I’m acutely aware that many in the world today live their whole lives in far greater deprivation.

So while the dream of big mansions, Lear jets, and a harem of beauties may initially appeal, for me the reality would rapidly transform into one almighty guilt complex.

Frankly, I don’t believe this singles me out from the rest of humanity – except, that is, from 103,320 of us.

If you’re talking reasons to impeach George W Bush, then the figure 103,320 is not all that great; nor, for that matter, the justifications for flicking the ‘Off’ switch of Dick Cheney’s pacemaker, but when it comes to the accumulation of vast amounts of cash, and those amongst whom it is distributed, 103,320 is actually just a smidgen’s more than 0.0015 percent of us. Yet in a recent World Wealth Report from Merrill Lynch, 103,320 is the exact number of human beings on this planet who hold most of the money.[1] To be exact, those who each have in excess of $30 million dollars.

Unfortunately, the report fails to stipulate just how much in excess each of these individuals has, but apparently $30 million is sufficient these days to buy you “super rich-ness”, and the number in that category is rising year on year. In fact, the “super rich” class increased by nearly nine percent in 2008.

Dollar millionaires are also on the rise, though as a million dollars now only equals 504,680 British pounds, or 637,598 euros, being a dollar millionaire doesn’t necessarily place one in the ‘super-brat bracket’ these days.

Merrill Lynch suggests that by 2012 the “……global wealth of high net worth individuals will grow to $59.1tn”.

That’s 59 ‘trillion’, or if you prefer, 59 thousand thousand thousand thousand dollars, divided amongst 10.2 million of us, with the lion’s share going to less than 120,000 individuals.

There were approximately 6,708,083,942 of us on this planet on July 5th 2008.[2] The idea of so much owned by so few seems somewhat unfair. Still, as we all know well, statistics can be manipulated to mean virtually anything.

One fact we can glean from these figures, though, is that there are 103,320 people on this planet who probably never had to eat stale oatmeal for three days, while waiting for the next paycheck.

[1] “Millionaires defy the credit crunch as rich get richer” Guardian, June 24th 2008

[2] “World population” Wikipedia

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2 Replies to “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”

  1. Spot on again, R.J.

    Here’s another of my true stories that backs up what youre saying.

    One of the first winners of the Brit lottery was a bloke I worked with for years. He won 1.6 million quid. But, apart from dumping his council house in favour of a lovely detached property (only two miles away), can you guess what the biggest difference to his ‘previous’ life now is?

    He now spends his days boozing in much posher pubs. Really.

  2. Merrill Lynch suggests that by 2012 the “……global wealth of high net worth individuals will grow to $59.1tn”.

    If the Mayans were right (their calendar ends in 2012)all those fat cats will be not a jot better off than the rest of us. That’s the only thing I can add here – I’m bad at numbers. The husband and I both get nosebleeds at anything over $1000. 🙂

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