According to Oxfam, the combined wealth of 10 men increased during the coronavirus pandemic by $540bn (£400bn). The 10 richest people include Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Tesla’s Elon Musk and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.
So, good news for some, but bad for others like Donald Trump and Sir Philip Green. Revenues for the Trump Organisation fell nearly 38 per cent last year as the coronavirus took a steep toll on the hospitality industry. And Sir Philip? Well, with Arcadia in administration and ASOS since acquiring its main brands, he’s no longer a billionaire, his fortune having fallen to about £950m. Bless!
Many recoil at the very mention of such extreme wealth but forget that some of the world’s richest people have actually done something to acquire it. Bill Gates was personally involved with writing the codes which evolved into the software that runs on so many of the world’s computers.
And, unlike, say, Sir Philip (whose collapsed Arcadia empire risks lumbering taxpayers with a £50m bill for redundancy payments for staff left with no jobs) has also done something worthwhile with his wealth, giving over $40 billion to the Gates Foundation which seeks cures for infectious diseases.
Gates and the founders of Amazon, Tesla, Facebook etc are all entrepreneurs who have created, mainly through their own drive and determination, substantial and reputable businesses serving millions of customers and employing hundreds of thousands of staff. One hundred and fifty years ago, the list would have been dominated by people who inherited their wealth across centuries, originally acquired by men who waged wars and unleashed other kinds of violence.
And all this just weeks after front-page outrage and the nation left reeling in horror – forget the pandemic, Zoella’s been dropped by a GCSE board over her YouTube round-up of sex toys! – it’s with a heavy heart that I report that things could get even worse.
What about when ‘Trump the Musical!’ opens on Broadway, with hits such as ‘Ivanka Tell You Something’, ‘Your Tiny Hand is Frozen’, and the show stopper, ‘If You Knew Putin’ …
Nora Johnson’s psychological crime thrillers ‘No Safe Place’, ‘Betrayal’, ‘The Girl in the Woods’, ‘The Girl in the Red Dress’, ‘No Way Back’, ‘Landscape of Lies’, ‘Retribution’, ‘Soul Stealer’, ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.net) available online as eBook (€0.99; £0.99), Apple Books, paperback andaudiobook. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.