Jesus told the rich man that he had to let go of his wealth before he could understand the nature of the kingdom of heaven. What would he have said to one of today´s billionaires? It’s possible there are as many as a thousand billionaires around the world. To be a billionaire in itself is not a bad thing. In fact it might even be a good thing to be a billionaire. Certainly society regards it as something worth aspiring to. But I would like to ask the question: what’s the point of being a billionaire? I can understand somebody wanting to be a millionaire, because to own a decent house these days, a car, a yacht and have a little bit left over probably costs about a million. But why would anyone need a thousand times that amount?
I imagine most billionaires own many successful businesses employing perhaps hundreds of thousands of people. This is wonderful. I can certainly understand the enormous achievement of doing this, and what a boon it is to society to have so many people usefully employed. The bit I need enlightening on is why a single individual needs to retain so much of the overall profit and asset value of his own business. In other words, and I ask this in all seriousness, what does he need the money for? Presumably billionaires own many properties around the world, but you can do this with a lot less than a billion pounds. You can buy a two bedroom apartment in Scotland for only £50,000 and one on the Costa del Sol in Spain for around £150,000. How many would a billion pounds buy you? And in any case why do you need so many properties? Why not just stay in the most luxurious hotels for as long as you want and save on maintenance?
I guess billionaires own lots of nice clothes. Perhaps they have shoes that cost a lot more than 10 euros a pair which is what I pay. Perhaps female billionaires like to buy handbags. But even the best designer label handbag is under £3,000. What a snip!
Perhaps billionaires like to eat well. My favourite meal is a three course lunch available at my local beachside restaurant and costs 12 euros. My calculator refuses to tell me how many lunches I could buy for a billion euros.
Of course billionaires need to get around the world fast so a private jet is essential. These apparently can be rented for less that $5000 dollars an hour (see Morten Hansen’s article) so a billion dollars buys you a lot of flying time. I’m still not getting it. Can someone help me out?
In the event of nobody being able to come up with a suitable answer to this question I would like to propose the following strategy: can every billionaire in the world give away all the money that they don’t really need to live on? Let’s assume a million pounds is enough to help you scrape by for this year. Someone who has only one billion dollars can overnight create 999 millionaires. Imagine that! Multiply that by a thousand billionaires and that’s almost a million new millionaires! You could be one of them. We could organize competitions to see who is entitled to have the money. And of course some billionaires have a lot more than just one billion, some have as much as fifty billion. How many new millionaires is that? I don’t know, maths was never my strong point.