It’s fashionable these days to disparage or perhaps even hate the rich - the 1% as they're referred to in the press nowadays. This may not stem from jealousy or envy alone, but possibly from some real or imagined moral indignation at the inequality of the social classes. Some go as far as to say they feel enslaved by the rich. At the very least, there’s a great deal of interest in the subject. If you Google the words “hating the rich” you’ll see about fifteen million entries pop up!
As the Butler here in a billionaire's house I have some thoughts I’d like to share, and I’m neither defending nor berating the rich - just pointing out some observations that might not readily come to mind. We often hear the argument that the rich create jobs. Who can argue with that? Of course they do, but not just the obvious jobs in the corporations they own, but what about all the jobs created by their needs and by their unlimited desires?
If you have a moment, let me trace just one product in this house throughout its developmental stages. And since I've mentioned Beluga caviar more than once, let’s take a look at that:
- Somewhere in the Caspian Sea at this very moment there’s a lonely fisherman sitting out in a boat, waiting for a sturgeon to swim by.
- If he’s lucky enough to catch one, he’ll harvest the eggs and return the fish to the sea.
- He then takes his catch to a small factory that will wash and process the roe, and then the market-ready product will be put into specially manufactured jars or cans.
- Specific labels will have already been designed and printed, depending upon the age of the fish.
- The finished product is delivered to a wholesaler, who will then distribute it to retailers all around the world.
- Transportation includes everything from a horse-drawn cart, to refrigerated trucks and overnight jets to get the product to market.
- And finally the precious caviar arrives at some upscale retailer whose staff is eager to be of assistance.
- However, you can skip the visit to the retailer if you wish and utilize the vast network of technology to order online, and have the product delivered by UPS or Fed Ex!
Well, that’s a lot of people involved, is it not? And a lot of jobs - just because these rich people I work for want to serve caviar at a cocktail party.
Likewise, you can trace my employers' Cartier and Tiffany jewelry all the way from the retailer on Fifth Avenue in New York to the diamond mines, and the stone cutters and jewelry designers in between. Or the designs from our local florist all the way back to the greenhouses in Hawaii or California. In fact, for a large party here at the Residence, there could be literally tens of thousands of jobs behind the scenes supplying this house with wine and spirits, hors d’oeuvres, designer cocktail napkins, engraved invitations, flowers, candles, haute couture, furs, perfumes, shoe polish, silver polish - and on and on.
Not to mention all the musicians, waiters, bartenders, valet parkers and security personnel engaged for the evening. And lets not forget all the farmers and fishermen behind the scenes who's labors feed all of us, and who's products might be ultimately called hors d'oeuvres in some circles. A lot of jobs, indeed. And it can't be denied the desires of the rich spur endless innovation and artistic creativity - to compete for their dollars.
I don’t really have a horse in this race, having no opinion one way or another. And this is not an assignation with trickle-down economics, but merely confronting reality. The rich have always been and will always be with us. Even during the decades-long experiment with communism, a rich and powerful class rose to the top, did it not? From my point of view I see both the good and bad sides. But it seems to me that hating the rich is an absurd waste of time, as Oscar Wilde might say.
I’m fully aware how sophomoric this essay must appear to some. But to just hate the rich and blindly blame them for all our woes is somewhat sophomoric as well, don’t you think?
I hope this wasn't a colossal waste of your time. Thanks for stopping by tonight,