Category Archives: wealth

Fashionable psychological kitsch

Harry: unnecessary and tasteless confessions

The psychobabbling British prince, writes Dalrymple, ought to be

firmly reprehended for his emotional incontinence and exhibitionism.

All kinds of

princely personages—footballers, rock stars, actors, actresses, and the like—display their inner turmoil. They parade it as beggars in some countries display their amputated stumps. Perhaps this is to head off the envy that otherwise might attach to them. See, they seem to be saying, ‘We too suffer, despite our wealth, privilege, and fairy-tale lives, which you falsely imagine to be enviable and without blemish.’

Sufferers and victims are turned into

heroes merely on account of their suffering or victimisation, so that those celebrities who confess to misery, drug addiction, alcoholism, etc., are even more to be adulated than they already were.

Smash the Porsche-owning kulak electricians!

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 14.50.47The prejudice that makes hatred of wealth a generous sentiment may be expected to flourish

Every time, writes Dalrymple, the French government

tries to liberalise the sclerotic labour market, there are riots. That (considerable) part of the population which benefits from the legal privileges it enjoys is unable or unwilling to grasp that, in a market, the protections of some are the obstacles of others. Such privileges set one part of the population against another.

The loi El Khomri

would make it easier and less ruinously expensive for an employer to sack an employee, as well as cheaper for the employer to require employees to work beyond the statutory 35 hours.

The response: riots. There is deep satisfaction in destruction, so in Nantes, a Porsche was torched as a symbol of plutocracy.

What delight those who set fire to it must have felt as they saw the flames! What greater joy can there be than arson in the name of social justice?

The owner turned out to be an electrician.

How to join the 1%

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.33.35Theodore Dalrymple answers your questions

Should we wish to be of the 1%?

Wealth as such is not a very elevated aim in life.

What about you, Doctor?

I have never made it my principal aim or goal.

To have a sufficiency, though, is both necessary and gratifying, is it not?

A degree of prosperity is at least some evidence of worldly success — an imprimatur as it were, to which I have never been quite as indifferent as perhaps I ought to have been.

Do you feel wealthy?

Not enough to feel that a new car would not be an unwise extravagance if it were unnecessary.

What do you look for when buying a car?

My main desideratum is that it should start first time in the depths of winter. For many years I owned cars that could not be relied upon to do so.

How did you get into the 1%?

My wife and I lived well below our income for more than 20 years and invested the rest under the guidance of an adviser.

What criteria did you apply in selecting this adviser?

I had no real evidence of his superior financial wisdom, other than that I liked him.

Does such wisdom exist?

I am not convinced that it does.

How would you rate your own judgment in financial matters?

Let me admit that if I had had the misfortune to meet Mr Madoff before his scheme was exposed, I should have trusted him implicitly. He had such a trustworthy face.

What is your pattern of consumption and mode of life?

It does not differ conspicuously from those of many of my peers, except in so far as I have no television and buy many more books than most.

What do you fear?

To be poor — and to end up in the hands of the State, whose charity is simultaneously patronising and heartless, rule-ridden and capricious.

 

The crassness of Mukesh Ambani

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 09.02.58Extreme wealth, writes Dalrymple,

whether honestly or dishonestly acquired, seems these days to bring forth little new except in the form and genre of vulgarity.

Mr Ambani’s skyscraper tower home in Bombay

is a case in point. His æsthetic is that of the first-class executive lounge of an airport.

Why are some countries poor?

This, says Dalrymple, is getting it the wrong way round,

as if Man were born rich and had somehow to achieve poverty….It is wealth that needs explaining…