Lifestyles of the rich and famous: Obscene wealth inequality at it's worst

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posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 07:21 PM
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I decided to write this thread after reading "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein. For anyone who hasn't read it yet, I highly recommend it. Although it is somewhat outdated having been published in 2007, it is a very sober look at "free market economics". Specifically, it tackles the ideas (and consequences) of the Chicago School of Economics, which is a neo-liberal (or neo-con depending on your outlook) school of economic thought which advocates pure laissez faire economic reform, with a very globalist approach. Klein highlights the disastrous effects these policies have had starting in South America during the military Junta's of the 70's, and follows up by highlighting how key players and proponents of this system imposed the same misery on people around the world throughout the next 3 decades. Klein's book is chillingly prescient given the economic collapse which was to follow the publication of her book by one year (and subsequently the banker bailouts).



The recurring theme that I noticed when reading about these economic principles and the people who benefited most from them was a certain ruthlessness. I have at various times in my life questioned the moral character of the ultra rich and the power brokers among the elite, but I hadn't quite had it put into perspective the way Klein exposed it. What was revealed for me, was a very greedy and indifferent class of people who built their fortunes on the misery and death of others. From war profiteers to surveillance corporations, the entire thing appeared to be a giant ponzy scheme built on the premise of a free economic structure that isn't very free at all. It's designed to benefit one class of people only, and that is the elite which have constructed it. It robs working people of jobs and prosperity (and in some cases their lives), drives inflation, and creates a system that is so unstable that when the entire house of cards comes down, the people who constructed it will be the only ones to escape the coming horrors unscathed, while the average joe and his children are left footing the bill.

So in this thread, we will attempt to look at the mindset of some of these people, and analyse their lifestyles in an effort to understand not only how they view themselves, but consequently how they must view us.

If there are any doubts about a system of class warfare being in place, I hope to dispel them with this thread.

Exhibit A:

Carlos Slim Helu



Pictured above, Carlos Slim Helu is a mexican business giant who made his fortune in the construction, real estate and mining industries. He then used his wealth to buyout other businesses and made a fortune on investments in other sectors. He eventually bought up entire swaths of the telecommunications industry in mexico, and currently enjoys a virtual monopoly in that sector. Recently, it was estimated that he has acquired enough wealth and holdings to be worth an estimated 73 billion dollars.

To put that into perspective, Carlos is currently 73 years of age. He could buy a $300000 home and a $50,000 car, every day of his life, for the rest of his life for the next 60 years (assuming he lived to be 133 years old) and still die with well over 60 billion dollars.





Essentially, Carlos has so much money that there is no possible way he could spend it all in his own lifetime, or even the lifetime of his children.

Now I have used Carlos as an example here since he is currently listed as one of the worlds richest people (if not THE richest), but there are many examples of such people in the world today, who possess such astronomical wealth that it is beyond the scope of understanding for most common people in the west (nevermind common people in 3rd world countries).

So what do people with that sort of wealth do with their money? Lets take a look.

Exhibit B:

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud

Listed by forbes at #26 on the billionaires list, Prince Alwaleed has the bulk of his money invested in the hotel industry (to say nothing of the wealth he was born into). What does the good prince spend his money on?

a fleet of private jets with thrones.



Pictured above is the throne room in his personal 747, one of many jets the prince owns. One can only surmise that the bathrooms must be furnished with solid gold toilets. If you think the toilet linked above is simply a novelty item, think again. Celebrities, business magnates, and oligarchs are all known to furnish their houses with gold plated (or even solid gold) fixtures. These people think so highly of themselves, that they feel they must take a $*!# on gold plated toilets.

So where do these people live?

Exibit C:

Mukesh Ambani and his 1 billion dollar house.



No, that is not a business highrise renting out office space to various corporations. That is Mukesh Ambani's house.


The 570 foot tall monster of a “house” features a whopping 400,000 square feet of living space. It has 27 habitable floors, including six parking floors for capacity of up to 168 cars. Other features include numerous terraces, 9 elevators, a lobby, 50-seat home theater on the 8th floor, a ballroom with 80% of the ceiling covered in crystal chandeliers, ice room infused with artificial snow flurries, dance studio, three floors of hanging gardens, swimming pool, 3 helipads, air traffic control facility and the worlds largest collection of antique sewing machines. A staff of 600 maintain the home.


Why one person would need 400,000 square feet of living space and a personal staff of 600 people to maintain his home, is beyond me. One can only guess at what drives people who have so much money that they seem to have gone completely mad.

When we compare this extravagance with the squalor that most of the worlds population lives in, can we really continue to make excuses for unfettered capitalism? I'm all for people having the ability to live wealthy lifestyles and to generate wealth for themselves and their families. But at what point does this become a morbidly obscene portrayal of wealth obesity? Can proponents of completely unregulated free market economics really excuse such disparity between the few elites (and their ridiculous lifestyles) and the unwashed masses?



As always ATS, you decide.
edit on 21-10-2013 by DeadSeraph because: (no reason given)




posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 07:38 PM
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Lifestyles of the rich and famous. I recall the TV show of that name. Had a British host to give it an aristocratic sound, it gave tours of rich folks homes so that Americans could oooh and awww as they drooled all over themselves believing that if they only worked a little harder or came up with the right scheme they to could rise to this level of luxury. Ahh, the American Dream.

The Shock Doctrine. I grabbed it right off the first edition presses. At the time it was for me, far above everything out at the time.



posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 07:39 PM
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DeadSeraph
Why one person would need 400,000 square feet of living space and a personal staff of 600 people to maintain his home, is beyond me. One can only guess at what drives people who have so much money that they seem to have gone completely mad.


I would posit that they seek to fill a void within themselves with things external to them, but it is never enough. Whatever temporary fulfillment the material manifestation of their "wealth" may take, they are still not filling the void within. No matter how much they have, its just not satisfying, but they either dont consciously realize that having more and more external things can never fill an internal void, or they know it, but refuse to acknowledge it and are in a sort of denial.

If you are whole on the inside, you dont seek to attain material things on the outside in such massive abundance.

As always, the external is a manifestation of the internal.

edit on 10/21/2013 by CaticusMaximus because: (no reason given)


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posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 07:40 PM
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Unless someone is financing a moon base, or footing the bill for going to Mars, I'm fairly certain any and all the Billionaires of the world could possibly scrape by, just barely, on maybe a Billion each.

A Billion isn't so bad now is it? Sure, they'll suffer the inconvenience of not having, erm, something that you can't buy with just a slender pocket full of only a Billion $ (oh the indignity), but, hey, what's life without a bit of character building sacrifice eh?

What do with all that left-over pile of cash? I dunno. Moon Base?



edit on 10/21/2013 by AliceBleachWhite because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 07:43 PM
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reply to post by DeadSeraph
 


Thanks for the OP. It made me think. I hope I can get it into words.

The folks taking advantage of no-rules money juggling are of the same cloth as those who would benefit from no-rules societies.

What do I mean? Most people, rules or no rules, will do the right thing most of the time. It's almost built in as a survival technique. Most people, even if they would not get caught, would not go out, rob a 7-11, shoot the attendant, and rape the old lady with a Slurpee. A few will though. Heck, they already do it with laws, jails, police, etc.

When it comes to the arena of Wall Street, big money, banking, etc, the same holds. Those same few with a criminal bent will do what they do. No rules? All the better. Jails are for poor people anyway. Let's make this happen politicians, shall we?

The rules and laws are in place to serve as some sort of deterrent. It keeps those sociopaths at bay to a degree. I do not agree with a wild wild west wall street. That is of course unless the sociopaths are ready to accept wild wild west mob justice.


+10 more 
posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 07:43 PM
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Well none of this is news..but it is incredible how the majority of people simply ignore or dont even see reality, even when it's right in their face. For instance..Oprah is a great example.
Some years ago I heard she owned atleast 10 mansions all over the states, all of which lay empty most of the time obviously, as you can only live in one house at a time anyhow...but not just that she chartered and flew her dogs on a private jet to Hawaii, the dogs being the only passangers.
Much had been made of her charitable works...uh..like building a single school in Africa. Well lets just roughtly calculate how much one school in Africa would cost? probably less than $10000 if even that much. yet this one act of so called charity was repeated time and time again by Oprah on her own show...as if she was some kind of saint...
St Bono is another great example...extremily wealthy and yet all his high profile charity efforts never include him donating any of his vast wealth..nope..all he does is preach for everyone else to donate...whilst keeping his immense pile of cash all to himself...You could write a very long thread on that guy..I would use another word for him but Ill keep it civil.
Yet these people are still supported by the masses as idols to look up to. I have wasted my time and energy on many message boards trying to wake people up who support these greedy, amoral, hypocrites..but people are really that dumb...Afterall we still have a Royal family in the UK who amass billions in wealth and yet people still support them "oh look at the new Royal baby"...because people really are that dumb.
Then there is the argument that you cant put a cap on peoples wealth as it would hurt capitalism..but the only people who argue this are already the mega wealthy..who evidently will never have enough.
And no I dont get it..amassing billions to me is pointless..and not just piontless but counter productive.
If the few have all the assets, then the masses will end up hating the few and taking those assets by force..."let them eat cake" ring any bells. But for only one reason can the ultra wealthy continue to get away with it..the propoghanda machine that they own..its called the mass media.
The only good reason to amass great wealth would be to redistribute that wealth amongst society through projects you personally believe will improve society...like hospitals, medical research, education, housing..yet the mega wealthy like Oprah build one school..in Africa..and try to appear that they are good people. What a joke.
edit on 21-10-2013 by TheBlackHat because: (no reason given)


+14 more 
posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 07:48 PM
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A free market allows small businesses to prosper, which they haven't in the west for at least 50 years. So no, no free market here.

It takes a ridiculous amount of capital just to run a business today, and most of the profit is in loopholes and tax write offs, which is done by executive accountants and financial advisors, private banking, etc.



posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 07:56 PM
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DeadSeraph
As always ATS, you decide


What precisely are we to decide?

I don't recall reading anything in your OP that involved a decision we can make other than opining about your presentation.

Are you suggesting an action? What action?
edit on 21-10-2013 by bozzchem because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 08:03 PM
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One more thing...Ive not read the book the OP mentioned..as I am not a book reader...that may be a bad thing or a good thing, as i come to my own conclusions by myself.
Yes, media icons are presented to us all, especially celebrities, in respect that we could do that, we could get there. We too could live the dream...But I always knew it was BS. The chosen few are selected, you can clearly see it, because the chosen few get no end of air time on tv or press coverage..and for what reason exactly? One of the most obvious is David Beckham...what exactly is it about this one guy that warrants endless press promotion? and it is promotion. its not as though he is a continual source of actual news. Nope, but what he represents is a guy who came from humble beginings and is now a superstar..ex footballer (who was never anywhere near as great as the media made him out to be anyway) and then there is his wife..lets not even start on her...the pair of them are a propoghanda tool, used to fool the average joe and jane that they too can achieve some kind of celebrity greatness..there fore their lives are not a complete futile waste in terms of servitude.
And it all culminates in shows like X factor...the hordes of wanabees who want to escape the ordinary life and becaome famous with an average voice..or the few who actually are talanted ones who usually get tossed aside too. Because even for the exceptional talents of the world, there simply isnt enough room at the top to support them all. And I am not maths genius, but even I could figure out that there is a finite limit on how many people can be wealthy..there has to be a huge number in dire poverty for a few to live the high life at the top..it is basic economics, yet it is lied about repeatedly.
This is why it is not in the interest of the ones at the top for Africa or the rest of the third world to ever be anything other than a basket case riddled with corruption and dire poverty. If large swathes of humanity ever managed to get decent living standards it would decrease the wealth and power for those at the top.
The fact Bono and the likes continue to support "charity" in Africa proves my point..Charity is BAD for Africa, it helps to keep Africa down. Throwing people grains or frice (usually monsanto at that) does not change the senario, it just keeps the same old 5hi7 going on and on. If Bono and Oprah actually wanted to change Africa they would invest in it wholesale..and I mean with atleast 2/3 of their wealth..this might actually start a real chain reaction in the world where others would follow suit...but no...lets keep throwing those grains of rice..charity is the curse of the thrid world and its being purpotrated by the most vile people, wolves in sheeps clothing.
You cannot possible amass billions and be a good humanbeing..the two things are completley incompatible.,
edit on 21-10-2013 by TheBlackHat because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 08:05 PM
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edit on 21-10-2013 by Count Chocula because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 08:18 PM
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This is much more than rich people enjoying their riches, this is about people Exalting themselves.
edit on 21-10-2013 by Visitor2012 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 08:25 PM
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This is also one of the biggest misconseptions in western bellief systems..Satanism is the worship of worldy things. Things of the earth. Rich men going to heven = camels going through the eyes of needles. if you worship money, that is your God. You cannot have a foot in two paths and go in two opposite directions at the same time.
Now i dont have such a problem with the rich who keep their mouths shut or freelty admit to being selfish and greedy...its the ones who portray themselves to be the opposie of what they are, that truly irritate me.
Thats why Oprah, Bono, Bill Gates and all the rest are full of 5hi7. You cannot live so far above society and be a charitable person. The two things are incompatible. By defentiion an idol, is seen as above the average person, and also by judao/Christian belifs your not supposed to worship idols. So in turn we as a people should not be worshipping these false idols nor should we be supporting their wealth by buying into their BS. And you dont need to be a Christian to see sense when it comes to hypocrites.

edit on 21-10-2013 by TheBlackHat because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 08:30 PM
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reply to post by DeadSeraph
 


Insightful commentary highlighting the equation of supply and demand

Income Inequality Is the Enemy of Economic Growth: Robert Reich



posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 08:44 PM
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reply to post by DeadSeraph
 


So you believe then in the Keynsian theory of economics that supports endless government interventions and inflation? You do realize that none of the monopolies you have cited would be considered true laissez faire capitalism but rather crony capitalism that is really is the hallmark of pathetic lefiist administration, like the one we have now in America.

If you favor market competition and small businesses you always aggressively break up large monopolies. That's the "bust the trust" idea behind the greatness of Teddy Roosevelt.

Finally if you think that governments act more efficiently than free markets, you must have ignored the last century of history. Instead we are now seeing the end game of statism, total bankruptcy and economic collapse, with the ultra rich, socialists, who engineered the collapse, holding all the hard assets.

Apparently that is the system the author of this book advocates, because that's where this leftist thinking ends up as it always has in the past. Rather than a diffuse body of self serving capitalists; you replace it with a small, evil oligarchy, who desire, not just wealth and power, but to enslave everyone and make themselves gods.

Leftists never seem to understand our basic situation. We are sinners and we are flawed. Any attempt to create a utopia on earth will end up as totalitarian nightmare with millions dead. If you could visit hell and talk to chairmen Mao, he would tell you how it works.


+1 more 
posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 08:55 PM
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SevenThunders
reply to post by DeadSeraph
 


pathetic lefiist administration, like the one we have now in America.

Rather than a diffuse body of self serving capitalists; you replace it with a small, evil oligarchy, who desire, not just wealth and power, but to enslave everyone and make themselves gods.

Leftists never seem to understand our basic situation. We are sinners and we are flawed. Any attempt to create a utopia on earth will end up as totalitarian nightmare with millions dead. If you could visit hell and talk to chairmen Mao, he would tell you how it works.


This is an observation and not an insult...but I notice your avatar is that of a born again Christian. and I find it very odd that someone who spiritually believes in Jesus. A man who according to the Bible would be about the most left wing person in history. A man who kicked out the money changers from the temple...gave free food to the 5000..and ultimatley sacrificed himself for the greater good. All these traits mark a SOCIALIST. I find it one of lifes biggest ironies that only in America can you find right wing Christians. Maybe you ought to re-read the Bible. I get God being a right winger, turning people to salt and numerous other atrocities :
Exodus:12:29-30 At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.
...but not Christ...he was the original hippy.

Also you seem to have a conflicting viewpoint...if we are sinners then dont we deserve punishment, by your own standars..sinners would deserve punishment..right? Yet you also state that you are fully against any attempt at eutopia as it would be hell on earth..well shouldnt you in fact be pushing for hell on earth if you think we are all sinners?

Stand by your convictions right wing Christian sinner...otherwise people will think your full of BS.
edit on 21-10-2013 by TheBlackHat because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 09:10 PM
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bozzchem

DeadSeraph
As always ATS, you decide


What precisely are we to decide?

I don't recall reading anything in your OP that involved a decision we can make other than opining about your presentation.

Are you suggesting an action? What action?
edit on 21-10-2013 by bozzchem because: (no reason given)


The question being asked is how proponents of a hands off approach to economics can defend their positions when such wealth disparity is so plainly evident. Clearly, the trickle down effect is not working the way free market proponents suggest it does. Further to that, I would suggest that we need to ask serious questions about how we've been indoctrinated to embrace this system, that it is somehow the only viable system to generate wealth. It's certainly generating large amounts of capital, but those resources are concentrated in the hands of a very small minority of people.

I'm certainly not a communist and there is enough evidence that we shouldn't consider communism as a viable alternative, but obviously unchecked capitalism is creating vast chasms between the rich and the poor that will eventually cause the entire system to collapse. The only people capable of averting such disaster will be those who have all the money in the first place.

So what am I suggesting as an action? That we learn about disaster capitalism (read klein's book for starters), that we learn to identify it and pre-empt it, that we educate ourselves, and that we de-program ourselves when it comes to the idea of freedom. We've been told our entire lives that unfettered capitalism and freedom go hand in hand and that you can't have one without the other. It's time we question that ideology and attempt to think of new economic models that still allow for competition and self determination while doing a better job of dispersing the wealth we generate.



posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 09:15 PM
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SevenThunders
reply to post by DeadSeraph
 


So you believe then in the Keynsian theory of economics that supports endless government interventions and inflation? You do realize that none of the monopolies you have cited would be considered true laissez faire capitalism but rather crony capitalism that is really is the hallmark of pathetic lefiist administration, like the one we have now in America.

If you favor market competition and small businesses you always aggressively break up large monopolies. That's the "bust the trust" idea behind the greatness of Teddy Roosevelt.

Finally if you think that governments act more efficiently than free markets, you must have ignored the last century of history. Instead we are now seeing the end game of statism, total bankruptcy and economic collapse, with the ultra rich, socialists, who engineered the collapse, holding all the hard assets.

Apparently that is the system the author of this book advocates, because that's where this leftist thinking ends up as it always has in the past. Rather than a diffuse body of self serving capitalists; you replace it with a small, evil oligarchy, who desire, not just wealth and power, but to enslave everyone and make themselves gods.

Leftists never seem to understand our basic situation. We are sinners and we are flawed. Any attempt to create a utopia on earth will end up as totalitarian nightmare with millions dead. If you could visit hell and talk to chairmen Mao, he would tell you how it works.


How can you break up large monopolies without government oversight? The problem in your hands off approach is that it is ripe for abuse by those who possess the resources to abuse it. History has proven this time after time.

I'm not in favor of some sort of communist level government oversight and I am fully aware of the benefits of free market economics. The problem is that at some point, the wealthy develop a stranglehold on the markets, and small businesses are unable to compete. What is the solution to this in your opinion?



posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 09:21 PM
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reply to post by DeadSeraph
 


I see nothing wrong with socialism..well the Marxist version. Communism was more about the state controlling individual freedoms and hense it got a bad press...obviously...but socialism, there was never anything wrong with it in theroy. Socialsm pretty much got hijacked by Communist dictators and something that could have been posotive was tarred with a sh17 stick, guilty by association with Communism.
So in the states socialism is an evil word...whenever most people who belive that are christians...hilarious.
The baby got threw out with the bathwater when it came to Communism and Socialism. And I am sure this was done delibretly..as in the USA there has never been an honest debate about sosialism and how it is not Communism in actual fact. The truth being it has never been in the mega riches interest to have an open and honest debate on a system that would abloish their wealth and power.
edit on 21-10-2013 by TheBlackHat because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 09:25 PM
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reply to post by DeadSeraph
 


this is #ing sick.



posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 09:30 PM
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Those with massive wealth are not nearly as sinister as those who think they have a right to dictate how much someone should have.

Eventually you will start dictating what people can eat, how they can dress, and how they should live.

No thanks!





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