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The politics of being really, really rich

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Sure, there is nothing to suggest that this private funding came with strings attached, but in my eight long years as an auditor, not once did I ever come across an exchange of funds without strings attached. And further yet, there’s nothing to suggest that any conditions, if they exist, are contrary to the interest of the (as in the ANC’s case) 11.7 million people who voted for the party – except of course there is. If strings exist (and I am saying they do), they will almost always be contrary to the election manifesto/policies by which parties and politicians are elected to office, otherwise there would be no reason to make the private donation in the first place (at least not at the disproportionate levels we see being made currently) other than to subvert the said manifesto/policies.

So there it is. The super rich have most of the money and have used it to purchase significant political power, and thanks to globalisation, this applies to developed and developing country alike. The fate of the super rich, is well and truly set apart from that of everybody else, like an economic apartheid of sorts. What links us now is but a strand of common humanity and the fact that we occupying the same hunk of rock, third from the sun.

Is this then enough then to convince the super rich that social justice and equality are worthy pursuits?

When a yacht is not enough

In what was subsequently called a “meeting of colleagues”, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, George Soros, Oprah, Michael Bloomberg and other luminaries on Forbes 400 rich Americans list got together for dinner in May 2009 and decided to use their wealth to save the world. The organisers of the dinner, Gates and Buffet, gathered their peers with the express idea of convincing them to give away at least 50 percent of their wealth to charities during their lifetimes or at death. Some quick and dirty maths based on the 2010 Forbes top 10 rich list shows that if Gates and Buffett managed convince their contemporaries on the top 10 list to do as asked, $135.5 billion would make its way to charitable causes. This is almost half of the amount recorded for total private giving by Americans to charitable causes in 2009 – a number which no doubt included contributions from these very people.

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