Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gene Kerrigan wrote this in the Irish Independent on Sunday, July 29. (Croke Park is a sports stadium that seats 82,300.)

"Imagine a million dollars. Imagine it sitting on a seat in Croke Park. Imagine every seat in the stadium had a million dollars wrapped and stacked on it. Altogether, that would be upwards of $82bn. Now, imagine 12 Croke Parks, each seat similarly decorated with money. Now, you've got a trillion dollars.

Now multiply that by 21. We're looking at over 250 Croke Parks, each holding $82bn. Now, unless the batteries on my calculator are dodgy, we're looking at something approaching the amount of money hidden offshore by the super-rich in 2010.

The figure of $21trn is the conservative estimate (it could be up to $32trn) in a report published last week by the Tax Justice Network (TJN). The research for the report was done by the former chief economist of McKinsey, a consulting firm that's hired by major corporations and governments."

I didn't know this. Did you know this? There is plenty of money out there, isn't there? For things like malaria tents, clean water, low cost housing, FOOD!

What are these people who have hidden all this money made of? I think they are aliens. I admit, when I was a kid, I thought I might grow up to be Sister Saint Nonnie, but I became more realistic about the chances of that happening long before I discovered sex, alcohol, drugs and assorted behaviors that go along with the aforementioned. However, even if I abandoned my try for sainthood, I always shared my chocolate bars, metaphorically, with my friends.

My mother, and yours probably, used to tell us to eat our vegetables because there were starving children in China (or somewhere) that didn't have any. (Never mind the logic regarding the "how" of this Motherism-we all argued with Mom but had to eat our string beans anyway.) The point was that there were others, not just our best friends, who needed pieces of our chocolate bars. There were invisible others in the world who had less than we did and our mothers wanted us to think, or better, care about them.

In spite of my career choices, which have been sort of anti-wealth-accumulation (dancer, teacher, poet) I've earned enough to be taxed by the government and I've paid. On time, even. I figured that was how parts of life worked. I couldn't build a new school, but I could pay my property tax and so do my part. And so on and so on. I have also thought that , on the whole, most people have a heartstring that tugs the "fairness," principle that was lodged in their brains by assorted adults when they were very young. We feel a good firm yank, or the slightest possible tweak, but, if we're sane, we live somewhere in the land of people who try to have a "good conscience" in their behavior towards their fellows. We struggle with this, of course.

Damn. I keep saying "we." I've slowly, over a lifetime, been absorbing the truth that "we" is an idiotic pronoun to use when talking about values. Those guys with the 21 to 32 trillion in hidden accounts? They don't use that money to share, help, support, etc., etc. anyone.  They keep it for themselves. If you've already forgotten how much money is in these black money holes, re-read Gene Kerrigans's excellent imagery.

Dylan Thomas wrote,"I hold a beast, an angel and a madman in me, and my enquiry is as to their working, and my problem is their subjugation and victory, downthrow and upheaval, and my effort is their self-expression.” Thomas exhorted us to "Rage, rage against the dying of the light."  We need (there's that "we" again) to rage against these aliens, these super-rich, so that they cannot consume our light. They are bastards.

Link for Kerrigan article:



david coyote said...

These 1%ers should leave the planet - their consciences have already preseded them.

Maryanne Stahl said...

I'll never understand the shortsightedness of greed.