He purchased Danny DeVito’s mansion in Los Angeles for round $82 million, there’s a ski chalet in Aspen, the polo estancia in Argentina, and some years in the past he reportedly paid round $60 million for 2 residential flooring of the Crown Sydney constructing in Barangaroo.
We don’t record these glories from a place of envy. Who, actually, would wish to be that man, publicly confirming he’s stricken by bipolar dysfunction and that remedy has robbed him of his reminiscence?
We point out the residences and the gigayacht (a time period reserved for vessels that exceed 100 metres in size) as a method of juxtaposing one other fact confronted every day by hundreds of thousands of Packer’s fellow Australians.
Early this 12 months, we realized that one in six children in Australia was living in poverty. Many of those kids have been going hungry on daily basis.
The discovering, by the Australian Council of Social Providers, got here in February, earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic altogether upended all the pieces we thought we knew about our society. It’s potential particular funds by means of JobKeeper and JobSeeker have stored the wolf from many doorways within the interval since.
However JobKeeper is truly fizzling out and particular funds underneath JobSeeker appear prone to fall again to the parsimonious ranges of the previous Newstart on the finish of the 12 months.
It’s unimaginable to think about that the starvation of all these Australian kids will ease if, as feared, the present recession suggestions right into a melancholy subsequent 12 months and the protection web drops away.
However what does that need to do with the likes of James Packer? Hasn’t huge inequality bedeviled societies for nearly endlessly?
After all it has.
However these inhabiting the gigayachts and the mansions of at present are absolutely much more distant from the every day realities of bizarre folks’s lives than have been even Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, dizzied with riches and mirrors in Versailles.
Theirs, like most rulers of empires whose appetites for luxurious develop absurd, is a narrative that didn’t finish properly.
As we speak’s ranges of inequality have grown to staggering ranges in a really brief interval.
In 2009, the mixed wealth of the world’s richest 380 folks equalled the wealth of the underside 50 per cent of the planet’s inhabitants.
By 2018, in response to Oxfam, simply 26 billionaires owned as a lot as that backside half of humanity.
Final 12 months, the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report introduced us the information that the highest 1 per cent, measured as these with greater than $1 million, owned 44 per cent of the world’s wealth.
Simply 10 billionaires had extra money than many international locations, together with Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Turkey.
That, in fact, was 12 months in the past.
The one richest man on the planet now, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, virtually doubled his wealth to greater than $US205 billion ($287.four billion) in simply the primary 5 months of this 12 months’s pandemic, throughout which hundreds of thousands misplaced their jobs and tens of hundreds of thousands confronted eviction or going hungry.
Whereas we’re speaking starvation, right here’s one other statistic to chew on, on condition that Australia has lengthy been within the behavior of emulating American traits.
As Bezos and some Individuals like him grew so wealthy that their couldn’t be bodily counted, a couple of in 4 households with kids in the US have been experiencing meals insecurity, in response to analysis by The Hamilton Project, a number one financial coverage offshoot of the Brookings Establishment.
The proportion of Individuals with out sufficient meals was, in response to the venture, far in extra of that in the course of the Nice Melancholy. About 14 million kids within the richest nation the world has ever recognized have been recurrently going hungry.
At the exact same time, the influential right-wing TV community Fox Information was persevering with its relentless help for US President Donald Trump as, contaminated with the virus he has stated all alongside is nothing to fret about, he gasps his approach to an election after 4 years of dividing the nation he stated he’d make nice once more.
The CEO of Fox Company is Lachlan Murdoch, one-time One.Tel enterprise companion of James Packer. Not so way back, Murdoch rewarded himself with the costliest home ever bought in Los Angeles.
The home, Chartwell Mansion, sits excessive above town’s plenty. It has 11 bedrooms, 18 loos, a 12,000-bottle wine cellar, an unlimited swimming pool, a storage for 40 vehicles and 4 hectares of personal gardens. It reportedly price $US150 million ($210 million).
If it hadn’t featured prior to now within the credit of The Beverly Hillbillies TV sequence, you’d be tempted to consider Versailles.
Tony Wright is the affiliate editor and particular author for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.