I’m becoming sort of obsessed with inequality!
It’s the money thing.
An ordinary working ‘Joe Blow’ or ‘Josie Blow’ spends most – or all - of their income on the necessities of life – week after week. They pay their share of taxes and accept that that is the way society works.
Their more wealthy counterparts usually only spend a portion of their weekly earnings, as they are able to save some of it, even after buying more luxurious goods that our Joe and Josie cannot afford, but that’s okay. They pay their taxes as well.
Nowadays there are over a million millionaires in Australia, so being a millionaire is not uncommon. And we hope that they all spend well and also pay their taxes.
Then we have the VERY, VERY, EXTREMELY wealthy – the billionaires.
There are a few.
According to, Forbes Billionaires List as of March 2019, (in $US), there are 2153 billionaires in the world.
Let’s think about it. Read this slowly…
If you had a billion dollars (that’s ONE billion dollars) and you had to spend it all on ‘ordinary things’ and not buy such a thing as a holiday island, you would have to spend $5000 a day for 500 years before you ran out of money. And, that’s just ONE billion.
It is very hard to even imagine.
Graeme Norton, who is NOT a billionaire, had this to say,(UK, 2017):
“You see people who are worth a billion and they’re still doing tax dodges and you think how can you be bothered?
These people who go to incredible lengths to dodge tax would be just as rich if they paid the tax - and would be living in a much nicer country.
One where people were looked after, where crime was less, where housing was better and people were better educated.
So the money you’ve saved on tax, you’re probably having to use to pay for barbed wire around your property. It seems totally wrong-headed.”
Here’s a list of Australia's 10 richest and how much they have:
Gina Rinehart, $21b, Australian mining magnate and heiress. (Said to be the world’s richest woman).
Harry Triguboff, $9.2b, Chinese-born Australian billionaire real estate developer.
Vivek Chaand Sehgal, $6b, Indian-born Australian billionaire businessman.
Frank Lowy, $5.9b, Australian-Israeli businessman. Chairman of
Anthony Pratt, $5.5b, Executive Chairman of Visy Industries and Pratt Industries in America.
Andrew Forrest, $4.4b, former CEO (and current non-executive chairman) of Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), with interests in the mining industry and cattle stations.
John Gandel, $4.1b, Australian businessman, property developer and philanthropist, made his fortune in the development of commercial real estate.
James Packer, $4.1b, Australian billionaire businessman and investor.
Mike Cannon-Brookes, $3.4b, the co-founder and co-CEO of the software company Atlassian.
& Scott Farquhar $3.4b, co-founder and co-CEO of the software company Atlassian.
Lindsay Fox, $3.4b, founded the Australian logistics company Linfox., Australia's largest privately held logistics company.
THINK WHAT COULD BE DONE WITH ALL THOSE BILLIONS, MUCH OF WHICH ‘SITS AROUND’, DOING NOTHING. NOT MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE (AS IT COULD DO) BUT MOSTLY JUST ACCUMULATING.
I’m not accusing any of the above billionaires, but it is interesting to note that, there were 732 companies (many overseas based) who paid no tax in Australia in the 2015-16 financial year. Collectively, their income was more than $500 billion.
And of 321 companies on the list of Australian-owned private companies with an income of over $200m, 98 paid no tax.
What a massive difference it would make to the country if we had no tax avoidance!
I feel I must repeat something I have quoted before, but it’s an important explanation to help us understand the hugeness of BILLIONS of $$$$ and the astounding awfulness of inequality.
From the book, “Battlers & Billionaires, The story of inequality in Australia”, written by Dr Andrew Leigh (an Australian politician and former professor of economics at the Australian National University).
READ THIS S-L-O-W-L-Y…..
‘…imagine a ladder on which each rung represents a million dollars of wealth. Now imagine Australian population spread out along this ladder, with distance from the ground reflecting household wealth.
On this ladder, most of us are just a few centimetres off the ground. Half of all households are closer to the ground than they are to the first rung. The typical Australian household has a wealth of about half a million dollars, placing it halfway to the first rung. A household in the top 10 percent is one and a half rungs up, at about knee height.
A household in the top 1 percent is five rungs up, about neck level.
The mining billionaire Gina Rinehart is nearly ten kilometres off the ground’
Something to mull over?
Did you know that one billion* = 1,000,000,000. It is the number that follows 999,999,999 .
(ONE Trillion is a THOUSAND times that!)
*Incidentally, it is now accepted that a billion is a thousand million.
In British & Australian speak, a billion USED to be a million million. We might one day have to revert to the old version to describe the amount of money our richest people have, because we will run out of $$ vocabulary.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.