Friday 24 November 2017

James Bloodworth: It's hard to be charitable when the filthy rich are generous with the money they should pay in taxes

U2 perform in Minneapolis in the US
U2 perform in Minneapolis in the US

THE benefits of being rich are numerous, and probably don’t need a great deal of explanation from me. The ability to travel the world at the drop of a hat is, I imagine, one of the many advantages great wealth brings, as is the possibility of doing away with a number of the banal inconveniences that plague everyday life. Not having to get out of bed at the crack of dawn for work has its appeal, as does eating the best food and never having to cook any of the damn stuff.

Just as important as jet-setting and attending “exclusive” parties these days, however, is the obligatory portfolio of charity work that comes with being incredibly wealthy. One is far more likely to turn on the television today and hear a member of the global elite talking about a project for clean water in Africa than about their recent purchase of a mock-Tudor mansion in Hertfordshire. And rarely does a week go by without the appearance of a member of the super-rich in a distressed part of the world with their shirt sleeves rolled up – if not actually trying to save the world, then usually throwing a great deal of money at a small proportion of it.

There is no doubt of course that some of those fortunate enough to be wealthy are genuinely concerned with the plight of the poor. Just as there are conservatives with nothing to be conservative about, so there are aristocrats, “entrepreneurs” and those that are simply swimming in cash who do have a well-developed and genuine social conscience.

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