New Medicis

Don't put their money where your mouth is.

New Medicis

The rich are getting so rich, they're starting to look delicious.


One percent of the world, holding half its wealth. According to Forbes, there's a new billionaire made every 17 hours. Although - not all of them are lucky.

But post-pandemic, many of us aren't sure whether to admire them, or put them on the menu.

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Trouble is, we think about billionaires like we think about Big Macs. Indulgences we can ill afford; bad for us, bad for the planet, but still with a kind of vulgar glamour.

Hyped by the media, this discourse is flawed.

For a start, all eyes are on the highly-visible few: Musk shit-posting, Bezos launching a dick into space, all that Bill Gates 5G bullshit - when the vast majority go unseen, spending money wildly in the shadows.

Some of them are committed to great acts. Others - Koch Brothers spring to mind - plough dark money into guiding governments, selfish ends, and super yachts.

Now far be it for anyone to tell another how to spend their wealth; after all, if you're worried about the rich wasting cash, just wait til you meet the government.

But rather than hate the world's wealthy, I think it's time to inspire more from them.

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As someone who's spent my entire career in the private sector, I have greater empathy for those chasing money than those chasing power. Political ambitions are opaque to me, but the pursuit of wealth is something I can actually understand.

I live in a country where a prime minister hasn't lasted a full term since the launch of the iPhone; many developed nations are really dead players, unable to do new things and just re-enacting the same old scripts.

It's true that our systems are clearly flawed to the point where resources are hogged by the few, but it's also clear that nature itself favours a power law distribution. Classic doublethink.

Where political leaders continue to fail us, and the aspiring rich can be vacuous and secretive, it's clear that to tackle the huge, existential challenges we face, the world needs attention from those who don't need the money. And that put us in the hands of Buddhist monks or billionaires - take your pick.

So perhaps instead of scolding inequity, we shine a light on those enabling positive change in the environment, technology, culture: those desiring to enact a grand and positive vision.

I'm optimistic about Bezos' ambitions for space, but hate that we got him there because of our desire for cheap shit delivered instantly. When instead of discounted books, he could have helped us build a million libraries.

Sure, put their names above the door, not their heads on a plate. Like the patrons of old, create cachet and fame around virtuous acts. Because as Alain de Boton put it, "Spending money well is no less a skill than making it".

It's time to demand more from the world's wealthy.

But we can't just tax the rich. We need New Medicis.

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