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Life and Other Four Letter Words: R I C H

Here’s an ethics question: Imagine there’s a button that you can push and when you do you get a million dollars BUT someone you don’t know, a total stranger, drops dead… Question - do you push the button? Yawn. Too easy. The real question is: What’s the best way of treating repetitive strain injury in ones button-pushing finger?
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Oliver Green is a modern life burnout/angeraholic living in Bali, Indonesia and writing about life instead of making things worse by having one.


When I was a kid I used to watch the WWF. There was a wrestler named Ted Debiase The Million Dollar Man – he was nobody’s favorite wrestler. His gimmick was being a millionaire type in a sleeveless tuxedo. His sidekick was black guy who he presumably owned which, looking back at it now, was some sort of spooky predictive view of the current American political situation. After he choked a mulleted working class nobody into unconsciousness - he would pull some middle-class stiff from the assembled swill and offer him or her some money to lick his sweaty foot. The audience member would protest at first but after another $10, $20, $30 was put on the pile they would renege, drop to their knees and lick – smiling the whole time. Ted would then look around the crowd and say “Everybody has a price.”

Here’s an ethics question: Imagine there’s a button that you can push and when you do you get a million dollars BUT someone you don’t know, a total stranger, drops dead… Question - do you push the button? Yawn. Too easy. The real question is: What’s the best way of treating repetitive strain injury in ones button-pushing finger?

Most of us would do what ever it took to be one of the rich. We dream about it. We talk about it. We walk past the handbag stores and the restaurants with the tiny food and see the rich inside. Our noses pressed so hard against the widow from the inside it must look like a car accident where the airbag failed to deploy.

These days the world is broken up into four demographics.

Hundredaires – Money is food and fuel.

Thousandaires. Money is debt.

Millionaires. Money is time.

Billionaires. Money is power.

If you’re a Thousandaire, congrats. The fact that you have a house (you bought with a 90% mortgage and are one missed payment away from handing to the bank and moving in to your parent’s… station wagon) and the fact that your kids (probably named Taylor and Jordan because you think they sound like rich names) have some food in their bellies and wear ‘outfits’ to school (made by nimble little fingers of other children) means that you are considered by the UN as ‘rich’ and compared to billions of other human beings on the planet, wringing out drinking water from camel dung and eating grass soup for dinner, you are – but we both know you aren’t. You’re the guy in the Hyundai, happy because he’s got the 9th stamp on his Starbucks card and his favorite sporting team is playing that night. He’s on the way to do a deal whereby a new building development buys 120 air-conditioning units from his company and he stands to make an extra 458.98 in bonuses this month… And then a $200,000 super car blows by him on the freeway and the air-con guy with the full loyalty card feels shitty about himself and slightly sorry for his own wife. We’re not rich-rich.

Not magic rich. Rich to the point you no longer carry money. So rich you point at things and the things rise and float to your grasp or are killed or they lay back on a bed and slip the point of a 6 inch high heel up their rectum while you stroke a lazy erection. So rich that you become a deity and see the rest of us as chimpanzees and can only empathize with us as pets or resources (at best).  Where the people around you are either totally silent or supremely scintillating – no one talks to you about the weather or their stupid feelings. You never hear about anything that doesn’t directly interest you or benefit you. Where you can have and do whatever you want to whomever you see whenever you like. That rich. And there are people out there like that. It’s ‘them’ and ‘us’. Them (the 1%) own the things that we (the 99%) think are ours. Them own our opinions and our facts. Them own our homes. Them own our information. Them own our time. Them own our health.

The 99% are angry at the 1% for having 99% of all the money and 100% of the 1% give 0% of a fuck. We hate the rich and the rich couldn’t care less. Usually when the 1% care this little about something, raising their kids for example, they pay someone poor to do that caring for them but in this case they haven’t even bothered to do that. They couldn’t muster a fuck to give. They don’t care that you held up little placards covered with scrawls of crayon and sat on the steps of their temples or blogged about it on ‘your’ Internet. They don’t care that we blame them for ‘this mess we’re in’ they are too busy being nasty little murder-addicted-rape-apes, eating endangered species and harvested pituitary glands of street children, divorcing women as a sport and wearing red chinos. Red chinos! The horror! Besides they probably can’t hear us over their chopper blades – and who do you think you bought the crayons and placard paper from in the first place?

It used to be at this point there’d be a nice cleansing revolution but we are at a point now where there will be no revolution. That used to be our only defense – the threat of uprising. That we would storm their castles and keep coming and coming until they ran out of bullets and we could scythe off their perfumed heads, drink their cognac and hang their testicles from the mirrors of our pick-up trucks. However, we won’t revolt. If we revolt we lose the chance of harvesting their crumbs. We’ve been sold the trickle down dream. Keep them up there and the wealth will trickle down to us. The fact is the only people to experience the trickle down effect are the failed models Oligarchs piss on in return for Tiffany necklaces.

These days there are three main ways to get rich.

  1. Win the vagina Lottery and come out of a cunt of a cunt.

  2. Force desperate poor people to make something for cheap and sell it to empty middleclass people for a lot.

  3. Fuck someone one out of their share.

And it seems more and more it’s last one on that list that is most popular path to wealth. Honore’ De Balzac once said “Behind every great fortune is a great crime.” But apparently this batch of crooks will go unpunished. The rich-rich will stay insulated and never have to answer questions. They don’t play by the rules – not our rules anyway. The disparity between the rich and poor is not soley the abilty to buy things and educate their offspring – it’s the social topography. So I say - fuck the rich – they can fucking have each other like the criminally insane. We see fit to put our criminally insane into places that house only them. Why not the rich?

Let them become another species and enjoy wealth-fuelled apartheid. I say give them part of the world as their own – they can name it NEW EARTH and lock the gates. Let it be in the sun soaked Arab lands with the Arab folks cos - “Aint no party like a rich Arab party cos a rich Arab party has bizarre construction projects made by slaaaaaves!” They’ve already built an archipelago that, from space, looks like a map of the world – maybe they can build a bigger series of islands of the world with a map of the world built into that map of the world and live within the world on the world on the world. That seems wasteful and crazy enough.

Then they can rule over us from behind the walls and own everything but… BUT. Close your eyes. When I say “rich person” who do you picture? A fat white nerd, right? Well that’s bang on. NEW EARTH will be inhabited by nothing but nerds and dorks in loafers and sweaters that are only ever tied around necks. Rich people are terrible artists. They are awful musicians. They tell dire jokes and wear bland clothes. Their world will be for them alone and this will be our payback.

BUT we have to be disciplined. Zero interaction with them. None of us can give them our music, our art, our comedy. No struggle fuelled culture can enter NEW EARTH. Their kids may not get high with us. They may not wear our fashion. And then at least when the world outside NEW EARTH finally runs out of resources and goes down in a screaming apocalyptic heap we’ll go singing, dancing and painting and being more human than those behind the walls. And then in the wreckage when my kids ask me, “Daddy what was money? I’ll tell them, “It was pieces of paper that kept us sad and controlled… Now finish eating your sister before she gets cold.”