New breeding ground of billionaires
Neil Ray | Published:
February 28, 2016 22:48:58
October 25, 2017 04:55:59
Beijing is the new world capital of billionaires. It replaces New York, the business and cultural city of the United States, which had reigned supreme before to be home to the largest number of world's richest people. Today the Chinese capital boasts exactly100 billionaires as its residents to the American city's 95. The Chinese capital alone has not replaced New York as the city of the most billionaires, the country also has gone top of the list of the largest number of billionaires with a total of 568 to the United States' 535.
Nothing could be more ironic than this proliferation of billionaires in a country known to have fought its poverty and hunger through a communist revolution under Mao Zedong's leadership. It is this country where 30 million people died on account of famine in the 60's of the last century. So this race for top slot of billionaires is certainly the most strangest of all tales. To go by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, the reason behind the famine was not want of food but lack of transport, inadequate railway network in particular.
This is, however, no indication that China at that time had any billionaire. Even the United States had its first confirmed US dollar billionaire in oil magnate John D. Rockefeller exactly 100 years ago. If poor communication infrastructure was largely to blame for the famine, the maldistribution of wealth was certainly not as stark as it is now. The expansion of China's financial muscle is now amply manifest in so many areas to the point that it is building a military base on an artificially built island in the South China Sea.
Equality of man and equitable share of wealth for all have remained illusory for people the world over. Other studies published in recent times have also shown how the number of the superrich has been on the increase. The increase in their number only proves that wealth is getting increasingly concentrated in fewer hands depriving more and more people of their minimum basic needs.
The disintegration of the Soviet Union and Chinese option for the so-called liberal economic policy have in fact sounded the death knell for the proletariat interest, once a buzz word in many countries aspiring to follow the ideals and principles in the socialist lands.
Is the world heading for any fresh revolution? When denied of the condition to live a decent life, people are sure to revolt against the deprivation. It happens in centuries when such people have their back against the wall. A crisis of such magnitude cannot be imagined beforehand. But it takes place slowly but surely. The present human civilisation owes a lot to the communist revolution. It prompted industrially rich societies to concede to a wide range of demands of the working class. Even a number of facilities were granted without being asked for.
Now the market economy has been smarter to keep employees largely satisfied. But then those outside of the pale of formal and informal job markets, are growing the world over with increased automation of industries and services. This has, on the one hand exerted extra pressure on Nature and its ecology and denied many people of their livelihoods, on the other. There is indeed a need for striking a balance between automation and exploitation of resources in order to keep the planet in sound health. Billionaires need to rein in their avarice for wealth.