Random facts … the embarrassment of riches

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By David Martin —

The classic line from the movie “Jaws” has become a clarion call for the world’s superrich: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

More megayachts are being built now than ever before. Last year, 887 superyachts were sold, doubling the number sold in 2020. These floating palaces cost up to a billion dollars … “the most expensive item that our species has figured out how to own,” according to a New Yorker article. Americans buy most of the big boats, followed by Russians and people from Asian countries.

The world has 5,400 superyachts (longer than 98 feet), 100 gigayachts (longer than 295 feet), and 10 million children (under the age of 5) on the brink of starvation.

Because vessels carrying more than 12 passengers must meet stringent maritime regulations, most of the world’s superyachts accommodate fewer than a dozen guests. The regulations don’t limit the size of crew, so those handful of passengers are served by 50 or more crew and staff. The rich elite are pampered with luxuries beyond anything an absolute monarch could have imagined:

• Heated swimming pool, of course. On one yacht, the pool was mounted on gyroscopes so the water in the pool wouldn’t slosh with movement of the boat. You can also get your pool table on gyroscopes, $300,000.

• Helicopter, yes — use it to commute but also to run pick up bagels and champagne. Gotta have our bagels from Zabar’s, what are we, barbarians?

• Submarine and submarine port in the bowels of the ship, natch.

• Million-dollar art on the walls, yes. In fact, the most expensive painting ever sold ($450 million) is hanging in a Saudi crown prince’s gigayacht.

• 350 million children worldwide live in extreme poverty (having less than $1.90 a day to live on) while in the U.S. 12 million children are in poverty.

Each day during the pandemic, a new billionaire was created worldwide. Now there are 2,668 billionaires holding $12.7 trillion. During the first year of the pandemic, a new billionaire was created each week in the U.S. Now we have 745 of them with assets of $5 trillion. For 25 cents a meal, a child can be rescued from starvation. Three million of the world’s kids die of starvation each year.

One of the craziest things offered to the yachting rich, according to the New Yorker, was the chance to have a fancy meal in a freestanding restaurant helicoptered to a sandbar in the ocean. After the meal, the restaurant is lifted away and the sandbar submerges. Back onboard, the richies might be served lobster cappuccino, sea bass with candied eggplant puree, carrot and white chocolate fondant with dark chocolate sorbet. FAB! A meal of rice, soy, and dried vegetables could prevent half of all children under 5 from dying of hunger … as they now do worldwide.

During the French Revolution, regarding the famine, poverty, and disenfranchisement of the poor, Jean- Jacques Rousseau was quoted as saying, “When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.” And now there’s a global movement, largely digital, based on resentment against the excesses of the superrich. It’s called: Eat the Rich.

Maybe, instead of “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” the superrich need to hear, “You’re gonna need a bigger heart.”

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