I ran across an amusing definition of a tax haven the other day:
We won’t steal your money, but we won’t make a fuss if you steal other people’s. (“A Tale of Two Londons” by Nicholas Shaxson, Vanity Fair, 4/13, pg. 105)
The quote made me think about the degree to which people will sell their souls for wealth and the hidden cost of doing so. For example, at the moment, the fabulously rich are competing to buy apartments in Kensington, London, paying up to $214 million dollars for an address considered fashionable. (Ibid pg. 102) The extravagance strikes me as an idiocy, a vanity or evidence of insanity as all living quarters look the same when one is asleep.
Ironically those who can afford a $24 million apartment must build an network of security systems — armed guards, gated communities, surveillance cameras, finger print entry electronics and panic rooms — in order to feel secure. Their $24 million dollar investment becomes a gilded cage from which the self-indulgent peer out into the world, their only freedom being to spend money.
Many of the super rich go to great lengths to secure their anonymity. A low profile makes them feel less targeted by the envious. And so they live with bathroom fixtures of solid gold which few will ever see. Of course, if they used the money paid for those fixtures to build a school in the Congo or a hospital in Somalia, they could come out of their cages and receive the gratitude of those whom they’ve helped.
(Courtesy of www.trendir.com)