How unlike the home life of our own dear plutos!
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s Chateau Lafitte party in Beijing should have seen China’s billionaires playing at philanthropy in a 12-step programme of conscience-salving when we would have all been better-off had everyone paid proper taxes in the first place. Some might even venture to ask how anyone — not just Chinese people in a ‘communist’ state — gets to suck up so much money in the first place.
The Guardian sniffs that China’s rich don’t want to play the game as several were washing their hair last night when they should have been paying obeisance at the Gates altar. Never mind that: as some sniped back, in America giving to charidee is a way to get out of paying taxes.
Upholding die alte scheisse for dear life, the Guardian gives this pertinent observation its own spin:
“Defensive tycoons retort that giving should be a private choice and dismiss American philanthropy as little more than a tax-dodge.”
I like that “defensive”.
It seems the liberals’ solution to our economic woes is for business people to amass personal fortunes and hand it out according to whim. So you get, f’rinstance, a situation where Philip Green (Top Shop, Debenhams, Kate Moss) is able to write himself a cheque for a billion quid, pay no tax (because his missus lives in Monaco), chuck a few crumbs at good causes and find himself invited into Cameron’s swag team where he can advise on cuts for the rest of us.
Both the Guardian and the BBC cite favourably the example of Chen Guangbiao, the 42-year-old recycling magnate who is happy to see his brother and sister working for less than three hundred bucks a month as a dishwasher and security guard because they were useless with some dosh he once gave them. Chen attended the party and is angry that many of his fellow squillionares failed to show. He says, “This makes me so mad. How did we get so rich? We’ve had favourable economic policies and China’s working class helped us get there. I think we need to repay society,”
His own mother suckled starving neighbours’ kids and two of his siblings died of starvation, but he is now the model for how the planet’s resources should be hoovered up by the new super-rich to do with what they want. He says he’ll be leaving the lot to charity when he dies. How noble and self-sacrificing! All he’s done is trash the notion of family as the repository of hereditary wealth which, under Gates’s new rules, gets passed on to non-democratic organisations to dispose of after they’ve paid for nice offices, wages, etc. (See Bono’s charitable enterprise.)
I always liked that analogy of trickle-down as being the sparrows gathered as the horse’s rear end, waiting to pick remaining undigested grain from its droppings: die alte scheisse, indeed.
But on a happier note … rejoice! For now, with China one of the major beneficiaries of the Iraq war (well done, Dubya and Tone), the Sino-Russo oil pipeline is now open for biz. So the West can just f-f-f-fade away.
Anna’s food blog here: