[Marxism] The rich and the poor

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Mar 27 07:36:06 MST 2006

Prince Ahlwaleed bin Talal Alsaud has a 317-room (but who's counting?) 
palace in Riyadh that cost $130 million. Suppose you own five of these, and 
every 10 years you tear them all down and rebuild from scratch. Even if you 
add maintenance, air conditioning, and condo fees, you have to struggle to 
hit $100 million a year. Put one of them on your own private island. The 
most expensive island Forbes could find for sale was listed at $39.7 
million. But when they see you coming they're going to up that to $40 mil, 
aren't they? So what! Buy a new one every year. Fly there in your private 
plane. Forbes strangely doesn't say how much a private plane costs, but 
says you can charter a plane to the Bahamas for $40,000. So, leave all your 
houses and your island and do that every weekend. It adds up to under $2.1 
million. Check into a nice hotel. Use the minibar. Another million or so, 
depending on whether you go for the chips or the nuts.

full: http://www.slate.com/id/2138564/nav/tap1/


Consider a hypothetical single mother with two teen-age sons living in New 
Orleans' Ninth Ward, a neighborhood with poor schools, high rates of crime 
and unemployment, and few opportunities for social advancement. The mother 
works four days a week in a local supermarket, where she makes eight 
dollars an hour. Her sons do odd jobs, earning a few hundred dollars a 
month, which they have used to buy stereo equipment, a DVD player, and a 
Nintendo. The family lives in public housing, and it qualifies for food 
stamps and Medicaid. Under the Earned Income Tax Credit program, the mother 
would receive roughly four thousand dollars from the federal government 
each year. Compared with the destitute in Africa and Asia, this family is 
unimaginably rich. Compared with a poor American family of thirty years 
ago, it may be slightly better off. Compared with a typical two-income 
family in the suburbs, it is poor.

full: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060403fa_fact



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