May 07, 2014 | Graham

Equality and billionaires bumping bellies on Bondi

Thomas Piketty and Capital in the 21st Century is just le dernier in what is likely to be a long list of writers telling us we have a problem with inequality in our society. And maybe they do in France but I’m pretty sure that isn’t the case in Australia.

Sure, there is a disparity between what the poorest and richest have, but equality shouldn’t be measured in terms of wealth.

Equality should be measured in terms of whether it can be bridged by individuals in their lifetime, and whether it matters socially.

On both those counts, in Australia it is abundantly possible to make not just a very good living, but a fortune in your own lifetime, without regard to your background, and even people of quite modest means can mix easily with the “one percent” if they choose to, and, at least in my experience, be accepted for who they are.

Nothing brings this home to me more than the image of a big-gutted billionaire and his powerful media mate slugging it out in a public street, not far from a very popular beach which one of them calls home.

Jamie and David may be rich and powerful, but they behave just like any other larrikins. And they live, fight and love in much the same suburbs.

Societies thrive on specialisation, and one of the specialities you need in a society is people who make money. It makes sense that when they do make money you let them keep most of it so they can keep make even more. It’s a principle of investment that you funnel your investment to the one with the highest return.

Where the problems set in is if these entrepreneurial specialists divorce themselves from your society and behave like they’re not a part of it any more.

There is little evidence that this is happening in Australia today. Unfortunately, apart from the anecdotal, it is difficult to measure and prove this.

Posted by Graham at 7:37 am | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. One can only imagine how difficult life must be for someone in the public eye, and virtually forced to live in a goldfish bowl, of perverse public interest.
    And the tiny moments of total privacy would become more valuable, than all the inherited wealth!
    Moreover, the last person one would expect to breach that treasured privacy, would be a trusted mate!?
    I feel much the same about my personal integrity, and can react in a most hostile way, when I believe, rightly or wrongly, that it is under challenge. And yes, there could even be an element of paranoia?
    I believe it ought to be accepted as is, and just a misunderstanding, that set mate against mate, and just as quickly forgiven, when the misunderstanding was cleared up.
    Both protagonists seem to have copped some injury, so honor has been served. Given Jamie’s business interests, he has a lot more to lose?
    Given no one else was involved or hurt, the matter should perhaps end there, with both men making a sizable donation to some charity, as atonement for any public distress, caused by the sight of two very large, very spoiled schoolboys settling their differences in a time honored fashion!
    Been there done that over half a century ago! And the larger lad only landed a single blow, and was laid flat for his trouble!
    In closing, might I add, that David seems to have landed a couple of telling blows on Jamie, and is clearly not a wimp.
    At the end of the day, if you employ someone who always agrees with you, one of you is clearly redundant!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — May 7, 2014 @ 10:22 am

  2. I think my point was that this is very human, and happened on the front footpath. There were minders of some sort, but it just seems so ordinary, and Aussie, and so tangible.

    Comment by Graham — May 7, 2014 @ 9:43 pm

  3. Yes Graham, I didn’t raise that element in my comment, given I thought it was very much self evident!
    Cheers, Alan B.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — May 8, 2014 @ 12:03 pm

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