Help reverse the super-rich madness

Issue 

The number of “High Net Worth Individuals” (HNWIs) in Australia — those with more than US$1 million in investable assets, excluding the family home — soared to 173,600 last year. This, according to the latest World Wealth Report, was an increase of 34.4% on the year before.

The June 30 Sunshine Coast Daily said: “What's more impressive is Australia's ranking in the global population of HNWIs. Out of 71 countries, Australia has the 10th biggest population of HNWIs in the world, in front of Brazil and just behind that millionaire's paradise of Switzerland.”

One of the trends celebrated in the Sunshine Coast Daily is that luxury cars, boats and jets are “making a comeback”.

“The proportion of ‘passion’ investments by HNWIs going into what the report describes as ‘luxury collectables’ increased from 27% in 2008 to 30% in 2009. HNWIs who have worked hard for decades to protect their wealth have seen in the last two years how quickly fortunes can fall and have decided to lash out. In some cases, they are even looking at luxury cars as investments.”

Makes your chest swell with pride doesn’t it? “Our” HNWIs are working so hard and making so many “passion investments”, they are now in the top 10! Australia is truly an excellent place to be a millionaire.

What’s less impressive is that at the same time, Australia is experiencing a dramatic increase in homelessness across the country. The Salvation Army said the ACT’s homeless population has nearly doubled since 2008. In NSW it's up by 65%, and in Queensland there's been a 50% jump.

This is happening at exactly the same time as the HNWIs are buying up their luxury cars, yachts and jets in greater numbers.

Shouldn’t some of that wealth be redistributed to tackle the problems of homelessness and poverty? Well according to the Sunshine Coast Daily, another trend identified in the World Wealth Report is that “the rich are wary of a global tax crackdown”. They are more than happy to prioritise their private jets over people’s welfare.

We at Green Left Weekly want to reverse this madness. We are struggling for a world that puts people and the plant before profit. A world that would end homelessness and poverty before it would allow millionaires to accumulate another luxury yacht. But we need your help to continue the struggle.

We rely solely on donations from friends and supporters, not on funding from High Net Worth Individuals. You can help us reach our target by making a donation today at www.greenleft.org.au/donate/details. Or direct deposits can be made to Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, account no. 00901992.

Otherwise, you can send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007 or phone in a donation through on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia).