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The rich : from slaves to super yachts : a 2000-year history by John Kampfner

Posted On March 23, 2017 at 3:12 pm by / Comments Off on The rich : from slaves to super yachts : a 2000-year history by John Kampfner

By John Kampfner

From the Roman Republic to Roman Abramovich, a tiny variety of the super-rich have held sway over the economics and politics in their eras. How they made their cash - through ability, success or ruthless decision - turns into beside the point as soon as they have reached the head. The items of wish can have replaced, however the principles have stayed an identical. For the slaves, concubines, gold and castles of historical and medieval occasions, learn deepest jets, vacation islands and soccer golf equipment. Does the beginning of the twenty-first century mark a turning element or does historical past exhibit us that the richest 0.01 consistent with cent will regularly triumph? From amazing stories of Norman knights, Malian kings and Spanish conquistadores to present-day sheikhs, web giants, oligarchs and bankers, this can be the compelling tale of the increase and upward push of the very prosperous world wide over the last thousand years.

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The period between 1945 and the Thatcher–Reagan reforms of the early 1980s was a rare moment in which the state sought to intervene to smooth out some of the rougher edges of inequality. At the same time, the rich retreated from an active role in politics as – initially at least – this more egalitarian approach was seen to be fairer and more economically efficient. There is no shortage of statistics to highlight the extraordinary changes that have taken place over the past thirty years. Here is a small selection: According to the US Congressional Budget Office, in the period between 1979 (the eve of Ronald Reagan’s election) and 2007 (the start of the crash), American incomes increased overall by 62 per cent – allowing for tax and inflation.

12 Whether these money-obsessed, acquisitive men of the Republic were too busy to father children is, to put it mildly, a moot point. This was an extreme variant of the avaricious-Crassus narrative, but it represents the mainstream view of Davis’ time, and of successive generations of historians. ’ A surprising characteristic of Crassus is that, despite his vast assets, he lived relatively modestly. He built no house for himself apart from the one in which he lived. The usually critical Plutarch describes Crassus as a generous host ‘for his house was open to all’.

The bank and the Vatican needed each other and both raked in the profits, just as banks and politicians have done in the twenty-first century. Power relationships and reputation management are the themes of this fourth chapter. The Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro was an example of a self-made man, the illegitimate son of an infantry colonel and a servant, who achieved great wealth, but not status, through the acquisition of land and resources in the New World of what is now Latin America.

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