Apparently they seem to be junior high students. I can’t claim to have discovered this, though I’ve suspected it for a long time. (Disclaimer: I taught at a university that accepted the dodgier offspring of the rich folks in the immediate area, and their insights told me a lot about the competition among the wealthy and powerful. It really was being a fly on the wall.) George Monbiot however, is a writer, and can extrapolate the obsessions of the very rich to implicate society as a whole. There is a reason he is paid for what he does; this article shows why.
Monbiot details the angst that losing comparative position entails. In the world of the very rich, scoring by the media is so important that some drudge writing an article in Forbes assumes importance beyond his pay grade. When a Saudi Arabian prince scores lower than some of his competitors, he freaks:
According to one of the prince's former employees, the Forbes magazine global rich list "is how he wants the world to judge his success or his stature".However, Monbiot goes beyond the obsessions of the very wealthy to show that all of us are complicit.
The result is "a quarter-century of intermittent lobbying, cajoling and threatening when it comes to his net worth listing". In 2006, the researcher responsible for calculating his wealth writes, "when Forbes estimated that the prince was actually worth $7 billion less than he said he was, he called me at home the day after the list was released, sounding nearly in tears. 'What do you want?' he pleaded, offering up his private banker in Switzerland. 'Tell me what you need.'"
The same applies to collective growth. Governments today have no vision but endless economic growth. They are judged not by the number of people in employment – let alone by the number of people in satisfying, pleasurable jobs – and not by the happiness of the population or the protection of the natural world. Job-free, world-eating growth is fine, as long as it's growth. There are no ends any more, just means.Beggaring your neighbour, no matter what your income level, destroys not only your own ego, but also the society that supports you. As Monbiot says, “enough already”.