where the billionaires live

I was re-reading a book I love last night in bed and it got me thinking ‘Where do the top 100 richest people in the world live?’

So at midnight, armed with a list from Forbes and Google Maps I marked them on the map.

A few things caught my attention.

1) There are a lot of very rich men who call Moscow home.
2) There was only one in Japan and he was near the bottom of the list.
3) There was only one African in the Top 100 billionaires
4) There are a surprising amount around Mexico City.
5) The owners of Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Google are all there.

But two things are very noticeable
1) There are women represented but their wealth has been inherited or passed on. There are no self made female billionaires on the list.
According to Forbes ‘only 19 of the world’s billionaires (or 1.6%) are women who earned their money’.

I’m not sure why that surprised me, but I guess it did.
If money or wealth represents power, then power is male.

2) The other thing that stands out like a sore thumb is the US of A.
According to Forbes
‘There are now billionaires from 58 countries including ones from Peru, Morocco and Georgia. The U.S. is still home to more billionaires than any other nation, with 425, a dozen more than a year ago. Russia and mainland China follow behind. They have 96 and 95, respectively, down from 101 and 115.

So the USA can claim nearly 35 % of the world’s billionaires, Russia 7.8% and mainline China 7.7%.

If money/wealth represents power, then power is American. They’ve even increased the number of billionaires during all the stuff that has been going on with the economy.

The reason why I wondered is that I’m trying to work out if the USA really is the Roman empire of our day, the place where power is concentrated and controls the world or is just because I’ve been reading certain types of books that suggest that and are unbalanced.

structural evil / corporate evil

…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms…


Captured by the consumerist imagination of the Empire.

News Corp

Last week when the news started breaking about the News of the World I prayed a simple prayer:- that the News Corp empire would fall apart.
I hope that the wheels keep on falling off because it has held sway over our imaginations and stories for far too long, its power was unbelievable and worst of all, not even noticed.
I hope that its the start of holding corporations to account, to hauling them into courts to account for their actions and that they realise that they can’t do whatever they want without fear of prosecution.

That’s disjointed. There’s so much swimming around my head from this and reading Colossians:Remixed and a holiday in Inishowen and now in Dublin. So much to be re-imagined and gardens to be planted,bread to be baked and shared with neighbours, a story to be heard and lived into.

journeys on the 6 o’clock news

Pictures of hell from east Africa, a  mother walking for days just to reach a refugee camp, selecting a a child to die to give the other children a better chance of survival.

Next item, the space shuttle blasts of into space for it’s final journey. Soundbites of Americans who have travelled for thousands of miles just to see the space shuttle make its final journey. ‘The most amazing thing I have ever seen’ claims one lady.

Next news item, William and Kate tour Canada and take in a rodeo show, hug a child and bestow blessings on the land.

Those pictures from Africa are etched on my eyes. On one hand charities are urging us to donate money so that our brothers and sisters will survive, that a mother won’t have to decide which of her children has least chance of survival.

On the other hand a space rocket blasts into space with four astronauts (cost $450 million for each mission).
On yet another hand we’re finding it hard that we might not get to Greenbelt this year, to sit around drinking a few beers and having a bit of banter with friends.
On my fourth hand, I complain that the summer her in Ireland has been a bit too damp for our liking, we can’t sit outside and have a barbeque.

I don’t care anymore – we’ve been living such greedy lifestyles for so many years, in a position of grandeur and wealth. We might have to survive in our Western culture, we do deserve a holiday or the chance to spend money and relax but we can’t keep on doing the wasting food thing, or over-eating thing, or luxurious holiday thing, or fancy car thing. We might have to live in culture where our friends live like this, and we might have to live amongst our friends and survive but we need to face the fact that we’re too greedy with the world’s resources, that we’re too greedy. We need to be content with what we’ve got.

We need to stop justifying our greed and learn to live more simply, we need to start sharing things more. You don’t need to buy a new drill if we’re putting up a picture, you can borrow mine. You don’t need to buy a new car to go to work, I drive past there everyday and can give you a lift. You don’t need to buy that book, I’ve a copy which you can have.

vulnerability update

Well a few weeks ago I mentioned how we didn’t seem to realise how close to the edge we lived our lives.
Then our water supplies around the North stopped and suddenly everybody in Northern Ireland water is inept, people are filling their baths when they can and people are getting hysterical.
While recognising the inconvenience that it’s causing¬† many people perhaps it will make us realise how fortunate we are to be able to turn a tap on and have fresh, clean water pumped into our homes?

So perhaps less whinging on BBC Radio Ulster and a bit more appreciation for what we do have?