+There’s a degree of optimism doing the rounds that the Coronavirus emergency is going to lead to some radical shifts in the way the world economy is run. I hate to urinate on anybody’s fire, but I absolutely don’t believe it (no matter how much I wish it). There are different holes, and there are different ways of digging oneself out of those holes, but despite vastly increased government expenditures to deal with this crisis, I’ve only heard a deafening silence from the worldwide capitalist cabal about the need to change the way we do things. It is still the case that billionaires want bail-outs (c.f. Branson/Virgin Atlantic). It is only in the last day or two that banks have been told to put shareholder dividends on hold. Even the UK government has recognised that that pay out would have been a bit of a PR disaster. Every time I listen to the UK government’s evening party political broadcast on behalf of the Conservative Party, and all the vacuous pledges made in a vernacular that would make Sir Humphrey proud (and possibly blush), I am reminded that a decent book still remains to be written on the political abuse of the English language.
+But we don’t need to worry about such minor issues. It seems the world’s richest man has dipped into his capacious pockets and found some dust worth $81 million to help fight Coronavirus. I hope we can all show our gratitude appropriately. According to the internet Jeff Bezos was worth $150 billion in 2018. That may have dipped a bit lately, but still it’s encouraging to learn that he’s maybe donated one tenth of one percent of his wealth to the cause. Maybe he’s worried that his time, unlike his money might be running out. Whilst his wealth grows, his time dwindles. That’s a real conundrum.
So, on a cheerful note, here’s a little bit from Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus in which I have only changed one word:
Ah, Pythagoras’ metempsychosis, were that true,
This soul should fly from me and I be chang’d
Unto some brutish beast: all beasts are happy,
For when they die
Their souls are soon dissolv’d in elements;
But mine must live still to be plague’d in hell.
Curs’d be the parents that engender’d me!
No, Bezos, curse thyself, curse Lucifer
That have deprive’d thee of the joys of heaven.
The clock striketh twelve
O, it strikes, it strikes! Now, body, turn to air,
Or Lucifer will bear thee quick to hell!
Thunder and lightning.
O soul, be chang’d into little water drops,
And fall into the ocean, ne’er to be found.
. . and those were his last words - encapsulating the rich man's dilemma.