With the world’s financial crisis continuing to bite hard I found it amazing to read a number of news stories this week that highlight the difference between the “haves” and the “have-nots.”
The first story was of a Chinese businessman who earlier this week lost $3 million while gambling at Crown Casino. $300,000 of this money was lost in less than five minutes playing big-stakes baccarat. The Herald Sun reported that the man showed little emotion as his riches were swept away. “He seemed pretty calm about it all,” one witness said. “It’s big money but obviously he can afford it. He was still smiling.”
This story was in stark contrast to another story just six pages later headlined “Victorians sink into more debt” and detailing a dramatic increase in bankruptcies and home repossessions, as well as, an increased number of people going without food and heating in order to pay phone bills and bank fees.
Skip another five pages and we find an article on a relatively new drug that has been proven highly successful in fighting advanced stages of colon, breast and lung cancer. The problem for most people is that the drug is just too expensive. Each course costs between $2,500 and $5,700 and is beyond reach of many people. So, people are dying unnecessarily because they simply can’t afford a treatment that is readily available.
Now, back to our Chinese businessman – and many others like him – who have so much money they can smile as they lose $3 million. Now I know the arguments that this money will stay in Australia and some of it will boost government coffers. But how much of it will relieve the plight of those who are genuinely struggling to get by or simply stay alive? Meanwhile, Crown Casino are about to embark on a $500 million upgrade to its Southbank site. Yes, that does mean extra construction jobs for Victorians, but at what cost to society in general?
Those who have the privilege of wealth need to realise that with every privilege comes a responsibility. The wealthy have a responsibility to help those less fortunate. People like Bill and Melinda Gates get it. Many others do too. But still far too many don’t! If you’ve got it you have a duty to give it. Get it?