Where our priorities lie …
In paraphrasing, when “an old and famous ancient temple engulfed in smoke and heat was a frightening reminder that there are many forces out there to render us powerless to save something dear to us. The world looked on,” he wrote. “Shocked to see the iconic spire come crashing down, succumbing to the fire like a matchstick house.” Meaningful memories of Paris in our lifetime were no doubt activated in our hippocampus, be it from a dream, a book or an experience; but many years of Notre Dame’s history turned to ash in the horrific scene and the world felt it.
Kinsella went on to inform that “within hours of the spire coming down, two of France’s wealthiest families (François-Henri Pinault and Bernard Arnault) pledged no less than 300 million Euros in funding for the restoration effort.”
Arnault is the richest person in Europe with a net worth of 91 Billion Euros (give or take); his empire is perhaps best known through its Louis Vuitton brand. Pinault is worth 30 billion Euros. Between them, they have significantly more money than several European states such as Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and to put that into perspective: If you had 3,000 (of any currency unit) and you donated 10 Euros from it, you’d be giving proportionally the same amount as these men.
Then Kinsella reflected upon the Church. He commented that “perhaps an overlooked part of the discussion was the financial role that the Catholic Church could play in the restoration. Nobody outside the Vatican truly knows how much money the church has, but in 2012, the Economist calculated that the Vatican’s operating budget in the US alone came to USD 170 billion. Pope Francis has confirmed that he is praying for all those affected by the Notre Dame fire. That is to say, he is putting his hands together, rather than in his pocket.”
“Now it would be incredibly cheap to suggest that it is in some way wrong to give money for the restoration,” and we agree, “but” he say’s, “the immediacy and magnitude of their response tells us something very important about the society we live in.”
“Brick and mortar and stained-glass might burn, but they do not bleed, they do not starve, and they do not suffer. Humans suffer. Everywhere in the world, from Paris to Persepolis, people are suffering and their suffering is daily. It does not light up a front page, and it does not inspire immediate donations from the world’s wealthiest men.”
Yet “ … if within six hours of disaster striking; two men in a world of more than 7 billion people can provide 300 million Euro to restore a cultural icon, then there is enough money in the world to feed every mouth, shelter every family and educate every child. The failure to do so is a matter of will, and a matter of system, and comes from our failure to recognise the mundane emergencies that claim lives all around us every single day.”
I love his passion. Carl Kinsella is a young man prioritising ‘life and the living’ and asking the hard questions. Some would shout back and say “communism was a failure”. But Carl was emphasising the gap between the rich and poor in developed nations that have never lived through Communism. It was not just about wealth, but priorities. The poor live with one priority – to survive.
So what do the wealthy prioritise? Thoughts of goodwill might be overshadowed by their perception of the situation? They see a population of 7 billion, divide that into the wealth they are willing to give up, and there is no long-term impact achievable. Alternatively, they’re not as keen on sharing as others. (Dickens wrote about the miser Ebenezer Scrooge. Today, we call it ‘the greedy man syndrome’.)
Whatever their priorities; whatever their reasons, whatever their convictions; this is significant of the growing gap that rules us today. And interestingly, this outcome has always been caused by that same level of individual priority, through the ages.
Sponsity has set the motion, the closing of the gap. It is not about making the rich – poorer. They earned their wealth through whatever means and want to have it throughout their lifetime. But it IS time to give opportunity to those who deserve to be richer. These are the people who have less, they often ‘care more’ or ‘feel more’ and willingly help others first as soon as they can; yet many aren’t getting a fair share back for their efforts.
Sponsity thinks they should. We want to show how, and what needs to be implemented to achieve it – stay tuned here.
In the meantime, thank you Messieurs Pinault & Arnault. Together they will fix an iconic landmark, save taxpayer Euros that otherwise would have been paid by the State and also considerably reduce their tax bill. But I invite them to do something significant on a human scale. Spread their support further at a much smaller cost, to create a people-purposed impact. Invest in a system bringing phenomenal difference and perpetuating wealth further.
Painting courtesy of Artist: Robert P. Hawkins
Click through to view the original article by Carl Kinsella