The most expensive hobby a rich man could have is a boat, and the second most expensive hobby he could have is a very old house.
– Barbara Corcoran
Hobbies for the rich and powerful, are several orders of magnitude above what I or my co-workers can afford to enjoy. I take a week-long cruise with six thousand fellow passengers to the Caribbean. A billionaire rents an island and charters guests to it. A friend leases a quaint home in an Italian town using AirBnB; an executive I know rents a villa in Florence for a month and brings his entire family. My neighbor owns a new boat – I assume it is the property of the son, a Navy Sailor. Nobody will confuse him for a wealthy man. While not a hobby, the expansion of electric vehicle ownership also reveals a little disparity. Teslas and a couple BMW electric vehicles share the charging aisles with a couple Fiats and one Ford.
I am always stunned by the embrace socialism has among American and European elitists, academics and revolutionaries. From my study of history, the socialists disdained hobbies that symbolized exclusivity, gentility or were impractical for the general welfare, and were very careful about outside influence on their constituency. Of course, those were the very things the elites afforded themselves.
The same media that sympathetically portrayed changes coming to one of the most wealthy, but politically and socially, medieval countries, has been understandably confused. I heard a story today that a thirty -something Saudi prince, Mohammed bin Salman, a powerful deputy in the royal family was seeming disingenuous about starting an austerity reform campaign in his country. Apparently, the New York Times only recently learned that this refreshing new leader was the buyer, a couple years ago, of the most expensive estate in France, the Chateau Louis XIV, a Leonardo Da Vinci painting and a half-BILLION-Euro yacht. An austerity measure of almost a billion and a half dollars.
You have to marvel at his hobbies though. And their upkeep. I found an article that says he ran his new yacht aground in the Red Sea a month or two ago. The prince may need to get a skipper for his boating hobby.
To bring Saudi Arabia into the 21st Century, the Prince may need his expensive hobbies. A Millennial with a vision for his people. And from his estate in France, if he gets too un-sheikh like, he can let the people eat cake. In the interim, if his news media gets a little too nasty, he probably has an executioner with scimitar on speed-dial.
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