Recycling money in Porto Corto

Keith Hudson

I wouldn’t be surprised if there are quite a number of very very rich people who, like Warren Buffet, have modest needs, don’t seek publicity and work away quietly and busily most of the time — not for the sake of making more . . . money — of that I’m quite sure — what’s the point of working simply to make more money? — but simply because business is an interesting game.  Really interesting jobs are relatively few in number.

There are others though — and, I suspect, just the ordinarily very very rich — for whom their original opportunities have gone or whose vein of innovation has run dry — who decide to buy a yacht instead.  David Abramovich is one of those I suspect. — unless I misjudge him  And many of those sail (a misnomer of there ever is one) to Porto Corto, Sardinia, in the summer when it is supposed never to rain and where the most expensive hotels in the world are to be found.  An astonishing photo in my paper today shows 23 of these yachts sitting there demurely in the bay.

They all seem far too large to be tied up in a marina — David Abramovich’s is longer than a battle cruiser — about the length of 12 double-decker buses excluding the helicopter pads — might be one of them — though he was last heard of sailing (!) round Scotland tying up at isolated fishing villages in order to cycle round the countryside and no doubt making modest purchases in the local shops.  So perhaps he’s keeping aloof from Sardinia for the time being.  The Royal Emirate’s family have recently taken delivery of a yacht that’s perhaps half double-decker bus longer — and they might be there!.

Some bright journalist in a nameless caption has computed that the total value of the yachts tied up in Porto Corto amount to $1billion.  That seems rather modest to me, but I wish them a happy holiday all the same as their owners socialize among one another in and out of their yachts and in the local 5-star hotels — all delicately appraising without any doubt exactly how rich each one of them is.

I’m greatly in favour of rich people buying yachts — far better than useless modern art.  My own computation suggests that they’ll be employing at least 900 staff on board and they’ll undoubtedly be giving employment to at least another thousand or two in the village hotels, never mind the diesel fuel and other supplies they’ll be buying. As to the yachts’ original construction, I guess that they’ll have given jobs to at least another few thousand.

These are part of Margaret Thatcher’s famous “Trickle Down Effect” sneered at by those want us all to have the same, but important nonetheless.  Whether money trickles down, or is spread around in large swathes by a multination coroporation, it’s all part of the great recycling of money — except where it gets trapped in modern works of art.  As the great philosopher Francis Bacon once said: “Money is like cow muck, i’s no use unless it’s spread around.” Buying a yacht is more useful.

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