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July 7, 2015

Billionaires to the Barricades

“Earlier this month, when the billionaire merchandising mogul Johann Rupert gave a speech at The Financial Times’s “luxury summit” in Monaco, he sounded more like a Marxist theoretician than someone who made his fortune selling Cartier diamonds and Montblanc pens. Appearing before a crowd of executives from Fendi and Ferrari, Mr. Rupert argued that it wasn’t right — or even good business — for “the 0.1 percent of the 0.1 percent” to raid the world’s spoils.“It’s unfair and it is not sustainable,” he said.”

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“Given the political groundswell for decreasing wealth disparity, Mr. West added, “There’s a realization among the billionaire class that it’s actually in their own self-interest to at least spread some of the wealth around.”

Of course, it may be that some of these outspoken billionaires are not responding to politics so much as playing it themselves. “I’m not surprised to hear the wealthy saying these things, but talk is cheap,” said Dennis “Kelleher, the president of Better Markets, which advocates financial reform. “These people know exactly how to move the levers of power and, until that happens, whatever they say is nothing but empty words.”

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Read the full New York Times article by Alan Feuer here

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