Last summer I was invited to take part in two small private events attended by many US, European and Asian billionaires, some worth many tens of billions. The events were fun and stimulating, and many of the billionaires were good company.
But spending time with them crystallised for me just how big a billionaire problem the world now has, and why solving it may be a precondition for successful action on so many of the other problems we face. It also crystallised for me that we have a problem even thinking about billionaires and possible remedies to the problem they present.
It’s easy to see these extraordinarily rich individuals as just a bit of entertainment—colourful mavericks—or perhaps an inevitability: the rich, like the poor, being always with us.
But this misses the point. The sheer power and reach of the billionaires blocks thought and action on many fronts. They hold great sway over the state of the economy. They dominate much of our politics—with one possibly soon to return as US president and another potential billionaire ruling Russia.