The profile story in Haaretz translated from The New York about the rapper Jay Z is interesting. Especially when he claims to invent Rap and in the future go on to influence politics. Jay Z and his wife, Beyonce, already hosted a fundraiser for President Barack Obama, so they are already involved.
It reminded me of a portion from a book I wrote about 21st century challenges. Here it is:
“Think about the rich and famous you follow on TV or in gossip columns. Who are they? Movie stars, musicians, athletes and reality shows minor celebrities.
How much money are they making? Its hard to say exactly but the answer is a lot. The highest paid baseball player was paid an estimated 27.5 million dollars last year, not including commercials, endorsement etc. But even lower ranked athletes baseball, basketball, football or soccer are earning multi-millions per year.
Actors, entertainers and musicians are no different. Many of them enjoy multi-million paychecks. Sports and entertainment are global. Foreign athletes are playing in American leagues, soccer is an international sport, Hollywood movies are on screens around the world, and foreign actors are acting in American films.
It is hard to understand how a person who can you make so much money for hitting a ball with a bat, kicking or throwing a ball, but who are we to judge? They make people happy, they inspire people, they provide entertainment to the public, they make profits to the owners of teams – all good reasons to pay them what they are getting. This is just one example of new multi-milionaires who make their money in a unique way.
Let’s move on. How many multi-Millionaires are there in every country? It is hard to answer that question but we can assume not many. What we can say is that money=power, and Multi-Millionaires often use their money as a tool to influence people and lives.
If money = power, the world’s centers of strength are changing with new multi-millionaires as never in history did athletes or entertainers held so much capital in their hands. And there are hundreds if not thousands of them. The wealthy have always been either monarchs, public officials, bankers, importers and other professions, building their capital for decades. Their relative power is even bigger if they live in smaller countries, as their relative power is bigger in a smaller market.
This does not mean there is something wrong with the phenomenon described here. Money should be spread and shared by more people and not kept in the hands of the few. But this is definitely a new phenomenon, unique to the 21st century that is changing the centers of strength and influencing worldwide.
Think about an African soccer player ending his successful career after earning millions playing soccer and going back to his country. What will be the impact of his capital on his nation? He can buy half the country and hire thousands of people. This is fascinating. Will families of soccer players & singers become the elite of the future? This is just one interesting question that comes up with no answer as of yet.
Are we ready for the influence of reality TV starts & other new millionaires on our lives?