How much money does one person really need? There’s clearly a minimum survivable income (enough to pay for food, a roof over one’s head, and maybe a bit stashed away for a rainy day) but should there also be a maximum?

Can money buy happiness? One 2019 study, published in the journal Nature, suggests that happiness does not “rise indefinitely with income”, and there is a “point at which higher income no longer leads to greater wellbeing”. The team at Purdue University which conducted the research concluded that the “income satiation” point was around €55,000 a year in terms of achieving maximum emotional wellbeing.

Yet why do we still strive for more? The number of billionaires in the world has increased by 358% since the year 2000, ballooning from 470 at the turn of the millennium to 2,668 today. The richest man in the world – Amazon boss Jeff Bezos – made more than $8 million an hour in 2019. That’s roughly 315 times more than the median Amazon employee earns per year. Yet, like many other large corporations, his company is criticised for paying relatively little tax compared to its size. Can that be fair?

The classic argument goes that billionaires are entrepreneurial, creating innovations and jobs benefiting us all in their pursuit of wealth. Plus, increasing taxes on billionaires will just see them move their wealth elsewhere, investing in other countries and economies.

What do our readers think? We received a comment from Andreu asking whether it is fair that, as Oxfam reported in 2019, 26 billionaires have as much combined wealth as the poorest 50% of people on the planet.

To get a response to Andreu’s question, we spoke to Pierre Pozzi Belforti, a venture capital investor in Artificial Intelligence (AI). You can see his response in the video at the top of this post!

Should billionaires exist? How much money does one person really need?Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: BigStock – (c) shganti777
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.



7 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    EU-Reform Proactive

    I find Mr P. P. B’s response reasonable.

    Besides being gifted, it is a matter of ethics, honesty, fair rewards & luck – not by ruthless exploitation, cheating, manipulations, political interference or a wish for ‘Darwin’s’ fairer distribution whether billionaires, rich, middle income or poor people should or shouldn’t exist.

    It is a fact of life that within our human diversities all exist & should somehow peacefully co-exist. Being healthy & happy is often worth more than billions.

    The focus within the EU member states & Europe should rather be whether the “winner takes all” –

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majoritarian_representation

    or-

    a rule by ‘consensus’ deems a fairer & happier choice for Europe & all EU member states?

    http://www.differencebetween.net/miscellaneous/politics/difference-between-consensus-and-majority-rule/

    The recent narrow 60%/40% split in France and Macron’s & some EU MEP’s ‘victory celebrations’ over its rival (‘winner takes all’) does not indicate smooth cooperation between two major parties to benefit all of France.

    The democratic system(s) in Europe & the EU is definitely due for a “makeover”!

  2. avatar
    FP

    That’s hardly an easy question, therefore the answer could hardly be easy. There should be probably a limit to one’s wealth, even a high one, like 500 M€, or 1 billion €. For scale, with that money one could live 500 years spending 1 M€ per year (which is objectively absurd). Also, why would one need a 2M€ watch, or a 250M€ yatch? What is so precious in show off? We are used to capitalism and see extremely rich people as “those who made it”, but the difference between the average income and the wealth of the few is nothing less than immoral.

  3. avatar
    João

    I believe that instead of thinking on why a few people have a lot we should start focusing on why we have so many lacking.
    Instead of trying to find ways to “stop the rich”, politics should start focusing on finding ways for those without much could have the opportunities to grow and have a better life.
    Instead of making people dependent on welfare or the state to have a living we should create opportunities for private enterprise.
    There is nothing worse for personal accomplishments than having the state come and get almost 30-40% of your income without showing any improvement to the society with the services it provides (which get worse instead of getting better as the years go by).
    So, that said, lets stop going after the few rich people – where as they have a lot of cash, must of their Wealth and value can go “poof” with a stock market bubble burst – lets focus on how can we give people the opportunity and conditions to thrive. Give society the tools and space to grow.

  4. avatar
    Julia

    No, billionsires should not exist. They need a wealth cap because billionaires act like an unelected government and they interfere with our lives and our rights.

  5. avatar
    Kimmo

    Why should there be an income cap? Their ‘excessive’ wealth can be brought to benefit everyone through progressive taxation and closing corporate tax loopholes.

  6. avatar
    Xavier

    well if money rules in modern societies. by extension the more money someone has the biggest thread to rule by the public. you know democracy.

  7. avatar
    JT HK

    Billionaires is the cause of social and wealth inequality. As reported, in 2019, the top 10% of households in the United States held 70% of the country’s wealth, while the bottom 50% held 2%. The US has not revealed its true Gini Coefficient more than a decade. HK has been the top free economy which is vulnerable to capitalist manipulation. It has long time the Gini coefficient >50. After 3 decades of unrestrained open door policy which has also growing inequality with the coefficient once reached almost 50. Luckily the government appeared to have realized the seriousness of growing social disparity. It appeared to have carrying out the revitalization of isolated poor villages identified two decades ago. The government announced successfully elimination of poverty at the beginning of this year. Now Xi Jinping has turned to advocating “Common Prosperity”. It appeared to be matching by ending the single headed pursuance of GDP growth and to discourage monopoly at the same time. Government policies seems to have been changed from accumulation of national wealth to invest on social and educational reform, encouraging technology development, environmental protection, new energy and de-desertification, etc. In my opinion, billionaire is a social mal. Government function in modern democracy should be to regulate unrestrained development of capitalism with their over-exploitation of the people. This is the reason for democracy to exist. “Demo” should be a collective term not exclusively representing billionaires and their proxy.

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