The brainless socialite of the art world, Damien Hirst, is at it again. The show-off seems determined to prove that ‘art’ buyers are at least stupid as voters; there seems to be no limit to what either group will go along with.
Hirst’s latest work is a human skull encrusted with 8,601 diamonds. “For the Love of God,” he calls it. It is the most expensive bit of fluff the art world has ever seen. It cost Hirst US$28 million to make. He expects to sell it for US$100 million.
His next work is even more ambitious. He’s planning on a plaster cast of a human foetus, studded with even rarer blue diamonds, which is expected to sell for US$200 million.
Is there no limit to man’s ability to make an idiot of himself?
One of the curiosities of the world economy, circa 2007, is the way the poor subsidise the spending habits of the rich. The Americans – supposedly the world’s richest people – save almost nothing. In fact, they spend more than they earn. Who makes up the difference? People who live on one tenth as much money. Indians’ savings, for example, equal 28% of GDP. The figure is similar for China.
According to IMF statistics, in 1996 the advanced countries of the developed world accounted for 78% of total global saving. By 2006, that share had fallen to 65%. Over the same decade, the developing world’s share of global saving rose from 22% in 1996 to 36% in 2006. Poor countries made up only 19% of world GDP in 1996 but still accounted for fully 58% of the cumulative increase in global saving over the 1996 to 2006 period, or approximately three times their weight in the world economy.
New reports show that last year foreign purchases of US companies and foreign start-ups in the US went up more than 75% over the previous year. The poor foreign boobs still see the United States as a good place to do business, despite the clamour for protectionism there.
The rich have borrowed trillions of dollars from the poor. As we watch them drive around in their air-conditioned SUVs this summer…and spend their holidays at the beach…and enjoy their tinsel wealth by buying “artwork”….we wouldn’t be at all surprised if they forgot to pay it back.
Markets and Money