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Super rich people are going on gap years

Like gap years weren't already posh enough.

There’s been a big rise in the megarich taking extended time out to explore the world and discover how “real people live”.

What it means: According to a travel agency, the ‘global 1 percent’ - i.e. the richest people in the world - have recently got really keen on gap years. (Btw, wondering what it takes to be part of the 1 percent club? According to Credit Suisse, you need to have a net worth - which is figured out by adding up your salary, savings, and the value of all the stuff you own, and minusing any debts or bills you need to pay - of $871,320.)

Because rich people tend to be a bit older than the stereotypical gap year teenager, they’re usually taking these jaunts with their family. The aim is apparently to see “how real people live” and popular activities include snow leopard spotting, living with African tribes and diving with sharks (which, ofc, is a typical Monday morning for us common folks). Price tags can run up to a million dollars per trip.

Could this trend be a good thing? Lots of local communities like that tourists bring wealth into their area by spending money in local restaurants and shops, and by causing new jobs to be created to cater to their toursity whims. And plenty of people would rather billionaires splashed their money on things that benefit ‘normal’ people rather than stashing it in the bank or buying another luxury sports car.

But uber-rich tourists (like all tourists) can cause problems too. Flash hotels and restaurants set up to cater for them may cause less fancy businesses to close down and former residents to be priced out of the area. And being around ostentatious wealth when your own financial circumstances aren’t top notch could be distressing or depressing for the people who are living these ‘real lifes’ than the rich are so keen to gape at, but not actually take part in.

Read our explainer on inequality.

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Reader Comments

  • WhereAreTheVikings

    What a terrible, terrible shame. Western Civilization nurtured capitalism, and now capitalism is destroying it. And these young people seem to welcome the invasion of their homeland. The media and schools have been very efficient in wiping out all traces of blood and soil.

    • prollawalllynotahumanoid

      Capitalism isn’t the problem. It’s corrupt politicians taking bribes and kickbacks from Globalists and the Chinese.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        Maybe I should have said crony capitalism. Although Italians importing Chinese to make “Italian leather” shoes is not crony capitalism. It is capitalism, pure and simple.

        • prollawalllynotahumanoid

          That would be crony capitalism and globalism combined. They aren’t concerned with the affect their policies have upon their citizens, the health and welfare of their society and culture or their economy. What it isn’t is fair-free trade to further national interests.

          • WhereAreTheVikings

            I’ve always seen them as one and the same, but perhaps they need to be named individually, just to bring home the point.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        But now that travel is so easy and borders are virtually down through H1bs and the like, theoretically you can’t blame capitalists for the pursuit of cheaper labor, although I do heartily blame them not being more patriotic than that. Perhaps the emerging nationalism will force them to voluntarily do what they should have morally been doing all along, and that is employing business practices that preserve their countries and nationalities. The government should be doing everything it can to encourage that, to the extent that small government should do anything but guard the borders and strictly, drastically, limit immigration.

      • Henry Lam

        It is China with its corrupted mindset affecting the world.

        • prollawalllynotahumanoid

          No it is not. Capitalism is the fairest and least corrupt system of all.

          Socialism and communism is based on authoritarianism, coercion and police intimidation. It has and always will be rife with criminality, bribes and kickbacks.

          Corruption can be anywhere but it is the very basis of socialism and communism.

    • Henry Lam

      The government is too weak. They do not understand the mindset of communists and how they educate their people. Those communist people are only loyal to their country and could be dangerous. The immigration law should only accept those who accepted multiculturalism and taught from a democratic education system. This virus events clearly has shown how stupid to take China as a friend.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        The government is not too weak. Just weak-minded about some things.

  • Gabi Rodrigues

    For how many days can a country maximum close their borders to foreigners maximum? Like now, with the virus, everyone is using 30 days. Can it be more?