|Nevertheless, Rowling's runaway success illustrates a worrying trend regarding the global marketplace's apparent ability to magnify both economic success and failure.|
English-speaking celebrities in particular have been riding a wave of previously undreamt-of opulence. In fact, their affluence is almost effluent in its odour. Between them, the 100 highest-paid celebrities earned more than $3.1bn, in the 12 months to June 2007, with African-American talk show queen Oprah Winfrey ruling the roost.
David Beckham, who has moved his royal court of Beckingham palace to the LA hills, is believed to be raking in half a million quid a week at LA Galaxy. To put that into context, it would take the average Brit nearly three decades to earn as much as Beckham does in seven days. Some stars can even earn millions for what is effectively a day's work.
Together, the world's 946 billionaires are worth a staggering $3.5 trillion - which sits between the annual GDP of Japan and Germany - with converted philanthropist Bill Gates still top of the heap with $56bn. Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helú saw his net worth skyrocket by a dizzying $19bn this year (equivalent to the GDP of Yemen). Over the last 12 months, he earned as much as over 26.5 million people - of the estimated 3 billion - people subsisting on $2 a day or less.
One reason why this kind of gap appears is that while most of us depend on our labour to earn our daily bread, the superrich have the magnifying effects of capital - and other people - bolstering their fortunes. And such concentrations of capital interfere with the efficient running of the economy and promote social inequality and tension.
To my mind, given the astronomical earnings of "A list" celebrities, top boardroom executives and business tycoons, there is a strong case to be made for the introduction of a cap on earning, or a "maximum wage". This would complement the minimum wage to ensure a fairer distribution of wealth in society, particularly as income inequalities, both between societies and within societies, are approaching, or at, all-time highs.
The world is not meant to be fair, no one deserves a damn thing, those who can will and those who can't bitch. Good for Rowling making a product in a business where it is dependent on many people buying the product to enjoy. Most people will never have that kind of talent/luck/dedication to do so.
A fairer distribution of wealth in society means the productive members have to cap their talent because the lesser talented people must be coddle and subsidized because that is what they feel they deserver. The result is a mediocre society which I want no part of thank you very much.