Quiet and rich

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This article is published in number 10 of Vanity Fair on newsstands until March 9, 2021

Shut up, there’s an overflowing man listening to you. Oh yes, reading every day of layoffs, layoffs and the economic crisis, between a “Draghi save us you” and a “where will we end up?” we thought of a stuffed boot from Qui Quo Qua, instead we are the Land of Scrooge. For the Revenue Agency, millionaires are clearly growing: 400,000 people who have assets of at least one million dollars in financial wealth, 1% of the adult population.

“Italy is the ninth nation in the world for financial wealth, with 5.3 trillion dollars, equal to 4.9 trillion euros”. The billionaires, on the other hand, are the misery of forty, led by Giovanni Ferrero’s Nutella (24.5 billion).

Quiet and rich. This must be the rule of the super lucky creso. Maxi-money, extraordinary wealth, especially in countries with a Christian culture, must belong to private happiness. When it becomes public happiness, it is the end, like carrying an incurable disease with you: relatives and kindreds are beating cash and all the poor mortals begin to woo you. Moreover, there remains an incoercible Catholic (and leftist) “sense of guilt” towards opulence, the Great Comfort: “It is easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than a rich man in the kingdom of God” ( from the Gospel according to Matthew), on the one hand; on the other, Bertolt Brecht advances: “What is robbing a bank compared to founding a bank?” The Goncourt brothers are more hasty: “There are fortunes that cry out” Imbecile! ” to the honest man “. Definitive, Dorothy Parker: “If you want to know what God thinks of money, look at the people he gave it to.”

Wealth, therefore, turns into a real wealth anxiety. And so the Rockefellers, kings of oil, advertise their altruism in its classic and somewhat hypocritical philanthropic meaning, building the most beautiful museum of contemporary art, the MoMA in New York.

The problem that wealth poses, the reader will have already understood, is schizophrenic because it concerns the frame in which the super-Scrooge moves and breathes. In fact, what sense does it have to be rich from panties to lavender, if there is no one who sees you, admires you, envies you?

For example: although he produced not very chic cars, Gianni Agnelli was an icon of charm. Its secret? Flaunt ease and nonchalance especially in the face of pain and dangers. Complaining is poverty. And all the parvenus were fascinated by the Rolex on the cuff and the tie on the pullover, and not the details of the 124 or 850 or the Duna, the most unwatchable vehicle ever produced. The lawyer must therefore put on a Juventus scudetto-catcher to win national-popular sympathy.

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