Last week, the world was shocked by the horrible accident that occurred in France when the Notre-Dame cathedral caught fire. This tragedy rang out through all nations and was highlighted by various news organizations covering the event in real time, helping to bring together the audience of viewers who watched the 800-year-old cathedral burn, and with it the art, history and tradition stored inside.
This accident was regarded by most as an epic catastrophe as the cathedral is over 800 years old and has had historical and cultural significance since its initial construction. To the many people who had the pleasure of viewing the landmark, it was understandable that its beauty and significance has had such an impact on the world. After the fire and the subsequent damages had been publicized, various pledges of donations were coming in from around the globe in order to rebuild the well-known landmark. Most notably, some of these donations were pledged by independent billionaires and well-known companies such as Apple and Disney who made their mark in announcements that they too would put a share of money into rebuilding. The New York Times reported that since the fire, which took place on Monday, money from donors has cumulatively built up to be approximately $950 million.
While the donations are generous and will be put to good use in rebuilding a worldwide landmark, this particular phenomenon of kindness has turned many heads because of the large sum of money that has come in within such a small amount of time along with the news coverage that the event received. This raises the question of how many other problems across the world could be solved by the wealthy and elite in partnership with corporations that bring in incredible sums of money annually.
CNBC reported in 2017 that the top one percent of earners in the world own over half of the entire world’s population of wealth; a disparity that is only exemplified through massive donations such as those made for Notre-Dame. Many of the world’s most elite families and independent individuals have accumulated enough wealth that they may never be able to spend it all in their lifetimes, yet they abstain from donating to many causes around the world that could help solve serious problems.
For example, the water crisis that has plagued Flint, Michigan for over a decade would take approximately $55 million to solve, according to the Guardian. This amount is only a small portion of what was raised in a few days for Notre-Dame.
When facing these facts the 99 percent is left with only one real message: money can solve almost anything, but it’s those who hold it who make all the decisions.