How Billionaires Control Our Lives
Why should we care about the rich? Besides the obvious interest in their lavish lifestyles, everyone should care about the super wealthy because, in many respects, they control almost every thing we do, every hour of the day.Don't believe it? Follow Alex, a fictional yuppie New Yorker who is admittedly lazy and a bit of a lush.
Why should we care about the rich? Besides the obvious interest in their lavish lifestyles, everyone should care about the super wealthy because, in many respects, they control almost every thing we do, every hour of the day.
Don't believe it? Follow Alex, a fictional yuppie New Yorker who is admittedly lazy and a bit of a lush.
It's Monday morning, exactly 6 a.m. Alex wakes up in her apartment at Donald Trump's West Side Trump Place with a slight headache--the residual reminder of a Patron tequila-induced hangover (thanks, John Paul DeJoria) from a reckless Sunday night with friends. Her iPhone jingles, playing the latest iTunes download, courtesy of Steve Jobs. An hour later, Alex drags herself out of bed.
She steps onto her Sierra Pacific Industries hardwood floors (Archie Emmerson). In a daze, Alex gets ready for work. She showers using Kohler fixtures (Herbert Kohler), purchased last month at Home Depot (Arthur Blank, Bernard Marcus).
Alex tosses on some mascara and lip gloss (Ronald and Leonard Lauder), then throws on some lingerie from Victoria's Secret (Leslie Wexner), a pair of slacks and a cute button-down shirt and sweater set she'd gotten with her mom at the Gap (Fisher family) last fall.
Breakfast is always a crisis of conscience: should she sit down at home and enjoy a honeydew melon and banana from Dole Foods (David Murdock)? Or hurry to work, grabbing a coffee and a Boston cream doughnut from Dunkin' Donuts (Tom Lee, David Rubenstein, Daniel D'Aniello, William Conway) on the way? Since it's Monday and her head is still throbbing, Alex decides on the latter.
Alex is the rare New York driver who avoids public transportation at all costs--any cost. After a silly mishap with her own car over the weekend, she's forced to drive a rented Enterprise sedan (Jack Taylor). She squints at the bright sunlight outside and slips on her Oakley sunglasses (James Jannard).
When Alex finally arrives at her Times Square office (Leon Charney), she has copies of the Daily News (Mort Zuckerman), New York Post and The Wall Street Journal (Rupert Murdoch) waiting for her on her desk. She turns on her Dell computer (Michael Dell), which runs with an Intel processor (Gordon Moore).
Alex is almost through the Page Six gossip column when her overbearing boss pokes his head in, asking her to generate a spreadsheet on Microsoft Excel (Bill Gates). Alex rolls her eyes, but it's 11 a.m. and she might as well start working. She calls a client on her cellphone, run on technology developed by Qualcomm (Irwin Jacobs).
By 11:30 a.m., Alex is hungry and bored. She searches on Google for a new restaurant while watching a hilarious puppy video on YouTube (Sergey Brin, Larry Page). After much ado, she decides to order pizza with her co-workers. Loaded on top: mozzarella cheese from Leprino Foods (James Leprino).
Feeling a bit lethargic after lunch, and not really in the mood for number-crunching or clients, Alex posts pictures of that embarrassing (though funny) Saturday morning car mishap on her Facebook page (Mark Zuckerberg). The digital pics were loaded on a memory card from Kingston Technologies (David Sun and John Tu).
It's 3 p.m. and her boss has gone off to a client meeting. Alex slips a (thin) issue of Vogue (SI Newhouse) from her purse and flips through it.
Later, after checking several stocks on the office Bloomberg terminal (Michael Bloomberg), Alex calls her Schwab broker to make a few trades (Charles Schwab). Great timing: The mailman delivers her paycheck from Paychex (B. Thomas Golisano).
Before getting off the phone with her broker, Alex has spent half her paycheck on self-help books and fitness DVDs on Amazon.com (Jeff Bezos). She considers spending the remainder at WalMart.com (the Walton family), but manages to restrain herself.
Finally, it's 6 p.m.--time to clock out. Alex stops at a gas station (George Kaiser) to refuel her rental car. Before heading home, though, she makes good on her New Year's resolution and goes for a quick jog in Central Park, sporting her brand new Nike gear (Philip Knight).
When she gets home, Alex turns on CNN to catch up on the day's news (Ted Turner). A football junkie, she heads to the neighborhood bar to watch the Dallas Cowboys (Jerry Jones) take on the New England Patriots (Robert Kraft) on Monday Night Football. After the game, she watches The Daily Show and Colbert Report (Sumner Redstone). The cable service is provided by Cablevision (Charles Dolan).
By midnight, Alex is ready to go to sleep. But as soon as her head hits the pillow she starts worrying about her performance review Tuesday, which she didn't prepare for at all. After much tossing and turning, she goes to sleep with the help of a generic sleeping pill bought at a pharmacy serviced by Kinray (Stewart Rahr).
As Alex falls into a deep slumber, hundreds of miles away, her Saturday night dinner is being prepared. Crops and meats are being processed in Ohio. (The Cargill and MacMillan families). Helping them grow faster, larger and stronger: fertilizer produced by Koch Industries (Charles & David Koch).
Meanwhile, documents she sent earlier in the day are being flown to London via FedEx (Frederick Smith). Her local grocery store is being restocked with food brought in on trucks owned by Schneider National (Donald Schneider).
In an hour, the cycle will begin again. This time, for breakfast, Alex will choose to enjoy the fresh fruit. And after the disastrous performance review, she'll decide she needs to spend more time working and less time fooling around.