Gilded Giving by Chuck Collins, et. al: Charitable gifts from those above $100,000 income up by 40% over ten years. From those under $100,000 of income, down 34%. From donors with $10 million of income or more, up 100%.
On another note, a new book Brazillionaires: Wealth, Power, Decadence, and Hope in An American Country. It is about a Banana Republic, not Ancient Rome, nor the US, but it does demonstrate the worldwide appeal of Wealth and Wisdom Consulting to oligarchs: Wise Counsel about avoiding the proverb about going from Shirtsleeves to Shirtsleeves in three generations, tips on sorting values cards, and writing family mission statements with Principle, Virtues, or Values at the top where gilded Minerva stands with Bow and Arrow, down to Policies, Politics, and Procedures in the middle, and Peons at the bottom. Family Governance, in which Daughter and Son in Laws are mentored in the Art of Five Capitals, one of which is Social Capital, or the art of milking the Body Politic for Emolument, which is another Capital, along with Taste, Virtue, and Spirituality.
On a more hopeful note, I am back home in the Dumpster at the Corner of Wealth and Bondage, where I ply my unsavory trade as Morals Tutor to America's Wealthiest Families, having watched the Inauguration in the Casino Bar, having lost a month's begging take at the slots, which are for me addictive, and self-destructive, like blogging when drunk, or hung over, like now. At least our guy won! Uppity Women are back where they belong. We the little people, the off-scourings of global capitalism, have risen again! I may be poor and stupid, vicious, mean-spirited, and a Christian, but I at least am a white man, and I can prove it.
In the Casino, patterned on a Roman Villa, with plaster statues of Emperors, Angels, and Whores, with the waitresses half naked in togas, and the free drinks, thank God!, I was wondering about Taste, under various dispensations, particularly democracy, aristocracy, autocracy, socialism, or fascism. It seems we all have it, some good taste, some bad. As we the Downtrodden People Return to Power, it seems only right that Bad Taste will prevail, since it is the most democratic. Here, naked, accosting my betters, offering Moral Advice for free, when its true value is priceless, I am living up to my own ideals, those of the worst possible taste. (If Casinos can offer Free Drinks and Buffet, why not Wisdom and Virtue, too? You might think so, but they let the Whores in and threw me out.)
The guy in the book, the one counseling Brazillionaires, on Creating a Family Dynasty, has a fine suit, crisp tie, a good education, high motives, and excellent taste. I can only speak for myself. I am a Hack, a Stooge, Whore, Loser. I am a disgrace to our Noble Trade. I sold my birthright for a mess of potage, and now that it's gone, and I am hungry again, with no virtue left to sell, and no wisdom worldly enough to go on the market. But if someone - maybe you, Sir - could be my Patron, I could revolutionize taste, installing Casinos in place of Colleges, and a Pawnshop where once we had Town Libraries, like Greek Temples, provided to the public by Andrew Carnegie. Unless bad taste, and corruption, well counseled, by a Knave like me, prevails, how can we the people be united at last? A small donation to help bad taste grow to scale, Sir? Your name on my Dumpster? A statue of you on a stick? Your face in profile like the Emperor stamped on a counterfeit coin.