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King Lear and The King's Men - Lessons on the Slippery Art of Family Governance

King Lear: The History Revealed by Fintan O'Toole, reviewed in The New York Review of Books.

Family Governance for Governing Families. The role of the artist, under a patron. The role of the King's Man. Support, absorb, refactor, and subvert, for the greater good. More power than a Wise Counselor in the traditional Courtier mode. More power than Parliament. Only an all licensed Fool could do more. Were I a wise man I would join Wise Counsel, giving sage advice to families as powerful as our former Monarchs, before we broke from English rule. 

The Wise make good use of literature, as of everything else. If they were wiser yet, they would be Fools. And perhaps The Happy Tutor could show them how. He is a Secular Priest, or actually a real priest, educated at Oxford as a cleric, since under Primogeniture (how our august predecessors beat the proverb, ashes to ashes, and rags to rags), he had to go into the army, become a judge, or be a priest and scholar, with a parish, or a school, or if lazy, as Tutor is, and a drunkard, and carouser, he could set up as a Morals Tutor to his noble neighbor's brats. Mentoring the Heirs, as we now say. The Happy Tutor is also the Lord of Misrule. So are our Wise Counsel, today, if by Misrule we mean the rule of the richest forever. Fool is one thing, Coxcomb, or Villain is another.

In Lear, do we pity the pauper at the base of Fortune's wheel as it turns, or the King at the top who must inevitably fall? When the highest and lowest trade places, 'handy dandy' who goes in ermine, and who in rags? Change places, and who is the thief, and who is the justice? Who is the sighted one? Who is blind?  Who is sane and who mad? Riddle me that, Wise Counsel. But more importantly, can we like Shakespeare, speak truth in riddles to power, and still be awarded our four yards of red cloth to wear the King's livery at court? So far Tutor, buck naked in a Dumpster, must await future delivery. Advantage Wise Counsel.

If I were to write my own Book on Wealth and the Will of God, I would add the epigraph: "Wiser are the Children of Darkness." And believe me, I have learned that to my own cost. Let it be a lesson to us all.

In Wealth Bondage by the Grace of God - A Further Explantion

A learned reader, in the Dynastic Wealth business, following the conversation with Matt Wesley about the meaning of Gifthub, and, for that matter, of Wealth Bondage, writes me to ask, if to understand WB would require a "soteriology of grace." I take the question in good spirit as a sincere desire to plumb the depths of my ouvre. I am reminded of a remark Swift once made, "that a hole may appear wondrous deep, when it is only wondrous dark." Probably, we are all going too deep. But I will try to answer the question. 

To redeem Wealth Bondage and those within it would require a sotieriology of grace, yes, a miracle, an awakening.  I had to look it up on Wikipedia, to know what soteriology is. I misread it as being derived from sortilege. Such is my relationship to grace, more like a man blowing on a prayer wheel, bought in an arcade, or casting cards to read a fortune. Wealth Bondage, as a wise reader once noted, is The Garden of Earthly Delights, or Edmund’s  Spenser’s Garden where Circe keeps the sailors, including Ulysses, enchanted. When the magic is lifted, one sailor, Grylle says he wants to remain a pig. “Let Grylle be Grylle and have his hoggish mind” says the narrator. In other words, Wealth Bondage is life seen by moderns as a Free Market where all is for sale, and the most apt language is always financial (social investment, social return, four human capitals including wisdom, love, spirituality, whatever is a pearl beyond price). Wealth Bondage is vulgarity in all its forms. It is the alpha and the omega, the source and end of all being. There is no 'outside' of it, because it represents the limits of our moral imagination.

Paradise, as some Wealth Advisors call it, where the wealthy go, and try to stay, unless deported back to the harsh realities that govern lesser lives, seems to me to be a form of Wealth Bondage. (It is also a brilliant book, Strangers in Paradise, perhaps the best book in the field in many years, on how to maintain dynastic wealth over generations, a goal unworthy of its author, it seems to me, and one from which he may some day awaken, by the grace of God, or by falling on his head, if he trips, but a common goal in the field we call "Family Governance.") That vision of an isolated Paradise  reminds me of Circe’s Garden. It also reminds me of the Floating Islands of Lagodo in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, or the blue light across the bay for which Gatsby yearns. Petronius’s Satyricon, apparently, was among the sources for Fitzgerald. “They said you was high class” sang Elvis, “But that was just a lie. You ain’t nothin’ but a hounddog.” In other words, if not grace, then laughter. When it works right, laughter is not laughter at another (a form of boundary maintenance, a way of casting others out), but inclusive, a recognition of a shared humanity, fallible, and physical, and temporal. (If Dr. Grubman's view of paradise for the rich, apart from the rest of humankind, is healed not by grace, may it be laughter, not at anyone, but among us all, in a great wave of civic friendship, binding us all, high and low, as we all exchange roles, handy dandy, Lord to Beggar and back.)

Drawing on Greek thought, Martha Nussbaum reminds us that Goodness is as Fragile as an earthly garden; it fails unless tended, and may fail even if tended. Beyond our reason or frail powers, is fate, destiny, providence, chance, and moral luck.  I play up the Christian on Gifthub more than I have any right to do. But the Gospels are familiar, and Spenser, Nussbaum, Petronius, Shakespeare, Swift,  Fitzgerald, not so much. I believe all things pass, and that dynasty, the dream of it, is at conspicuous variance with every wisdom tradition. It is like trying to stop Fortune’s wheel from turning, or to halt time at mid-summer. “Remember man that thou are dust and into dust thou shalt return.” “Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.” “All things are sliding under the moon.” “Nothing gold can stay.” The vanitas tradition. "Vanity, saith the Preacher, all is Vanity." The lesson of Carnival, or Vanity Fair. The lessons of Lent and Mardi Gras. The lesson as common as graves, and as hard to accept.

We are all brothers and sisters under the costumes. The king will become a pauper and the pauper a king as the wheel of fortune turns, as the seasons turn, as the generations pass, as we all like chimney sweepers come to dust, in Shakespeare’s lyric.  What makes me better? What makes me so special? Who am I to point fingers? Who am I to give instruction? Whatever Wise Counselors to Flourishing Dynastic Families have done, I have done worse and for less money. I am a fool, a failure, a man who once had shirtsleeves and now has none. That is the persona here, or alternative identity, or me under my own name, pretending to be me. Grace may come, but “Phil,” the speaker on Gifthub, the Hack, has no ability to pray. The nearest priest, Father Brennan, has been defrocked, for reasons  the Church has never made public, under the terms of the settlement. Brennan, now a secular priest, is no help whatsoever. He channels neither grace nor wisdom. He is a toxic healer, carrying the plague, or pox, from house to house, or scene room to screen room, in the darker satire of WB, where it draws on Genet’s scabrous “The Balcony,” where the Bishop is the Whore’s horsey, and the theme is the abuse of power, under the Nazi occupation in Paris,  and its erotic delights, considered as a parable of the deranged body politic.  Brennan has promise. I tell him if he enjoyed it more, sinned bigger and more boisterously, it could count as satire, and he might not go to jail, even if he is ultimately caught with his pants down, yet again.

You can see I find it painful to be so literal, so humorless. Brennan may be a sinner, but he deserves his privacy. Who am I to out him? And it is an insult to the Ideal Reader to whom my words are always addressed, as if the Ideal Reader required a cribsheet, like a schoolboy who has barely read the Text. As Dr. Amrit Chadwallah, Senior Adjunct in Charge of Hidden Meaning, here in Wealth Bondage, said to me in the bar last night, after work, “Did you really have to do that? Make up all that stuff about your sources? It is your whole intellectual history, plus a lot of books you never read, the ones I lent you and you never gave back, the ones Tutor reposes on in the Dumpster. Are these people really unable to read Gifthub without being told what it means? I thought you said they were the world class  super-smarties. What were their Board Scores? Where did they prep? Their parents should ask for a refund. This blog is hardly AP English Material.”

Explaining a joke is not funny. Explaining the explanation, risks starting all over again with a new joke. Satire works best, I believe, when sublimated. Naming names, or coming too close to real people, as with Fr. Brennan a moment ago, or explaining all the allusions, symbolism, conceits, subplots, and subtext, and the inter-textuality of it all, strips from her the disguises in which naked truth most decorously appears, and brings it back to the ancient dance of the priest and the goat, with the priest wearing the flayed skin of the sacrificial goat that the priest will become, if the laugh goes against him.  The only person I can heal is me, and I am sick unto death like all the others. If I feel I am any better, then I am the Pharisee who kneels to thank God that God has not made him like other men.

I have no paying clients. ( That may surprise some of you.) If I required steady patronage, as opposed to foraging in garbage bins and sleeping rough, I could not write like this. “The bow is bent, make from the shaft,” as Lear says to the Fool who crosses him by speaking truth, even in jests and pantomime, which is the Fool’s job.  This upside down, inside out, style is only learned in brokenness and surrender, writing under surveillance, as one vulnerable to reprisal, by my immediate superior or the higher-ups. 

My resume went for a time straight up, then straight down. All the way up to Gothic Quadrangles with high windows, and a Porter at the Gates, with a Master's Garden, where once I sat with with my own Morals Tutor, discussing Wittgenstein, and all the way down to teaching insurance sales in Birmingham, AL, in a yellow-tinted training room with no windows, and, it seemed, no way of escaping. I have had years, decades, without a voice, or an educated thought partner, other than the many figments of my addled imagination, like Dr. Chadwallah, The Happy Tutor,  and Richard (Dick) Minim, of the East Coast Minims,  the heir to the Hyena Dog Chow Fortune, and now Senator (D) from MA. I said Brennan is real,  and he is. But that is not his real name. And he was not a priest, but some kind of veterinarian. He just pretended to be a priest to seduce women.

I appreciate readers trying to understand me, like the Doctors did at the Asylum for Lunatic Counselors to Dynastic Wealth, before the insurance lapsed, and I was turned back out on the street. I hope I have not hurt or offended any real advisors to serious wealth, particularly any wise and virtuous ones. They are rare and worth their weight in gold. (In fact, that is how they determine their annual retainer, at least in the Emirates, by sitting in one pan of a scale, like the scales of justice, while the client heaps gold in the other pan, or so I heard, maybe in my alcoholic dreams.) This is about wisdom traditions, not us. The traditions speak, when conjured, but the spirits who come are not always gracious. Mine I fear, or know, are from below.

I hope we are now good with my most educated, best placed, readers, with no offense taken. You are honorable people. Wealth Bondage, The Den of Iniquity, would never hire you. I checked your websites. You are on the up and up. I would like to be cordially included in the best circles, your circles, or tolerated on the margins, or if cast out with the trash, gently, so as not to awaken The Happy Tutor, who is sleeping it off with Dr. Rabelais in the Dumpster, after sneaking into the Costume Ball  in Paradise Hall last night, having gone as Doctors, in hooded robes, resplendent Scholar’s garb, from the Dark Ages.  Judging from their noonday stupor, I guess it must have been quite a party. I hope some day to be invited. Then I will see for myself. At this point I am just making it up, as you can probably tell.  

Understanding Satire

Satire in ancient times was surgery without anesthetic, for the pleasure of the surgeon and the benefit of the patient. Today, it is more like painless dentistry. Under laughing gas, the patient feels no pain.

This is not to say that a satirist is always a butcher. It is just that a satirist must first reform himself. And if you think sawing into your own skull is easy, in a mirror, you will never master our noble trade. Satirists, like psychologists, are often the sickest of them all. We go into it to cure ourselves, at least we should start there.

The last thing you need, if you are already healthy, wealthy and wise, is Wise Counsel, so it seems to me, since you have it all already. A healthy person is more likely to get sick in a hospital than at home. And why would you pay for what you already have in abundance? By the same token who would want a Fool or Knave as a client? I would, but I am desperate for any paying customers at all. I can't even give it away pro bono publico. It doesn't take a genius to see why.

In a Castle by The Sea - The Backstory on Tutor

Times change. In olden days, under primogeniture, it was easier than now for a noble family to flourish for many generations, since assets (land, knights, ladies in waiting, livestock, servants, tapestries, treasure, peasants, hunting dogs, armor, fine plate) were not disbursed through many lineages, but kept as one. Tutor in that era was a kind of dual passport serving-professional. He was both of noble birth himself (the second son of a country squire), and also a morals tutor to a noble family. (He had gone to Oxford, and gotten a degree in Divinity.) 

Last night, in an old National Geographic, Tutor, as we bedded down for the night, came across a photo of his old castle, or more correctly that of his Lord and Master, whose name is now but a footnote in history, though Tutor lives on, through this Blog, immortal. The Great Hall, the Master Bedroom, the Kitchen, the Dungeons, the Chapel, are all empty. The moat is full of water, but the drawbridge has collapsed. Once, Tutor told me, long ago, when the young lady of the castle was ill, Dr. Rabelais himself came when sent for. "Whether he made her better or worse," says Tutor, "she was never again the same, but  seemed much happier.  Apparently she was better, but she was always asking her mother to send for him again, so whatever she had, it must have been chronic." Apparently, no one lives there now but ghosts. It may be sold, the article says, to a hedge fund manager or a Silicon Valley entrepreneur for some large fraction of a billion, pounds, euros or dollars, I don't know which. Since the article was from two years ago, it probably already was sold.

Times change, but not human nature. Today's highest level families, like those in the olden days, need Moral Mentors. "Even today, a degree in Divinity," says Tutor, "is the gold standard. Charles Collier, Matt Wesley, Paul Schervish, Keith Whitaker. They are following in my footsteps, as best they can, not being themselves of noble birth." Tutor, long since past his prime, naked and regal on his garbage-sacks of old books, snug in our Dumpster at the Corner of Wealth and Bondage, as drunk as a lord, dreams of making a come back.

"I know that Castle, every back stair, every secret passage, every dungeon, each stall in the stables, the altar in the chapel, the confessional. I knew the mason who hewed the first foundation stone. I know the peasant who died laying it, and whose skeleton may still lie there, for all I know. The Bible has not changed a bit, though I hear it has lately been translated into the vulgate. And I can still dance a jig. Yes, My Lord. No, My Lord. Why not mentor the new heirs as we did the old? In those days we did have families that flourished for a lot more than 100 years. Some  I mentored ruled the yeomanry and basically owned the peasants for a thousand years. The knights swore fealty on their knees touched by their Master sword." He started to tell me how he mentored the heirs, but I can't repeat on a blog devoted to passing on Family Values, under current conditions, except in the more traditional Christian Families, where the old ways are still accepted as the best way, and most of those families are not rich enough to keep a private Parson on retainer.

I told Tutor he has a lot reading to do if he is to qualify or stand out against the burgeoning competition. "Rabelais?" He asked, or "Mother Goose? Aesop? La Fontaine? La Bruyere?"  "No," I said, "maybe Virgil, but nothing funny, obscene, or silly, except maybe Chaucer, and nothing too cryptic. Today's ultra high net worth clients are not so good with hidden meanings." With that he assumed the most scholarly face imaginable, and rose up as if to preach a sermon, or give a scholarly lecture, buck naked, tipsy, pompous as could be. A quite convincing priest or scholar, except for the high-flown nonsense that came out of his mouth. And of course it made me laugh. I can't imagine how even in the Dark Ages a guy like that passed for credible. "The title of my sermon," he intoned is, "The Proper Use of Riches, and my subtitle is Human Flourishing, or Paradise on Earth, How to Obtain and Retain it, Best Practices of the Wise, Virtuous and Wealthy in all Eras from Ancient Times to the Present."  Maybe a thousand years ago, in the Dark Ages, he got away with it as the younger son of  noble family, but today our clients expect us to wear clothes.

Red or blue pill, Sire?

Generally, in pitching the world's wealthiest families on my (as yet unsuccessful) Moral Tutoring shtick, I don't get past the butler, the trusted advisors, and the most trusted advisor, let alone the man of all work, or even the chambermaid, the chauffeur, or the teller of fortunes; and when I chase the limousines, naked and barefoot, to make the pitch, they generally just speed off, before I can outline my Value Proposition. But in imagination, so I can be ready when given an opening, if ever I get one, I have honed the my Elevator Speech to one poignant question:

Sir (or Madame or Sir and Madame), would your prefer blue pill or red pill ethics? For you? Your children? The general populace?

As you probably know, blue pill ethics are the ethics of sheep touted by Shepherds who have a vested interest in fresh lamb and fleece. Red pill ethics, as you probably know, are rooted in the Dark Triad of Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy associated with thinkers as diverse as Castiglione, Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Aynn Rand, or Leo Strauss. It is the philosophy of the Superman or Superwoman, the Master or Mistress of the Universe. Not the lamb, but the wolf.

My thought is that whichever pill the Dynastic Family prefers - and who am I to judge as Morals Tutor to America's Wealthiest Families,  I am here to serve -- I conduct values exercises, and create a family mission statement that will work within their preferred modality. As high sounding, hypocritical, self serving, BS, in the red pill genre, while I work behind the scenes to tutor the young prince or princess in the wised up real values; or, in the unlikely event the family had swallowed the blue pill, and never wised up, I could just use the family values verbatim as cornpone for the consumption of heirs under the age of reason, until they were prepared for a more esoteric lesson.

I would have liked to think that my specializing in red pill Mentoring would set me apart from the claque of Trusted Advisors, and Most Trusted Advisors, doing Family Values work, since all I ever see out there for family values statements are pretty much cornpone, but I have come to see that this could be the work of red pill families properly coached. I, too, if I had a client, and sincerely wished to serve them well, would want a corny mission statement to face the world, while behind the scenes the children were taught the skills (Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy) correlated with success at the level of Statecraft, or the preservation of a family's net worth far exceeding that of the Padua, Venice, or Florence.  

I fear that at times Gifthub has often been hopelessly idealistic, citing the Gospels and other blue pill philosophies, and this might seem to disqualify me from teaching Ethics to The World's Finest Families, but I would like to state for the record that I am flexible when it comes to ethics as a practical matter. There is no better disguise for guile than a little scripture here and there, or a bit of philanthropy. My responsibility as Wise & Virtuous Fiduciary to UHNI's is to elicit Family Values, paper them up, paper them over, and get things done. For those who are put off by my show of ethics, please be assured that my only colleagues and friends, here in Wealth Bondage, are among the dregs of humanity, whose ethics are demonstrably worse than even than those of our best clients. How bad are my ethics? My friends say that even in our Bordello, in our most debauched moments, I am considered louche, or would be if I were allowed to play a role larger than handing out towels in return for tips, as I do now. If my ethics are not bad enough to be a morals coach, I can do worse. If only I had the money, Sir, or Madame, or Sir and Madame, as the case my be.

Secular Priest, Adoptive Son, and Consigliere in a Great Family

You remember Fr. Francis (Frank) Brennan, the defrocked priest who disappeared from Wealth Bondage (proud sponsor of  Gifthub) along with a case of communion wine, and an altar boy, from the Wealth with Wisdom Scene Room? He called me on a stolen cellphone to catch up. Apparently, he has landed on his feet as Consigliere to a Great Family from South America. I asked Father Frank what his duties entail. He said as "the most trusted advisor," he is responsible for the family mission statement, and maintaining family values, wisdom, and hence wealth across generations. I knew all that; it is just the textbook stuff that all Consiglieres do. In The Godfather, Tom is an attorney but almost an adoptive son. Father Brennan said he is drawing up the adoption papers for signature once he "makes his bones." As with Tom, Fr. Brennan may have to, as he puts it, "execute against plan," by making certain recalcitrant types "an offer they can't refuse." (Remember the movie producer waking up next to the severed head of his prized thoroughbred horse?) I was confused about this, and how it reconciles with Family Values, Family Mission Statement, the Gospel of Wealth, and the Will of God on Earth, to which Great Families are devoted and from which they ultimately derive their legitimacy in the eyes of the Almighty and the General Public. Then I recalled in The Godfather series that not only the family but the Church, as well as the police and the judiciary, and Senators, are corrupt to the core. Family Values, religiosity, family capitals, come down in the end (in the film, not in real life) to patronage. Favors traded, rings kissed, large bodies of cash, rule outside the rule of law by oligarchs and their friends. For this to be credible we need a Secular Priest and in this role Fr. Brennan is second only to the very best in this field. I do not want to name any names because the list of those calling themselves Consigliere to a Great Family runs several pages long, and includes some of the most respected figures in the field, known for sagacity and virtue. I do not want to make invidious distinctions as to their relative merits. The Monk Rasputin was the best historically, and it took many bullets, a hatchet, and an unknown number of bayonets, to bring him down, before the Tsar his client fell, and his family too, into the pit under a hail of bullets, some bouncing off the children's vests sewn with diamonds, but many getting through. Brennan has enough sense to take the last helicopter out of the compound before it falls, if his escape from Wealth Bondage, one step ahead of the law, and several of his wives, is any indication. It was good to hear from Brennan. I am glad all is going well.

Ministering to A Fenced Flock

From a Prison Chaplain:

A chaplain carries many of the same duties as a congregational pastor, but the nature of his or her fenced flock requires training and relational talent.

To walk the condemned lamb to execution is one of the duties, I gather. As bad as some of my own Morals Tutorial clients are, I don't know if would have the relational talent to accompany them to the gurney, unless it paid well.

Father Ambrose and Your Esteemed Editor Sort The Values Deck

Father Ambrose, a defrocked Episocopalian minister (he was caught nipping at a hip flask of communion wine during a funeral of drug lord turned philanthropist prior to being gunned down by a cross town rival) and I met for old times sake last night with The Happy Tutor in his famous Dumpster at the corner of Wealth and Wall where I find some of my best clients in Wealth Bondage: America's Great Freedom Machine. Tutor was drunk as a Lord and had us all sorting "Values Cards," to as he said, paint our moral self portrait. This is a self serving exercise that I have often used myself to break the ice when brought in to do a family meeting for Persons of Signficance and their dynastic progeny. I get them to all agree on their Family Values. Then I build a gift plan to flatter whatever virtues they may share. They feel affirmed; I pocket a goodly fee. It is a value added kind of situation all around. It is easy money and I get tons of referrals to other wealthy nincompoops.

So, I sorted the cards, thinking nothing more of it than if I were in a focus group defining my moral identity for purposes of brand development. I recall putting "courageous" at the top of my deck, with "paragon," second, and "refined" third. Then, what do I to see but a Joker in my deck, "Hypocrisy Incarnate." Well, I took some offense to that as you might imagine. The mere inclusion of such a phony values card, in what is supposed to be a serious exercise, I found offensive and likely to subvert the fellow feeling and amore propre that such an exercise is meant to promote. I flipped the offending card to the bottom of my deck and turned a "hairy eyeball" on Tutor. But the worst was yet to come.

Tutor had me and Father Ambrose exchange decks, and sort the decks to reflect our view of each other. I always try in my dealings with others to be open and honest. It is one of my virtues, if not the second most important no less than fourth out of a deck of 52. So, in good conscience, to be true to myself and to be fair to Father Ambrose who should be made to know the truth of himself, I had to put the Joker at #1 in my view of Father Ambrose's operative value system. The man is a sanctimonious hypocrite if ever there was one, always on about my drinking, raising his voice to lecture me with his own breath reeking of alcohol! Well, can you believe that he in his turn put the Joker topmost for me? As if the pot were calling the kettle black. Needless to say, Father and  I, both being a bit tipsy, soon came to blows, as Tutor raised his glass to toast what he called our "fine show of animal spirits."

As for the Drug Lord, may he rest in peace, his last will and testament left all to the Church. The Sacristy has been named in his honor, with his marble bust erected beside the Confessional. Gold God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. The Drug Lord was a good client of mine and I am pleased that I was able to facilitate his Lasting Legacy. I also had my client buy off the litigants in the lawsuit for preaching sobriety while intoxicated against Father Ambrose, for all the thanks I ever got for that. But Virtue, I have found, is its own Reward. If it be Thy Will, Most Merciful God, may Father Ambrose burn in hell for his hypocrisy.

Blended Value: Bad Plus Good = Good Enough for You

Britain to impose a one time tax on banker bonuses. This strikes me as a cosmetic fix. Why not escrow the tax money and provide ongoing consensual or nonconsensual moral counseling? We have a problem with corporate ethics. Why not measure and manage our way  to a specific, year by year reduction in total corruption in high places? Surely, some foundation in the US could fund such a public spirited effort? I wonder if Wealth Bondage Private Client Services Group could qualify as a Mission Aligned Investment for Gates Foundation or Hewlett? Maybe Jed Emerson can help us develop a balanced scorecard or blended value grid to guide our efforts in reducing total corporate corruption? Otherwise, we in philanthropy are really just toadying to the powers that be, and their delusions of wisdom and virtue. How can our complicity in this moral morass produce a blended value proposition that is worth a tinker's curse? Don't we honestly have to start with an agreement on the total acceptable level of corporate corruption, an annual goal for reducing it, and best practices, like the pillory, tarring and feathering, or the cropping of noses and ears, or branding of the forehead, that we can effectively and efficiently promulgate at low cost, through social networks? How about zero tolerance for corporate malefactors and those who aid and abet them?

A Philanthropy Budget for Countess Marie Douglas-David?

A Countess divorcing a tycoon breaks down  her need for $53,000 week:

Mortgage and maintenance fees and rent for the Park Avenue penthouse, the Hamptons retreat and properties in Sweden account for $27,300 a week, according to a financial affidavit she filed with the court. And then there's travel ($8,000), clothing ($4,500), a personal assistant ($2,209), horse care ($1,570), domestic help ($1,480), entertainment and restaurants ($1,500), health and skin care ($1,000), dry cleaning ($650), flowers ($600) and a trainer ($250).

The personal assistant at $2,209 made me cringe. I had applied for that job, emphasizing my Morals Tutoring experience, and holding myself out as a specialist in helping families flourish, but I never got past the screening interview.  I was willing to do the trainer job, plus chauffeur and would have thrown in the Morals Tutorials, and mucking out the stables,  for nothing, but I was assured that her moral well being was well managed, by herself personally. It did not take a moment's thought, I was told, it just came naturally, unlike diet, exercise, personal grooming,  fashion, food preparation, flower arranging, and horse care.

In philanthropic planning, we work with clients to figure out "how much is enough for the donor," or for the donor, spouse and heirs, and then we talk about philanthropy for wealth beyond that point. Nice to see that $53,000 a week does not reach that threshold. Zero here for giving, not even a dime for some religious organization, or a passing beggar. Maybe if she got $100,000 a week she might have enough to fund a small charitable gift now and again? A Botox Foundation or something for the poor? I may approach her to propose free morals tutorials for the angry mob outside her door. The riffraff who read the tabloids  should know better than to judge their betters. Envy is a sin.