A storm is blowing this week after a Swedish business magazine claimed that Bill Gates was no longer the world’s richest person. Not only has Mr Gates been apparently been dislodged from the number one spot, a Swede – the ‘de-facto’ head of flatpack empire Ikea – Ingvar Kamprad, was ‘announced’ as the new richest person in the world.

The insignificance of this is breathtaking. The shallowness of its utterance and the thinking behind it is so incredibly offensive to those with a view beyond the plastic, that it has broken through the otherwise impervious membrane I have developed over the years to the media muck that is dispersed to distract intelligent analysis of events the world should really be informed of.

Undoubtedly many people are gainfully employed to painstakingly research and tote up the figures (perhaps round the results up to the nearest million). Many others are also richly rewarded to care about the result, perhaps discussing the whole ‘race’ at length over coffee. A greater waste of human endeavor by those who are employed to produce it or indeed a more defunct waste of time by those who consume it ,is hard to fathom.

It is not as though there is a shortage of worthy news. Thanks to Messrs Bush , Blair and the Bully boys – there is so much that is worthy of all the space in all the papers of the world and that is in Iraq alone; then there is Afghanistan, Israel, Venezuela….

If that was not enough to occupy their time, perhaps a tiny mention of the devastation of our natural environment by big business’ insatiable appetite for greater profit; or the smallest of newsbytes on the continuing exploitation of women,the abuse of children and man’s continued inhumanity to man, all of this in a world in which all have been declared equal. There is much much more, but you get the point.

Whilst I do not know enough about the two individuals (Mr Gates and Mr Kamprad) to speculate whether they have any personal interest in where they rank in this silly insignificant little list, I do know that Mr Gates’ foundation is the single largest charitable organisation in the world. Almost singlehandedly funding a malaria vaccination and countless aid projects around the world.Whatever his motivation in doing this (at last count his foundation had a $7 billion fund) the results on the ground are what matter. The salvation it brings to the impoverished, the diseased and the hopeless is incalculable.

I am unaware of Mr Kamprad’s charitable work, however Ikea has extensive projects benefiting the environment, UNICEF and the Save the Children fund. So the individuals themselves are not so far removed from the world to be blind to the inescapable suffering that surrounds us all, yet those who strive to shimmer in their brilliance seem unable to see.

I think that within those circles that see the world the way it should be, the way it could be rather than the way it is, we recognise that the compilers of the original rich list (how original is a list that says who has the most? Its been around since the Jones’) and those who further dispute who should be where, are simple mindless sycophants, peddling to the insecurities of other simple mindless sycophants. They are blissfully preoccupied with propping up an illusion of a world awash with money, privilege and affluence. The simple realisation that you cannot eat money or drink diamonds is so simple it is bewildering that they have not picked up on it. Perhaps if/when they do, they will commandeer their media streams to flow with news that uplifts the human condition rather than this insignificant flim flam they currently spew.

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