Editorial: No time for envy or smugness

What a life it must be to be a Candy boy.

by Matthew Gwyther, MT Editor
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Swanking around in Knightsbridge and on the Cote, easing the 148ft yacht Candyscape 1 out of its mooring as you try to flog your flats at One Hyde Park - 'Fifty-eight million to you, squire'. Hanging on the beach in Barbados, chewing the fat with your mate Philip Green.

The Candys are a reminder that while much of the western world struggles with the age of austerity, up there in the stratosphere, the world of the super-rich carries on regardless. As Nick Candy notes of his clients: 'They're affected by the recession but not in the same way the average UK punter is affected. Their worth may have gone down, say, from £10bn to £6bn or £1bn to £500m.'

It's hard for us poor saps, but we shouldn't get chippy about this. Never mind their dubious taste and occasional vulgarity - that's none of our concern. Envy is an ugly emotion, and marching them all off to the guillotine resolves little. As long as Flash Harrys pay their taxes - and some do - and spend a decent proportion of their wealth in the UK, we all benefit eventually.

Neither should we suffer an excess of Schadenfreude at the currency trials in the eurozone. Matthew Lynn's piece paints a grim future for the single European currency and exposes the naivety of many of its founding principles. But the demise of the euro would not necessarily be good news for us, the eurozone's smug and semi-detached neighbours. You may get a cheaper holiday in Greece or Portugal, but the economic turmoil caused by a change to a two-speed Europe, with these countries returning to a cheaper drachma and escudo, would set back the recovery of all European economies with a jolt.

Far more solid than the euro at the moment is the international fertility or baby-making business. It's a global phenomenon. At any time, frozen sperm, eggs and fertilised embryos are winging their way across the globe by FedEx. Fertility treatment is a business with more than a million customers and revenues of $3bn a year in the US alone. Top-quality eggs - from an Ivy League university student, say - cost about $60,000. Renting a surrogate mother costs about $69,000.

This is because you can have all the yachts and Bentleys and £58m flats in the world but if you don't have the ultimate consumer durable - offspring - you'll pay anything to get some. And that applies to people of modest means as well.

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