Daria Radionova, an East European student in London, is upset by low estimates given of her crystal-studded Mercedes CLS 350, which sparkles with 1-million Swarovski crystals.
The Daily Mail reported:
At £55,000 many would consider the Mercedes CLS 350 an extravagance in itself.
But Daria Radionova made her 2014 model even more luxurious, by covering it entirely in Swarovski crystals.
‘I wanted to have something unique and do something special,’ the 21-year-old business student said.
‘The people who did it came over from Russia and worked for 12 hours a day for two months on the car.
However, Radionova sets the record straight via RT:
“I’ve spent around £20,000 [$32,600] for crystals and about £15,000 [$24,500] for the people who’ve done it to the car. But the total price of the car is higher than The Daily Mail said! I can’t say exactly how much it is, because it was a present from my parents, but it should be a lot,” she told RT.
Apparently Radionova is upset, and surprised, by critical comments made about her extravagance… Some commentators at RT perceive this as anti-Russian, believing Americans would somehow be fine if she were a wasteful American, which is laughable. Outside of big cities, Americans despise wasteful bling. (For example, past outrage over a $10 Million Bat Mitzvah.)
We Americans recite Matthew 19:24; We say Radionova is “new money” or hedonistic. And black Americans who spend on bling use a much harsher word to describe themselves. However, I’d like to hold up not an American but Jack Ma, who was not born to riches (thus also “new money”), as a model billionaire.
According to regulatory filings, Ma’s 206.1 million shares could be worth between $13.6 billion and $14 billion at an estimated share price of $66 to $68. Even after Ma cashes in more than $850 million of shares in the IPO, the value of his remaining Alibaba stake will still be greater than Rupert Murdoch’s entire net worth.
And yet the billionaire was noted to be wearing little “bling” (no fancy watch). Ma also has a philosophy:
“To me, I’ve never thought the money I have belongs to me … it belongs to society,” he said.
“If you have a couple of million, you’re a rich guy. We have $10 million to $20 million, it’s capital. Over $100 million, that’s social resources. That’s society giving it to you saying: ‘you guys run it.’ So it’s not my money. I don’t think I can spend it. I can only sleep in one bed. I can only eat three dinners. That’s all. What is money for?”
It wouldn’t surprise me if the real Ma were revealed to be different from the public Ma. But his public persona should be a model regardless. Ma is hobbit-like, humble, bearing his ring of power to Mount Doom.
Ma sounds a little like Southern populist leader Huey Long who proposed a wealth cap of $50 million (not inflation adjusted) in his 1934 Share Our Wealth speech. At some point, billionaires cannot spend it all. The money is then only a means to power or vanity. Populist leaders like Huey Long and Pat Buchanan have heroically attempted non-socialist reforms to expand the American middle class, with minimal government intrusion and growth. Their solutions can be criticised, but their intentions are admirable. Long famously declared he was saving the US from socialism. Judging by the increasing wealth imbalance and likely political reaction to that imbalance, Long will probably be proven correct.
Whatever the politics, a Christian culture does not respect hedonistic lifestyles.
“I have a lot of jewellery – diamonds are a girl’s best friend. That’s why I have a car that looks like it is covered in diamonds. I have them everywhere. I’d like to encrust everything in crystal,” she told The Sun.
“I love shoes, I have hundreds of pairs – my collection is crazy. But only Louboutin and Louis Vuitton, I don’t wear anything else. All my handbags are Louis Vuitton, too. Proper bags. Almost all my clothes are (Tunisian designer) Alaia, which Kim Kardashian likes. People say I could be a Kardashian sister.”
What a clown! I would die of embarrassment.