Wealth and Power

Last week, I went for a walk past Hama Rikyu Gardens. And just in case you've never heard of Hama Rikyu Gardens before, let me give you a little intro. To start with, it's a garden (duh). It's located on a 250,216 m² artificial island, first constructed for the imperial family in the 1600s. It was built with hands and god-damn shovels. And it got me thinking.

Who in today's world could convince enough people to work for enough hours to quarry that sand and stone by hand, cart it to the coast by hand, build a huge artificial island by hand, and then build a beautiful park as the cherry on top? Like, literally. There are cherry blossom trees on it.

Xi Jinping probably could. Putin probably could too – look, the workers don't have to be happy about it. I figure Bezos could if he suddenly decided he'd rather have a hand-made garden island instead of one of the world's largest companies. Hell, Musk probably could too, all it’d take is convincing a bunch of wealthy chumps that funding his garden island would somehow save the planet.

But President Biden? Probably not. Your wealthy uncle? It's unlikely. Internet celebrities? Tell 'em they're dreaming.

It's funny. 4 billion of us own a magical glass window to all the information the world has ever known, and a billion of us own a vehicle that can tirelessly take us wherever we need to go. If you’re reading this, then you probably have more wealth than history's greatest kings could ever have dreamed of. But power? It’s something else entirely, and it's as rare today as it ever has been.