Art & antiques, Luxury cars, Interior & design, Jewellery & watches, Lifestyle, Travel, Boats & Yachts, Private Jets & Helicopters, Fashion & Haute Couture, Investment, Spirits & Haute Cuisine, Cosmetics & Beauty, Home entertainment, sound & vision, Telecom, Hotels & Resorts, Property, Banking & Finance.
This is the description of the wares on offer at the Millionaire’s Fair being held at the Amsterdam RAI on the 11th of December. As the festive season slowly approaches other retailers are nervous about how far consumer spending may actually fall during a period where retail usually thrives on lavish spending. In England the Woolworths chain has already gone into administration, but is holding out a vain hope for a reprieve through christmas spending. Not so, it appears, for the manufacturers of ‘luxury articles’, catering to the millionaire set. The likes of Breitling and Rolex, manufacturers of watches with absurdly high price tags, and Gassan Diamonds, will be among the retailers of this extravaganza of consumption; a fair that has its roots in the nouveau riche barons and industry magnates that appeared after the collapse of the Soviet Union. For five days the RAI will become a giant mall for the very wealthy, at a time when the rest of the world is suffering financial hardship or worse. These are goods and services most of the world has never seen and never will see. The Dutch government is not likely to be too concerned about this, it complements their usual policy of catering to the rich.
The brazen display of mega-wealth clearly represents the kind of economy we now live in: one that depends on continued consumption of unnecessary products to stay afloat. Such an economy can’t afford to stop for anything or anyone. It is also clear evidence that some people still have enough disposable income to buy a helicopter, yacht or a Bugatti. It’s an interesting question as to how these manufacturers and their customers have managed to keep their heads above water, when international financial institutions and car plants are teetering on the edge of complete bankruptcy. It seems things operate differently in the world of the super-rich.
Like all mega-rich escapades, this fair tries to offset itself with the usual token “committment to charity”. As half the world continues to go hungry and many in the industrial West are facing recession and ruin, should we really be thankful that they are putting a little of the money stolen from the world’s real producers towards their “charitable causes”?
A broad socialist-based protest will take place on the 11th December at the RAI. Participants should arrive by 19:30 at the Holland Complex entrance of the RAI in Amsterdam, preferably with whistles and other noisemaking equipment.