METAPHORS OF CHANGE
The Royal Wedding, The Sequel RSVP
ZimbabweCanâ€™t Make It
Fair warning. If you are a fan of the royal family, you may want to skip this post as I occupy the opposite end of the spectrum.
Hmmm, will the residents of Zimbabwe be huddled around their televisions watching â€œThe Royal Wedding: The Sequelâ€ starring Prince William and Kate Middleton? Probably not since most of them canâ€™t afford a television or the luxury of watching it even if they did.
But millions of people around the world will no doubt be glued to their televisions that day to witness the pageantry and the extravagance. Those in the know say that the price tag for the event will likely be around $30 million.
Charles and Dianaâ€™s wedding apparently rang up a tab of $49 million. But a spokesperson for Prince Charlesâ€™s office says that theyâ€™ll be tightening their belt a bit this time around to be respectful of the economic realities of the day.
â€œPrince William and Catherine are very mindful of the economic situation. Itâ€™s something they will bear in mind -- the state of the nation; it is something that will be considered.â€
Iâ€™m sure the people of Zimbabwe will be pleased to hear that the royal family plans to exercise restraint â€“ to the tune of $30 million. Not that affordability is an issue, mind you. The Queenâ€™s personal wealth is estimated to be in the neighbourhood of $475 million.
Why I am drawing Zimbabwe into this discussion? Precisely because Zimbabwe has the dubious distinction of being one of the poorest countries in the world when GDP (gross domestic product) is used as the measure.
GDP is the market value of all final goods and services produced in a year in a country. So letâ€™s put things in perspective. Great Britainâ€™s GDP per capita is about $35,000. Zimbabwe weighs in at $0.1 per capita. Yes, I did put the decimal point in the right place.
It seems to me rather glaringly unjust for Great Britain to fork over $30 million for William and Kateâ€™s wedding when people in the poorest countries in the world live on $2 day or less.
Economists may argue that Iâ€™m overlooking the fact that the royal wedding will reportedly add as much as $995 million to the U.K. economy as consumers spend more on food and drink and tourism revenue increases. But Zimbabwe isnâ€™t likely to see a nickel of that money.
Wouldnâ€™t it be a grand gesture of humanity if the royal family opted to spend only $100,000 on William and Kateâ€™s nuptials and gave the other $29.9 million to the poorest countries in the world starting with Zimbabwe? $29.9 million is, after all, only about 6% of the Queenâ€™s personal wealth.
Iâ€™m not holding my breath that the royal family will take up my suggestion. I expect that William and Kateâ€™s wedding will be a roaring metaphor for unbridled extravagance and a â€œmoney is no objectâ€ mentality.
Zimbabwe has already RSVPed for â€œThe Royal Wedding, The Sequelâ€: â€œSorry, we canâ€™t make it. Weâ€™re too busy too earning our $2 a day.â€
~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of â€œUntil the Deep Water Stills â€“ An Internet-enhanced Novelâ€ â€“ double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michaelâ€™s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.
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