Too Many Millionaires?
MIKE PESCA, host:
We are back. Welcome back.
RACHEL MARTIN, host:
Who are we?
PESCA: We are the Bryant Park Project from NPR News.
MARTIN: Oh, good. I forgot.
PESCA: Yeah. Online all the time at npr.org/bryantpark, and I would like now to clarify the remarks I made about the Albanians. The Albanians are a fine people - Jim Belushi - John Belushi, Eliza Dushku. I've been to many Albanian-American fundraising events. I did not mean to insult the Albanian people. I was trying to insult the Albanian government, a government that was felled by a pyramid scheme. I think that tells you all you need to know. If it sounds like I'm Rambling...
PESCA: It's because we've come to the part of the show that calls for such Rambling. It's The Ramble.
(Soundbite of music)
MARTIN: That makes sense.
PESCA: I wasn't made to do that apology. I really just wanted to clarify. I'm pro-Albanian.
MARTIN: I know you are.
MARTIN: So does everyone else now.
PESCA: Yeah, OK. Rachel?
MARTIN: Yes, Mike?
PESCA: Have you ever had your cable TV taken away?
MARTIN: Taken away as a punitive measure?
PESCA: Yeah, you know, bad behavior.
MARTIN: No. It was actually the reverse in my household, because we didn't have cable TV. We had a scrambler on the back of the box, so when we were really good...
MARTIN: Then my mom would scramble the scrambler, so we could get "Fraggle Rock."
PESCA: Scramble "Fraggle." Well, in a story totally unrelated to that anecdote...
(Soundbite of laughter)
PESCA: A couple kids in Salt Lake City...
MARTIN: I was born there.
PESCA: Took some interesting measures. Wow, it is related! Sadie and Pyper Vance - great names - ages seven and nine, are suffering from pain at the pump. Here's how it all ties in.
PESCA: Their cable TV privileges were cut, because - let me read from a sign that they made - all of my mom's money goes to the gas tank.
They spelled money, M-O-N-N-Y. They don't have enough money to even buy a vowel, and they said their mom had to cut their cable, C-A-B-E-L. So that's great that they're making signs and making a difference.
MARTIN: Oh, are they...
PESCA: Are they - I don't know. It was kind of funny.
MARTIN: Are they being punished because they can't spell?
MARTIN: I'm confused. Anyway, for the first time in world history, there are - get this - ten million millionaires.
MARTIN: Yeah. It's not you or me. I'll tell you that much. That's the count as of last year, according to a report released yesterday by Merrill Lynch and the consulting firm, Capgemini Group. And a third of those ten million millionaires live in these United States.
PESCA: In these very United States.
MARTIN: In these very.
PESCA: That would indicate that one percent of the population are millionaires.
MARTIN: That's kind of crazy.
PESCA: I disagree. I don't think that could be true.
PESCA: Possibly in terms of net worth, definitely not in terms of income. That's what - that - yes, I would have to clarify.
MARTIN: OK. Stay tuned for that, folks.
MARTIN: The number of millionaires in India is up by 23 percent, according to this report. China and Brazil are stepping up on the wealthy scale as well. If we put this into context, ten million people, the millionaires, that is still less than a fifth of the world's population. That's still kind of a lot.
PESCA: No. It's - also, it's much less than a fifth, 20 percent! These numbers are crazy.
PESCA: Let's see, what would ten million people be? It's like, you know - I don't know.
MARTIN: A million dollars in 2007...
PESCA: It's not even one percent.
MARTIN: Was worth about apparently 762,000 in 1996 dollars, and so there's inflation that adds confusion to the math as well.
PESCA: I think we maybe mean one-fifth of one percent of the world's population. Something like that.
MARTIN: Do you have another story to talk about?
PESCA: Yeah. What we do is we throw numbers at you. So, OK, let's say you're an older guy working in an office brimming with 20-somethings, OK? And sometimes it's tough to maintain control. Well, what do you do? Well, if you're G. L. Hoffman, a serial entrepreneur and venture investor-slash-operator-slash-incubator-slash-mentor, you write an article in U.S. News and World Report offering some tips. I have a tip for him. Get rid of all of those slashes in your title.
Anyway, here's what Senor Hoffman suggests, if you have to manage an office full of young people. One, be yourself. Don't try to be one of the kids. Two, transparency is key. Young employees want to know what's happening. Three, add value. As long as you're adding value to them and their skills, you're OK, choose to ignore this, and they will leave you for someone who will. Four, let them use their media, Facebook, MySpace, IM. OK. Five, they want to trust. They want to trust you and their workplace. They want to believe in you. Tho - I - those are all actually really great tips, and I wouldn't have - that add value part...
PESCA: To me that makes sense. It's not like - don't expect everyone just to be a drudge, expect them to get something more out of the workplace. It probably makes a better workplace. But that "be yourself" tip, in general, that is a horrible tip, almost all the time.
MARTIN: Why? Why?
PESCA: Because everyone is almost always themselves, and I've met half of these people, and they're terrible. So this is the thing, how many - how often is your downfall that you're trying to be someone else? It's that you are yourself, and yourself is not a good guy.
MARTIN: Speak for yourself.
PESCA: Be yourself.
(Soundbite of laughter)
PESCA: When you go on a date, just be yourself. Yeah. That's working out for you. Anyway, take us with the last story will you?
MARTIN: OK. It's wedding season, and tying the knot can be pricey, as everyone knows, especially if you do it in a big, old ceremony kind of thing. A woman in Virginia Beach has a solution. She's a self-described budding hairstylist and her fiancee is a roofer. Kelly Gray says she's always fantasized about her wedding day, she just doesn't have enough cash to make it happen. So she's turning to eBay, apparently.
She's auctioning off the chance - apparently she sees this as a good thing - a chance, the opportunity, to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. It looks like it might be working. There have been 51 - I cannot believe this - 51 bids so far. Have you ever been a bridesmaid, Mike? It not that fun, I've got to say.
PESCA: Never a bridesmaid and never a bride.
MARTIN: Yeah. It's up to 4,250 dollars for the opportunity to do this. The description, you are bidding on an opening to be a bridesmaid at my wedding party, April 19th, 2009, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. There's also a disclaimer on what the cost of being a bridesmaid includes. See, that's the thing, is that you sign on to do this, it's your friend...
MARTIN: You feel like you've got to, it's an honor, and then you end up dropping all this cash, and the party's not that fun, and you end up like saddled into getting people to sign the guest registry.
PESCA: Who doesn't want a tapioca-colored gown that goes with nothing?
MARTIN: That's your Ramble, folks. Links to these stories and a whole lot more available online at npr.org/bryantpark.
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