Wednesday, February 04, 2009

If you had $45 million USA to spare what could you do?

from w
I heard about this in an interview with Peter Singer on the ABC radio - that a painting by a pre-Renaissance artist was sold for over $45 million USA! Wow! Now if you had that kind of money, wouldn't it be better to build ten hospitals in third world countries (even in your name) than just one painting? I am sure that the Siena artist never got much for the lovely little icon painting!

(notes from the internet) Madonna and Child (also known as the Stoclet Madonna or Stroganoff Madonna) is a panel painting by Italian medieval artist Duccio di Buoninsegna. Painted in tempera with gilding on wood panel around the year 1300, it depicts Mary, the mother of Jesus holding the infant Jesus. Including the engaged frame, the work measures 27.9 x 21 centimeters. (So how much is that per square centimeter? Huh?)

In November 2004 the painting was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (Met) for an undisclosed sum, reported to be in excess of 45 million USD, the most expensive purchase ever by the museum. It was the first work by Duccio acquired by the Met, which bought the painting from members of the Stoclet family in order to close a gap in its permanent collections of painting. Works by Duccio, who is considered one of the pre-eminent painters of Sienese medieval painting, are extremely rare, with only a dozen or so known to survive; before the Met's purchase this was the last piece still in private hands. The painting is one of the few Duccio's known to be created as an individual work of art, and not part of an ensemble.

So, does money make the world go around. Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble....

And I read this piece:
The Princeton philosopher, Peter Singer, (originally from Melbourne, Australia) showed just how easy it would be to raise $404bn from just 10% of American families--who would barely notice any hardship in their lives from giving a way a proportion of their wealth. Singer's calculations also used a sliding scale, in which the "super rich" give away the greatest proportion of their income:

* There are 14,400 people in the US earning an annual average of $12,775,000; the minimum annual income of this group is over $5m. Singer says that it would be reasonable for them to give away a third of their income--they could surely still live a comfortable life with at least $3.3m annual income.
* Then there are 129,600 people earning an annual average of $623,000 (and a minimum of $407,000). They could give away 20% of their income and would still have at least $325,000 annual income.
* The next bracket are the 719,900 people with an average annual income of $327,000 (and a minimum of $276,000). "They could comfortably afford to give 15 percent of their income," says Singer.
* Finally, there are almost 13 million people in the US who earn at least $92,000 annually and who could give the traditional tithe and still have $83,000 a year to live off.
Okay, isn't that sufficient income to live? So while the economists and politicians and all doing double somersaults about money, isn't it time for all of us to stop and think what are we making money for! Okay, I"ll get offa my high horse whingin' and preachin' now.

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