Picture a blue whale, a creature perhaps over one hundred feet long and weighing one hundred and seventy tonnes, with a heart more than twice as heavy as me and possibly you. This is the largest animal that has ever lived on the history of the planet. It is the mass of about 2,500 average adult humans.
Blue whales depend on plankton to live. They eat Krill, small crustaceans, which in turn depend on phytoplankton, tiny plants that live in the surface waters converting the nutrients dissolved in the water to biomass using the energy of sunlight.
Phytoplankton are often limited because they use up the available nutrients, and when things die in the surface water rather than decomposing in situ, they tend to sink to depths where light does not reach and photosynthesis does not happen.
However, in this huge volume of dark water the nutrients and dead animals do get scavenged, consumed, reused and become various other kinds of deep water plankton.
Blue whales eat this too. They dive hundreds of metres below the surface into the cold and dark, collecting tonnes of this scattered biomass. Then they return to the surface where they release great plumes of shit (which floats)¹. Like farmyard manure this adds nutrients back to the surface waters where the greatest productivity happens.
Blue and other whales grow huge, and in doing so also add greatly to the richness of the seas.
Now imagine another whale. This one makes a blue whale look tiny. This one weighs seventy eight million tonnes, and is about one and a half miles long.
Can you imagine that whale floating in the sky over the city of your choice? Casting shadows from the Eiffel tower to Nôtre Dame.
If imagining that whale floating over you makes you anxious, consider that this whale is also constipated. That’s how it got so big.
That whale is Jeff Bezos.
The size of the whale shows the scale of Jeff Bezos² wealth compared to the average wealth of humanity. Around him a school of other mega whales, not as big for sure but scales of magnitude larger than any biological whale.
Right now those mega whales the super rich are getting bigger while in terms of wealth much of humanity is getting smaller³. The super rich do that by making constipation a virtue.
I realise that I am far from the first person to suggest the world would be a better place if the super rich distributed just small percentages of their wealth strategically.
Smarter people than me have tried to reason with the super rich, ruder people have insulted them,angrier people have demonised them, and riskier people attacked them. Nobody has made much of a dent so far. They are getting richer.
Socialism was in many ways a massive whale hunt (and the 20th century whale hunts left the oceans poorer). Personally, I’m not against whales or wealth⁴. It’s the constipation I find distressing, as much for the bloated whale as the ocean turning to desert around it.
It’s just a silly dream, but imagine a world in which whenever a super rich person met someone, they are called or compared to a constipated whale. Not fawned on, or hated. But simply labelled as constipated whales⁵. That this became the way the media portrayed the super rich. It’s a pretty visceral image, could it reach them in a different way.
Perhaps, just perhaps they would wonder at the sphincter strain of holding on, and just begin to find some more pleasure in letting go.
Spread the word.
Jeff Bezos is a constipated whale. Let go a little Jeff, you can distribute that fertility.
² You can query my calculations, which are out of date since starting the article— essentially based on the average worldwide wealth of $10000 per person compared to Jeff Bezos at $112 billion and average person being my size at 70kg. The whale would be vastly bigger if I used the world’s poorest as a comparison. Anyway even if I got the size wrong the image still holds.
Since starting the article Jeff gave a way 10 billion for cimate change. Well done Jeff, a good start. Then with Covid he put on how many billion?
⁴ I have helped make Jeff infinitesimally richer by letting him sell my books
⁵ Bill Gates and Warren Buffet get to simply be whales, given what that they give.