On April 17, the Notre Dame was engulfed in smoke. Consequently, many different parts of the 850-year-old ancient temple were burned down. Worldwide, people watched the beloved Paris Cathedral catch fire and its spire collapse on itself. Outpourings of moral and financial support rapidly came from around the world as so many people have meaningful connections to Paris.
According to Business Insider
, as concluded by the Global Destination Cities Index, Paris, France, was the third most visited city in 2018. As such, people have memories of Notre Dame, a prime tourist location. However, as a result of this tragedy, these memories quickly became covered with debris. The horrific event was a starling remainder that the Notre Dame was nothing more than bricks. Most importantly, this calamity caused people to remember that there are some forces in the universe that people are powerless to stop.
Within hours, over $700 million was raised in donations for the historical church. After two days, more than $1 billion was pledged to help build the cathedral.
Although this is wonderful, the fact that such a large amount of money was raised in such a short amount of time has sparked a debate about whether rebuilding the cathedral is worth it.
To give an instance, Philippe Martinez, head of the CGT trade union was quoted by The Washington Post
saying, "If they can give tens of millions to rebuild Notre Dame, then they should stop telling us there is no money to help with the social emergency."
More examples include countless users on social media. Carl Kinsella
tweeted "With a click of their fingers, TWO French billionaires have given €300million to restore Notre Dame. Just imagine if billionaires cared as much about uhhhh human people."
The ravaging fire has forced into light the lack of morality among the wealthy. Billarionies have the power to change the world for the better. They are capable of so much through all their wealth, power, and connections, yet they don't take advantage of it. Instead, they arguably spend most of their money on minor things.
To give an example, "Flint, Michigan has been without clean water for 1,642 days
. It would take $55 million
to provide them with the clean water they need — a small portion of what's been donated to the Notre Dame" according to The Breeze.
Another example is how billionaires could collectively end world hunger. ReliefWeb
estimates that it would take between $7 and $265 billion a year to end world hunger. Also, CNBC
recorded that there 2,208 billionaires in the world. Hence, only a few hundred of these billionaires could potentially spare some money to make sure nobody is starving to death. Yet, there are never any reports of the wealthy donating money toward food aid. Rather, the wealthy stay wealthy, and the poor stay poor as the middle class rots away.
Moreover, I think it's important to note that the two richest French billionaires, François-Henri Pinault, the owner of Stade Rennais FC, and Bernard Arnault, the CEO of LVMH, who donated money to rebuild Notre Dame "have significantly more money than several European states — such as Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia or Slovenia" according to JOE.ie.
In my opinion, no one person should ever have more money than an entire country. That's absurd. It's unnecessary. At some point having XXX amount of money must cause the opportunities, influence, and power that comes with wealth to level out. Therefore, if billionaires aren't going to use their status in society wisely, then they shouldn't be allowed to have that much money.
It's true. Anybody can change the world. It only takes one person to stand up and share their ideas and words with others to spark change. However, having that one person be a billionaire makes this process so much easier and quicker. It's almost like—objectively—typing an essay on a laptop versus writing the same essay on paper. Both options are possible, but typing an essay requires less physical, mental, and emotional energy.
The burning of Notre Dame has taught people a lot about the world they live in as it has revealed the top 1%'s true colors. Something to think about.