The Palacio Retero in BA was the most opulent French Style palace I ever saw –aside from Emperor Franz Josephs Belvedere Palace in Vienna.
Visited there yesterday. Fancier by far than the local presidential palace.
It was/still is a full square block–right downtown built at turn of century by the then richest land owner in Argentina with all materials from Europe.
His widow & daughter lived in it from around 1910 to 1927 when Argentina entered into a depression. The kids went broke. From aristocrat to commoner in a flash. The property was sold in bankruptcy for the price of a garage (today) in London. Eventually it was taken over by the Argentine Foreign Ministry and it is now a grand “public building” like so many of the French palaces dating to the long gone days when Argentina was as wealthy as any country in Europe.
Moral of the story to me is that rich can be terminated very quickly. The wealth of this family came from agricultural exports. When they stopped, their income stopped. I suppose international diversification, a lower level lifestyle & and a few million Gold coins socked away in Switzerland might have staved off the end of this family’s prosperity….
Showy home construction underlines a rich guy’s standing and makes a statement to rulers and ruled alike. The truly rich devised rituals and symbols of power and superiority. One of these was and still is an opulent home. Think Bill Gates. The fact that many of these edifices are of fleeting use to their builders does not in itself contradict the fact they served a purpose and often did so rather well. They may be museums and public buildings today, but they are long term monuments to one man’s wealth and power.
After all, the building is still there. It stands as a signal for one man’s enterprise, and he is still remembered. What a statement from the grave, I’d say.
The fact that his family failed to hold on to the power or that many heirs fail miserably in their attempts to continue the work of their forebears or even outdo them doesn’t change the indisputable proof that the builder of the house was extremely wealthy and powerful. Nobody but his kind could have built it.
In this way the powerful and wealthy like him actually cement our civilizations, creating lasting values and culture.
Those who have the means of doing likewise and do not are little more than vultures. They feed and consume the achievements of society at large and the civilisations they choose to live in, without truly contributing anything to humanity in return.
This is not a value judgement, mind you, just a cold mathematical fact. There was a time when (Ultra High Net Worth) wealthy people contributed to the betterment of their surroundings wherever they went, by outdoing those around them in one way or another, and by utilising and supporting the service sector in those places.
But times have changed . There is the Internet for people to find out things about reality, and people of wealth & leisure are now in their millions, settling everywhere that PTs are welcome.
Thus, in many ways one could say that the old time pre- PT pioneers have done their job. They have in fact changed minds and changed the world. And now it’s time for them to change with it…In olden times, the wealthy were the government. Now they are the prey of governments. Low profile is the new model.
Food for thought, maybe?
For new PT’s the original PT book is a good read to understand the basic of the PT life and how to live a healthy lifestyle the PT way!
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