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Currently it’s estimated that sixty-two individuals control Medan as much wealth as the poorest half of the earth’s population. You are unlikely to meet these people. They and, indeed, the hundreds a bit further down the world’s rich list likely fly in their own planes and, Medan even if you did bump into one of them in a first-class airport departure lounge, it would probably not register as their faces and names are generally out of the public view. But, in the absence of Medan the enlightened philanthropy we associate with the few, like Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, Chuck Feeney and Andrew Forrest, this massive inequity in wealth distribution is clearly not working in a way that will ensure a decent future for Medan humanity.

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If they care to be involved, those with the greatest resources have the greatest opportunity. As the history of the modern era (from the seventeenth century) has taught us, the social Darwinian idea (as formalised by Herbert

Spencer) of the ‘survival of the fittest’ rule does not necessarily translate to the survival of the wealthiest. Ultimately, this small planet is our one home. We need to understand that we are all in this particular boat together before, in the worst-case scenario, something as disastrous as nuclear war sounds (a perhaps final) wake-up call. Then, as poet John Donne had it, it’s a case of ‘never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee’ (Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, 1624). That is, of course, if all the bells haven’t been melted down to make guns and prison bars.

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