Privilege doesn't start with the super rich

Privilege doesn’t start with the super rich

There is a standard Russian tycoon called Dimitry on board the yacht. There is a social klutz which is something in technology. There is, in a gallant stroke of originality, a couple of arms traffickers in the month of November of their lives.

When a storm sinks this ship of madmen, stranding them on an island, the passengers’ dominance over the crew begins to shift. You see, the rich are all thumbs up when it comes to survival skills. The toilet attendant can spear the fish and make a fire. (Poor people attend Navy Seals camp when they’re young.) Watch her become queen of the island. Watch a model give her some love for extra rations.

triangle of sadness, as an unworthy Palme d’Or winner hits the super-rich in quite entertaining fashion. But here’s one thing. I also have a cleaner. And that puts me in a minority of the public. I dine out most nights, and with some restlessness, which further reduces the economic company I keep. Last month I incurred an extra £25 rather than making an appointment with a team from Sky who came to install a dish. I couldn’t be bothered to go home after coffee with a friend and it was wasted money.

I’m “just” upper middle class. But my life is that of a late Roman decadence next to that of the median income. If you’re a corporate lawyer (not even a partner), so is yours. If you send your kids to a private school or live within the catchment area of ​​a renowned state school, chances are it’s yours.

Far too much is made of the super-rich. And it is made by an upper middle class barely closer to the national average. Take it from a social climber of some aptitude. Take it from a veteran of (I think) every household income decile since age five. The inflection point of the economic scale is coming much sooner than you think. Something dramatic happens between, say, £30,000 a year and £130,000: a bigger change in the texture of life than between the second digit and a million. The first jump affects what you can do. The second tends to affect simply how.

The upper middle class can rent in beautiful areas of world-class cities. The rich can buy there. The average can do neither. The upper middle class can fly off to another continent. The rich can steal business. The average must plan and save to do one or the other. Having gone through the same universities, the upper middle classes and the wealthy are often of a cultural feather. The diplomat can talk to Hedgie. How often does either befriend an unqualified NHS band 5 nurse? Or marry one?

The obsession with a small overclass distorts public life in all sorts of ways. One is a sort of innumerable confusion in politics. No, you will not finance the welfare state of your dreams by only crushing the plutocrats. (Nordic taxes are asking a lot of the simple well-to-do.) And no, inheriting £800,000 of property is not normal.

Another is bad art, one that believes itself to be subversive but spares most of its audience. There’s always a painting or a video installation these days about the greed of those who can buy it. That the curator, the agent and even the house crew live lives of pure exoticism next to the national average is lost in the virtuous gaze towards the one percenter of the one percenter.

It’s here that Triangle not going well. By having to climb so high up the income ladder to find bad behavior, the film achieves the opposite effect of its intended anti-elitism. It absolves everyone south of Coutts’ checking account income threshold.

If Ruben Östlund, the director, thinks the abuse of service staff is unique to the super-rich, I have a film proposal for him about London cafes. Opening Scene: The press-gang of a waitress as childcare assistant by yuppie parents could make for a tangy opening scene. When the upper middle class is rude, it is precisely because it has to try put some distance between them and the class of service. With the wealthiest, the gap is too obvious to point out. Sometimes, it seems, good manners do costs something.

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