Wednesday, October 2, 2013

For a suitcase of cash you too can be a marquis

Contrary to public perception, The Economist doesn't always deal in dreadfully serious articles about, say, the state of the Swedish bank system (which is doing mighty fine thanks for asking) or the fragility of the cotton commodities market. The boffins who run this very British institution know their regular readers (and other casual bystanders) occasionally like to partake in a little spice here and there. I have alluded to this before (here and here).

Take this week's issue. Did you know that for a mere $5000 you can be dutifully anointed a baron in Rwanda? Or for $130,000 you can triumphantly attach the lofty moniker 'Baron von' to your name? If you are brave (and rich) enough you can shell out $2 million and gleefully call yourself 'Prinz'. 

It's true! This is a thriving market around the world. 

Most of the allocators of these titles are people who were either: 

a) deposed by democratic governments in their countries (the Rwandan ex-king Kigeli) 

b) aides in former royal households (some Vietnamese dude now in Texas sells medals for $38 - shipping and handling separate)

or my personal favorite:

c) pretenders to thrones ('Prince' Davit, a pretender to the Georgian throne which has been vacant since, like, the early 1800's)

You gotta hand it to these entrepreneurs. They have cleverly seized upon society's lamentable obsession with all things royal.  

Of course, dear readers, you and I both know there can only be one king, don't we? Long live you magnificent brooding bastard.

The real King
Rest assured your humble blogger will never stoop so low as to buy fake titles. He will remain, through eternity, your comrade, true and always. 

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