Pathetic Packer

A new biography of James Packer, inheritor of Australia’s biggest fortune, apparently reveals little of uplifting value to the community, only inside stories and celebrity voyeurism.

The pathos of a grown man willingly bullied by his father during tycoon apprenticeship is leavened by his own greed, predilection for extravagant ‘boys toys’ and that juvenile 80s expression about he who dies with the most wins. His toys are excessively gross, including a 50m super-yacht burning 400 litres of fuel per 10 km. Female partners are good-looking models and his entourage of hangers-on macho sycophants.

Financial dealings revolve around ‘selling off the farm’ of the PBL media empire, carefully exploited by his father & grandfather, and getting into casino developments overseas, while losing two-thirds of his $6.2 billion fortune. Observing his father’s gambling losses, James apparently decided that gambling business by definition must be money-making. Motivated by ambitions to pile up even more, his energies have concentrated on this sole objective.

That such a vacuous and uninspiring life story would interest fellow citizens is testimony to the shallow celebrity zeitgeist of our times. Signs of Packer’s benevolence, community concern, philanthropy, or interest in environmental and social issues, are not apparent. Consider the contrast with an inspirational Bill Gates’ rise from garage start-up to global benefactor applying his considerable skills, intelligence and personally-made fortune to eliminating major illnesses in the developing world.

Money definitely talks, but how pathetic the story can sometimes be!

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