Publication Details

Donaldson, M. J. & Poynting, S. (2007). Ruling class men: money, sex, power. (1 ed.). New York: Peter Lang.


Very few people have more money than they can possibly spend in their own lifetime. It is hard to comprehend what it must be like to be able to spend $3 million on yourself every week of your life and still remain incredibly wealthy. According to Australian political commentator Robert Haupt (1989: 14), this was the fate of Australia’s richest man – media magnate Kerry Packer. The Forbes Rich List for 2005 ranked Packer at 94 of the 691 billionaires in the world, whose combined wealth amounted to US$2.2 trillion (Nason, 2005: 8). According to the Merrill Lynch and Capegimini (2005) Ninth Annual World Wealth Report, there were, in 2004, 77,500 people in the world with at least US$30 million in financial assets, and David Smith (2003: 128) estimates that the richest 200 individuals in the world have the combined income of 41 per cent of the world’s people. William Davis (1982: 152), in his book The Rich: a Study of the Species, argues that the rich are concerned to ‘make and unmake’ political leaders in order to ‘secure new territories or conditions favourable to their enterprises; to gain personal advancement; or just for the hell of it’, but ‘the basic aim has remained the same: to make the world the kind of place they want to live in’. Their power today is immense, indeed ‘awesome’, says William Shawcross (1992: 559), biographer of international media magnate Rupert Murdoch, a man who, with a few others, effects the lives of millions by not only shaping the foundations of the twenty-first century but by owning them too.