An article in Saturday’s Guardian newspaper offers a sad reflection on 21st Century values.
Looking at what assets rose the most in value during the first nine years of the century (the ‘noughties’), they discovered that the big winners were fine wine and cigarettes.
A case of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1982 which would have cost you £2,613 at the beginning of 2000 (already a disturbingly large amount of money for 12 bottles of wine), sold at the end of October this year for £25,500, an increase of 876%.
And shares in British American Tobacco, whose brands include Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike and Pall mall rose over the decade by 454% with Imperial Tobacco – makers of West, Gauloises and Rizla – not far behind with an increase of 400%.
Although this was the decade that saw smoking outlawed in public places in the UK such as cafes, bars and workplaces, these two made their vast profits partly by exploiting lucrative new markets such as Nigeria and Pakistan.
So it seems that producing wine for the obscenely rich or peddling a proven cancer-producing drug to poor people in developing countries is the best way to increase your wealth.
How very, very sad.