So… what have billionaires been up to lately?

It’s March 2020. A deadly coronavirus is spreading across the world. We’re all watching Tiger King with one eye, our dwindling toilet paper reserves with the other. Scott Morrison wants to go to the footy.

Things are pretty good, relatively speaking. The current tally of world leaders advising injecting bleach into our bodies sits at zero. It seems like a weird thing to measure even. 

But none of that concerns you because you’re a billionaire, baby!

That’s right, you’re one of the world’s 2153 billionaires. Collectively you have more money than the poorest 4.6 billion people on the planet. Fuck yeah. 

Your dragon cave full of Rembrandts and Nazi gold means you’re in a unique position to do something helpful on a global scale before this gets out of hand. Sure, you could orgy your way through doomsday in one of those decked-out bunkers buried across New Zealand’s South Island, but you’d risk everyone realising your existence is less useful than… well, literally everyone else. 

A brief ad:

So, what will YOU do?!

The Dumbass Billionaire: Stockpile A Miracle Cure That Kills People

You’ve decided to buy 33 million doses of magic beans based on an endorsement from a guy that stared at the sun during an eclipse. Deadly magic beans. Fuck yeah, you’re Clive Palmer!

Hydroxychloroquine, baby. Works on malaria, so it makes sense that it would work on a totally unrelated disease too. Donald Trump said, “It’s a very strong, powerful medicine. But it doesn’t kill people.” The WHO reports that say the drug definitely actually certainly for sure does kill people aren’t available yet, so trust your billionaire instincts and corner the market on the stuff. It’s how you got to where you are today! 

Time for a three-page ad in the Murdoch press to spread the good word.

Ah crap, looks like this stuff might not work/actually make things worse and no one can use it

Plan B: give everyone malaria.

The Poor Billionaire: Beg For Money 

Bit of a weird one, this. You’re Richard Branson. Fuck yeah! 

You’re the UK’s 7th richest person. That “UK” part is kinda debatable because you’ve lived tax-free in the British Virgin Islands for the last 14 years. You did have a cameo in Casino Royale, though, so whatever. British as eel pie.

Anyway, for a bunch of reasons, people don’t seem interested in jumping on a Virgin Atlantic flight from London to Lombardy right now. This sucks!

Better get some of that sweet government bailout cash. You’ve asked the UK government for £500 million to get through this crisis. In completely unrelated news your private wealth is estimated at £4.7 billion. Lol! 

Remember: poor people get money from the government all the time, so why can’t rich people be poor too?

The Libertarian Billionaire: Spread Conspiracy Theories (And The Virus!)

Whoaaaaa trippy, you’re Elon Musk! You love Rick & Morty, rockets, flamethrowers, and tanking your stock price; hate unions, taxes and legal baby names. You’re well on your way to inventing the tunnel. You once called a hero rescue diver a “pedo guy” and then managed to get a court to rule that calling someone a paedophile wasn’t defamatory. Fuck yeah. 

The pandemic is raging out of control in Italy. Daily death totals are alarming, lifesaving PPE and ventilators are in short supply. All this means it’s the right time to undermine the global medical response.

It’s March 6. You grab your phone. Time to spread your unique billionaire insight.

Good call!

It’s March 20 now. If you’re smart enough to find Rick & Morty funny you’re basically an epidemiologist. Egghead doctors keep saying death-tolls are drastically underestimated but you, knowing better, tell the world tallies are grossly overestimated because hospitals want more funding. Time to make a bold, quantifiable prediction.

Whelp, shit, people keep dying, whoops! It’s the end of April now and lockdown measures have been reluctantly imposed to save lives in the only country in the world with freedom, the motherfucken USA.

With your Tesla factories closed you’re losing a lot of money now. It’s time to get on a conference call to investors and rile up the proles.

Yeah, that’s not enough. It’s April 29 now. For some reason “I would crawl over your rotting corpse to stay this rich” doesn’t have the right ring so you reach for the classics. Time for the big guns.

Fuck yeah. Just remember not to invent a “wall”, because when the revolution comes…

The Bond Villain Billionaire: Donate (0.1% Of Your Fortune) To Charity, Crush Workers

You’re the world’s richest person, Jeff Bezos. Fuck yeah! Not only do you have a robo-dog, you also understand optics: plebs dig benevolence (and robo-dogs). 

You’ve donated $100 million to Feed America, a nonprofit organisation that feeds unemployed workers. That’s good, unequivocally, not gonna lie. But there’s even better news! That’s less than 0.1% of your estimated $123 billion fortune.

(At this point other sites would tell you what a 0.1% donation converts to on an average salary. But, (a) that comparison is actually generous to billionaires because ordinary people don’t have a giant pool of money surplus to all their earthly needs and wants, and (b) I’m really bad at maths.)

But whatever, you’ve donated some money! You’re Bezos, baby! 

What’s the next logical step? Crush all dissent, of course. 

Your ungrateful warehouse workers have a long history of brutal conditions and low pay, but we can’t have them getting lippy during a pandemic. Some are voicing complaints about inadequate coronavirus safety measures! They say they’re scared for their lives! Well get in the boat, scaredy-cat. Everyone dies!

All good. Remember, you’re a PR master. You fire the mouthy peasants, smear them in the press as “not smart or articulate” and frame them as “the face of the entire union/organizing movement.”

Oh no! Tim Bray, a company VP publicly quit over this on moral grounds. He called it a “chickenshit decision”! Steady on, dude, you’re starting to sound like a Commie!

Tim Bray: “At the end of the day, the big problem isn’t the specifics of COVID-19 response. It’s that Amazon treats the humans in the warehouses as fungible units of pick-and-pack potential. Only that’s not just Amazon, it’s how 21st-century capitalism is done.”

Fortunately, none of this will have any impact on your wealth whatsoever for two key reasons:

  1. Robo-dogs! 
  2. You’ve secured the exclusive streaming rights to The Expanse on Amazon Prime, which absolutely rocks.

Thank you for your service, billionaires!



Dave Milner
WRITTEN BY

twitter: @DaveMilbo
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