Richie Rich 2: Taxwatch

Growing up I used to watch the film Richie Rich a lot. It had Macaulay Culkin as the young heir to an absurdly rich family under threat from a scheming family ‘friend’. It had lasers and butlers and obscene displays of wealth.

Think of it as a sort of Home Alone for the 1%.

Julian Richer – the founder of Richer Sounds – seems like someone who seems tailor made to live the life portrayed in Richie Rich. He’s certainly succumb to nominative determinism enough to have more than £100 million to his name.

But in other ways he stands very much in contrast the the Rich family. He has given his firm over to employee ownership for example, and Richer Sounds has consistently rewarding long-serving employees.

While reading about the employee ownership scheme I also spotted that he has funded Tax Watch UK who look at how large companies and wealthy individuals game the tax system.

Already they’ve done a really interesting set of reports on things like the gaming industry gaming the tax credits system. GTA V for example somehow claimed £42 million in tax credits from the UK government, in part by somehow certifying the game as culturally British… I remain baffled how that seemed even vaguely plausible to the BFI.

I don’t think I’d enjoy Richie Rich as much nowadays. The ostentatious wealth and portrayal of poor people as mannerless a bit too on the nose.

Also the bit where they are building a giant sculpture of themselves into a mountain like an even more dystopian Mount Rushmore strikes me as being perhaps a bit out of touch with the environmental consciousness of 2019.