Friday, May 2, 2008

Most Expensive House In The World Almost $2 Billion

Most expensive house in the world exteriorIt appears there will soon be a new “most expensive house in the world.” The fifth richest man in the word and head of Mumbai-based petrochemical giant Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani is building a new home which will cost nearly $2 billion. How do you know when you have too much money? How about when you are having a $2 billion house built for you. Considering Ambani is worth some $43 billion according to Forbes, this $2 billion home is in no way a stretch for him, but maybe it is just a tad extravagant.


According to an article in Forbes, the Ambanis will leave their extensively remodeled 22-story tower home in downtown Mumbai for their new 27-story 400,000 square foot skyscraper (visit Forbes for more details), also located in Mumbai and equipped with nearly every extravagance imaginable. A building of this size wouldn’t ordinarily cost $2 billion, but because of the material being used and the fact that the designs of each floor are very different, the costs are much higher. I’m not typically one to go bashing wealthy people for their extravagant spending habits, but this was a little disturbing to me. They already have one of the most expensive houses in the world and are simply one-upping themselves, flaunting their wealth in the face of poverty and deprivation being experienced in their country. Here is an excerpt from the World Food Programme’s website:

Nearly 50 percent of the world's hungry live in India, a low-income, food-deficit country. Around 35 percent of India's population - 350 million - are considered food-insecure, consuming less than 80 percent of minimum energy requirements.

Nutritional and health indicators are extremely low. Nearly nine out of ten pregnant women aged between 15 and 49 years suffer from malnutrition and anemia. Anemia in pregnant women causes 20 percent of infant mortality. More than half of the children under five are moderately or severely malnourished, or suffer from stunting.

How can you possibly justify a $2 billion expense when half of the starving people in this world come from your country? For most wealthy Americans, it is hard to understand and relate to such dire problems half a world away. Once you witness with your own eyes a person dying of starvation, you get a new perspective on life, or at least anyone with a heart would. Unfortunately—or fortunately depending on your perspective—many Americans never see such things first hand and such problems seem as unreal as they are remote. But Mr. Ambani, I must imagine, has witnessed these problems first hand, as it would be hard to avoid them while living in a country facing such a crisis.

Ambani is pouring money back into the economy with the construction of his residence, along with the 600 or so staff he is expected to keep in order to maintain his home. Those people are probably thankful to Mr. Ambani, but I can think of a thousand ways in which just a fraction of this $2 billion could be used to better help his countrymen.

I’m not a frequent reader of Indian media, but I imagine that this fellow is not looked upon too highly by the poor in India. If I were Ambani, I don’t think I could sleep at night in my overly extravagant palace while elsewhere in my city thousands of people are dying of starvation and malnutrition. Personally, all I would be able to think about is that I could have saved every one of them, but instead I chose to have that custom solid gold toilet. Sounds like a nightmare to me...but hey...as long as he can live with himself.

*Photos used were from Forbes.com

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23 comments:

May 2, 2008 at 3:15 PM A Proud Indian. said...

US is richest country in the world. Still 10% of Americans live below poverty line, 35% of Americans cannot afford health care and are just surviving on the mercy of God.
Still US gives billions of dollars in aid to Isreal, Pakistan and other parts of the world instead of giving to those americans who are in need.

All I want to say is, Mukesh Ambani is not responsible for the poverty in India. He is paying millions in taxes every year and gviing jobs to millions of people. He is doing much more than he is suppose to.
He has right to live whatever life he wants to out of his own money.

Socialism and communism has already failed badly. Donot spoon feed anyone. Once they get to that habit they will never be able to work and contribute to the society.

May 5, 2008 at 8:33 AM Eric Ames said...

I understand that Mr. Ambani is not responsible for the poverty in India, and that he does more than most (albeit indirectly) to help India, however, at the same time how can he just sit back in his complete excess and watch his people die? I greatly admire people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, who are using their wealth to better the world as a whole. While I have personally seen Mr. Gates’ house, and it is very very nice, it pales in comparison to the $2 billion place that Mr. Ambani is building. Gates still lives a very extravagant lifestyle, but at the same time he also gives back more than most people can even comprehend. Mr. Ambani has almost as much as Gates, but doesn’t really even donate much to help his countryman. I did a quick Google search for Ambani donation, and the only thing that I found was a $2 million dollar donation to the Red Cross (I’m sure he has made others, but that was all that came up in the first 3 pages), which is basically the equivalent to a millionaire donating $40. I am not saying Mr. Ambani has an obligation to do anything, because he most certainly does not, but as one human being to another, I just don’t see how he doesn’t want to do more.

I'm all about the idea of not giving things to people, but rather educating them and teaching them skills they need to survive on their own. I'm not suggesting we switch to communism or anything like that, I am 100% capitalist, but I also believe in giving back. There are many ways in which you can give back as well. When I give to charity I specifically seek out those organizations that make a lasting change.

As you point out there is some poverty in the U.S., however, poverty in the U.S. is still the equivalent of living well compared to many places in the developing world- including India. I can say in my city of Seattle that if someone needs and wants a meal they can find one, we don’t see the type of starvation going on in Africa and India. I’ve never been to India, but I have been to Honduras and Nicaragua, which are two of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, and I’ve seen the children there who are forced to work in the diseased infested garbage dump. They have to scrape together this meager living in order to survive, albeit barely. Because they have to become productive for their family at such a young age they aren’t able to get an education and the generational chain is never broken. Generation after generation is thus perpetually stuck in the dump. I’ve also seen some of the most impoverished places in America and the two are not even comparable. I am proud of the fact that our country gives to other countries the way they do, and I think it is our responsibility as one of the wealthiest nations to do it. At the same time I think those with the ability to do so should take it upon themselves to help those less fortunate. In my mind the best way to do that is to break the chains that are holding people down, that is the only way to truly fix the problem.

Sorry if I got a little preachy here, but in case you can’t tell I feel very strongly about this subject :)

May 16, 2008 at 11:54 AM a humble American said...

$2 billion for one family is more than I can comprehend. Mr. Ambani certainly can afford it. If he really wants to be noticed, would he really miss a billion or so that could provide health care, schools, wells, and housing for several thousand people? This is not "spoon feeding," it's providing the opening for uncountable people to contribute to India and the world's enocomy. What an incredible mark he could put on India's history. I do not know India's tax system - maybe he can deduct it from his taxes. He may be remembered for his $2B "home," but probably not in the way he would like think he will be.

June 11, 2008 at 12:15 PM Bharath said...

I am an Indian living in Seattle.
I truly accept what Mr. Eric said in his article and comments.

I cannot be proud to say that my country has a $2billion home. rather I would be proud to say that Mr.X has given $2billion for charities or to eradicate child labor in India.

Mr. Ambani might win the World's Most Expensive Home Title but not the hearts of Indian People.

Bharath

July 2, 2008 at 10:24 AM Anonymous said...

I was born and raised in India and now living in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

I totally agree with Eric's comment.

July 17, 2008 at 5:22 PM Nazeer Yunis said...

Poverty in India is to remain for many more years. Though Abmani is not responsible for the poverty in India, he ought to think about the dying people in India. What a waste of 2B$ for a housing unit. More than half of the Indian population perhaps more are below the poverty line. Every penny helps... so I would say that Ambani should use some logic and help clear the slums and poverty in India. A drop in the oceans will make a big difference.

July 18, 2008 at 9:24 PM anksphenomenon said...

I am not a sociologist, but think of it this way. we are talking about a 1 billion population, the 2nd largest in the world. The only democracy with that huge a population.

Now think of any other country doing as good as India with a democratic system post independence? Pretty sure you wouldn't find many.

The point I am trying to make is that in an open (and free to do whatever you want) society like India, disparities are bound to exist, at least for the next 20-30 years. It cannot be compared to US, where you have 1/5 of population and 3 times the land. On top of that, a country made by the 'entrepreneurial' and wealthy immigrants (other wise how could they leave europe and come here in the first place) had a good jump start for around 200 years!

And all the while civilizations like China and India were subject to racism, 'third world' etc etc. Now that there is this huge economic surge in these places ( and believe me when 1 billion people eventually turn wealthy in 50 years from now, there is no stopping them), people will try to regain their 'lost glory'...

Ambani's house in my opinion is more of a (maybe subconscious) step towards that. Again, in a democracy, where people can shoot students in a university in Illinois and even today african american people are discriminated upon, I think it is kinda natural to have disparities...

I guess to conclude, lets at least do our bit in making this a happier place..

btw Eric, do u donate to charity?

July 21, 2008 at 9:27 AM Eric Ames said...

Anksphenomenon,

Thanks for your comment. I do understand disparity and inequality is a natural part of democracy and capitalism. Some people are going to be wealthy and others will be poor, that's they way it works. I'm in no way questioning that system either. What I'm questioning is how someone could have such little disregard for their fellow countrymen and human beings. To build a $2 billion home in the face of starvation and poverty amounts to a slap in the face. Sure Ambani has no obligation to help out the poor, and he has a right to spend his money how he pleases, but I can't help but wish that he had a little more decency I guess.

To your last question, I do donate time and money to charity, and it is actually one of my life goals to start up a non-profit company.

August 22, 2008 at 7:16 AM Anonymous said...

Its Ambani's money. Let him spend as he want. Many people in the world can't digest that "How an INDIAN can have the costliest home in the world?"
Four Indians are wealthiest out of top ten rank people.
Don't be jealous. If you can't appreciate don't criticise. He is a True INDIAN as he is giving employments of millions and contributing to the GDP. India is not so poor as some person still portray it. Technologically India is far ahead. India has more English speaking people than combined US and UK citizen. The main reason of poverty is diversification not Mr. Ambani. India is developing economy and whole world know it and that is why no country even the Richest countries ignore India.

August 22, 2008 at 7:16 AM Anonymous said...

Its Ambani's money. Let him spend as he want. Many people in the world can't digest that "How an INDIAN can have the costliest home in the world?"
Four Indians are wealthiest out of top ten rank people.
Don't be jealous. If you can't appreciate don't criticise. He is a True INDIAN as he is giving employments of millions and contributing to the GDP. India is not so poor as some person still portray it. Technologically India is far ahead. India has more English speaking people than combined US and UK citizen. The main reason of poverty is diversification not Mr. Ambani. India is developing economy and whole world know it and that is why no country even the Richest countries ignore India.

August 22, 2008 at 7:18 AM ash said...

Its Ambani's money. Let him spend as he want. Many people in the world can't digest that "How an INDIAN can have the costliest home in the world?"
Four Indians are wealthiest out of top ten rank people.
Don't be jealous. If you can't appreciate don't criticise. He is a True INDIAN as he is giving employments of millions and contributing to the GDP. India is not so poor as some person still portray it. Technologically India is far ahead. India has more English speaking people than combined US and UK citizen. The main reason of poverty is diversification not Mr. Ambani. India is developing economy and whole world know it and that is why no country even the Richest countries ignore India.

August 22, 2008 at 7:19 AM ash said...

Its Ambani's money. Let him spend as he want. Many people in the world can't digest that "How an INDIAN can have the costliest home in the world?"
Four Indians are wealthiest out of top ten rank people.
Don't be jealous. If you can't appreciate don't criticise. He is a True INDIAN as he is giving employments of millions and contributing to the GDP. India is not so poor as some person still portray it. Technologically India is far ahead. India has more English speaking people than combined US and UK citizen. The main reason of poverty is diversification not Mr. Ambani. India is developing economy and whole world know it and that is why no country even the Richest countries ignore India.

September 10, 2008 at 3:52 AM James Brown said...

Hey Guys,

Don't be proud of billionaires or on their luxuries.
http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0406-27.htm

Don't you know more Billionaires or wealthy people means more poverty!.

Some peoples are proud of this billionaire and say he can do what ever he want on his money, He is not responsible for poverty in India.

I am not saying that only he(Mukesh) must be responsible for poverty in India.Or I am not jealous to that person.I believe that India is one of the fastest developing economy in the world.Not poverty!!!!

Paying tax to government cannot cover poverty!

Wealthy peoples are responsible to poverty not only the government.One main reason of increasing poverty is billionaires.

We are living in same planet.
For Example: If someone use/buy large amount resources from this planet for their own use will result a small amount of resources left.Billionaires are not buying resources from other planets, they are using resources from our planet for their own use.Which can take a meaning that their money is ours (poor society's).

I am sure If more billionaires (or wealthy people) donate money to poor people will decrease poverty in the world.There more than 600 known billionaires and millions of millionaires in the world.Nearly half of world's 6 billion residents are poor over one billion of them subsist on less than $1 a day.

September 10, 2008 at 7:14 PM Anonymous said...

He pays millions of dollars in taxes every year and provides jobs to millions of people? I believe this needs to be refraised. Doesn't this house serve as a tax right off? How much does he pay his employees?
Has anyone read about the 10 most richest individuals in the world. What do all of them have in common? Out of the 10 how many donate towards charity and who are they? I rest my case.

November 9, 2008 at 1:45 AM samuel said...

if you can call yourself a billionaire in US dollars than according to me, something's wrong somewhere and you have too much money.

I can't even fathom that amount of money. No matter where they are these ridiculously rich people need a bigger sense of charity.

November 24, 2008 at 6:08 PM Anonymous said...

I am an Indian living in Canada. During my 3 months stay here I found that here in Canada most of the people are same as per economic aspects are concern. Its good, but I notice that most of the waste contributed by this developed contries. In USA, Canada, Europian countries food, clothes and all the basic needs for living is never being problem, and thats why here no one care for that. One family here waste that much amount that it may be usefull to a family in under developed or developing country. We should blaim them all the same way we are blaiming Mr. Ambani.
We all knows that the amount of food wasted in USA is enough to feed millions of hungry people. I would like to blaim all residents of developed countries too.
And I know India is having lots of poor but still the figures are not as bad as it is shown here.
Few of Indian business tycoons like Mr. Tata are very much helpfull to society in various ways. I would like if Mr. Ambani does the same, still I am not going to blaim him for any thing.

And I appreciate the way people from other countries take this much interests in my home land.
Jay Hind

November 24, 2008 at 10:04 PM Jamie said...

What a jerk.

January 24, 2009 at 5:26 PM Anonymous said...

wow... india has tons of poor people in it... and this guy was to selfish and bought this stupid house worth 1 billion dollars... im shocked... he said he wanted to make his family happy... HIS STUPID FAMILY IS STINKIN RICH! GAWD WHAT MORE DO U WANT? gawd... there r people that have 2 eat dirt as their food... and plus any person can see them take a shower and go to the bathroom, this summer im going 2 india so im going 2 see this riducoulus house... what if that glass breaks? so many people r gona die and i bet he'll get sued...

January 28, 2009 at 12:45 PM Anonymous said...

That house be bigga den dat thang!!

January 28, 2009 at 10:16 PM Anonymous said...

i think it is bigger than that you just can't see the whole thing. i think it's stupid because i think that his family won't even use half of it!! that's just so stupid, to have a house the size of like an apartment building!! it's just dumb and sad. he should turn it into a luxury hotel and give %10-20 of profits to charities.

June 8, 2009 at 3:15 AM iadoreQMA said...

To say "
Socialism and communism has already failed badly. Donot spoon feed anyone." is ridiculous. yes he does have the right to spend his money as he sees fit. I strongly agree with that.
While its wonderful that hes already helped his fellow countrymen, at what point do you say " there, thats all the help i can spare". A wise man would say " with all the help i have givin there must be another way i can help even more" and he would find a way.
"He is doing much more than he is suppose to." He should want to help out of the kindness of his heart should he have one (used for caring and not just for pumping blood).
but thats on him as long as he feeds his needs, he only makes himself look lame to the rest of the world. He probably is making up for something that money cant bye perhaps ..naaah

July 13, 2009 at 2:47 PM Anonymous said...

The dude is excited. I personally love big homes and a good life but wait minute, that is stupid both the house and the location. At least even if u do not want to give back, dont make the people feel like they made all the wrong decisions in life. He should build that house somewhere in California where everyone is used to it.

March 24, 2011 at 10:20 AM Anonymous said...

He has every right to spend his money they way he wants.

Pretty easy for you children to sit behind your computer screens and judge others.

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