I’m guessing that German billionaire Adolf Merckle lived a pretty charmed life.
I mean, being a billionaire certainly must have some perks, right? It must be a great feeling to be able to walk into any store, any car dealership, any upscale hotel and say, “I’ll take that … and these over here, too.”
But for all he had going for him, it wasn’t enough to prevent him from taking his life and becoming the latest casualty of the global financial crisis.
On Tuesday, it was reported that this “respected businessmen with a wife and four children” decided to step in front of a train in the town of Blaubeuren in southwestern Germany.
Merckle’s business empire had run into trouble in the crisis, and its problems were compounded by “heavy losses in trading of shares in automaker Volkswagen AG,” according to the AP.
He wasn’t the first, and I doubt he’ll be the last. But his action certainly bears testimony to the grim fallout that’s occurring as a result of the financial crisis. Many of us build our lives on money – it becomes the very fabric on which we walk, the essence of everything. And I’m not knocking it. I’d be the first to admit that money – in many ways – does make the world go round.
But I’m not sure I’d ever be up for killing myself over it. I’m not even sure Merckle was up for it. But that’s what he did. And it’s probably what a lot more people will end up doing. It’s not my place to pass judgement, but there is a part of me that wonders, could this have been avoided?
We’ll probably never know.