Amid austerity, is it wrong to buy a superyacht?

Published 7:45 AM ET, Thu September 20, 2012
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More than 100 superyachts will go on display at Port Hercules for the annual Monaco Yacht Show. Courtesy Monaco Yacht Show
Around 28,000 visitors are expected to descend on the French principality for the luxury boating show, running from September 19 to 22. Courtesy Monaco Yacht Show
With a hefty price tag of $19 million, Lazy Z will be one of the superyachts on offer. Courtesy Monaco Yacht Show
But what are the economic benefits of buying a superyacht? According to Cato Institute economist Dan J. Mitchell, it creates jobs for boat builders, crew and dock workers. Getty Images
"It doesn't matter what rich people do with their money. It's going to trickle-down to the rest of us some way," Mitchell says. Getty Images
On the other hand, John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network argues superyachts are vulgar displays of wealth in times of austerity. Getty Images
"It might create a very small number of jobs -- builders and crew -- but if that wealth was invested in other areas it would create much more growth," Christensen says. Getty Images
Prince Albert of Monaco helped open the yacht show last year. His principality offers the super rich an attractive 0% rate of income tax. Getty Images