Is there a group of multi-billionaires who aspire to be real life Bond villains? From Israel Shamir at unz.com:
Millionaires want to make money. Billionaires want to make history. We may add that multi-billionaires take it further; they want mankind to adapt to their needs and wishes. As for people who control trillions, why, they care about our wishes as much as we care about ants while sweeping the garden. We do not apply ant-killer until anthills encroach on our flowerbeds; but we do not hesitate if we deem it necessary. Mankind came across many megalomaniacs; some of them had a lot of power. Genghis Khan was one. However, they were always territorially limited. Mighty Genghis could send tremors all the way to Rome, but the English and French didn’t have to care about the rising Mongol empire. New super-tycoons have no such limitations. Globalisation has allowed them to think outside the box. Their moves had been long anticipated by cinema, the world of dreams. As dreams allow a psychologist to ponder man’s desires and fears, cinematography offers insights into the collective ego of mankind. What did we fear in the relatively free Seventies?
A classic villain of 1970s and 80s was the evil tycoon. James Bond took on some of them. Meet Hugo Drax of the Moonraker, or Karl Stromberg of The Spy Who Loved Me; these guys were willing to destroy mankind to replace it with a better version. Stromberg planned to trigger a global nuclear war and survive it underwater. Drax intended to poison mankind with his deadly gas and repopulate the world with his new chosen ones. Another one was de Wynter, the super-villain of The Avengers, played by Sean Connery. He controlled the world weather, and could kill us all off by hurricanes and tsunamis.
Before the tycoons, when the Cold war raged, a villain was a KGB agent or a Chinese operative. As détente calmed relations between the blocks, the agents went out of fashion; later, the fantastic villains of Marvel came into a vogue. The evil tycoons were uncomfortably close to the real thing; and they moved from the cinematic world into our reality.