Austrian Marlene Engelhorn, 29, is heir to a fortune amassed by her family over nearly 200 years. However, she refused to inherit the more than $4 billion (about R$22 billion) that she is entitled to by law.
“It’s not that I don’t want to be rich, it’s that I don’t want to be that rich,” Marlene said.
She would be willing to give up 90% of her inheritance.
Marlene is a language and literature student at the University of Vienna and is a descendant of Friedrich Engelhorn, who founded the chemical company Badische Anilin-und Soda-Fabrik, better known by the acronym BASF, one of the largest in the world.
Despite the family’s trajectory, she is convinced she has done “nothing” to earn her family’s millions of dollars, so she proposed that the state take over the money.
According to the BBC, the young woman had a life as a “privileged rich girl”, was educated in the best schools and lived in high society, but is aware of “how the economy is biased”.
“I can’t just sit around waiting for someone, somewhere to do something,” she said. “We have reached the end of the road, when 250 million more people will be pushed into extreme poverty this year.”
Wealth redistribution and taxes on millionaires
Marlene is a social activist and promotes the Tax Me Now movement, which suggests giving up heirs of great fortunes in favor of a higher tax rate for the wealthy.
In May of this year, during the World Economic Forum (WEF), the young woman met with other activists to call for fairer tax systems around the world.
Some of the changes the movement seeks to bring about are redistribution of wealth, taxes on millionaires, and major structural changes in senior positions. In this way, greater social equity would be achieved.
* Intern at R7under the supervision of Pablo Marques