The fact that many governments are spending money on other things than the ones that would really help the people is not something new. Sometimes, the items that are bought or invested in are so ridiculous, it makes us wonder whether the governments just want to impress others, have a good laugh or simply do not care how they manage the money of the state (or of the European Union for that matter, as you will soon see). There are countless weird things countries have spent a lot on, but none more wasteful than the following five on our list.
1. Brunei – Opulence
Let us start with a country few people have heard of: Brunei. Brunei is a very small nation situated on Borneo island, in the south-eastern part of Asia, and is surrounded by the South China Sea and Malaysia. The country has recently announced it is under Sharia law. However, what few of us are aware of is the fact that it spends money in a surprising way. Brunei is ruled by a dictator named Sultan Hassnal Bolkiah, along with his brother Prince Jefri. These two reside in a palace which has 1,788 rooms, a mosque and five swimming pools. Quite impressive, right? But wait, there’s more: they also own a personal zoo, 9,000 cars, 17 planes, a huge rocking horse, 16,000 tons of marble, thousands expensive suits and even gold toilet brushes, all of which are useless, weird things countries have spent a lot on.
2. United States – Facebook Lies
Nowadays, many people value the virtual world even more than the aforementioned riches. However, who could have thought that even governments can invest as much as $600,000 for Facebook likes? And we are not talking about a small forgotten country, but about the grand United States. Well, this is exactly what the U.S. State Department did in 2013 in order to gain more fans on the social media platform. Their plan worked, as it usually does when paying a lot of money, and as a result the number of their fans increased from 100,000 to more than two million. That’s all nice, but what was the greater purpose for this tactic? What did they achieve? Except from entering our list of weird things countries have spent a lot on, no one truly knows.
3. Dubai – Jetpacks
Everyone knows about the financial power of Dubai, the country standing on an oil mine. Additionally, they seem to have innovative ideas as well. The government has given thought to jetpacks since 1981, but only recently managed to make the dream come true thanks to recent technology. Starting this year, all firefighters will have jetpacks that will make their jobs easier, as these devices can fly for thirty minutes at a speed of 46 mph and reach heights of 3,000 feet. The most important part is of course saving lives in case of natural disasters or accidents. For example, this could be the difference between life and death for people who are trapped on a roof. However, they still have a long way to go in order to solve all impracticalities posed by such a device.
4. Italy – Elevator
Italy is often accused of recklessly spending money from the European Union. Setting aside the mafia and the corruption, the country is also foolishly spending on completely useless things. The elevator built in Sutera on the island of Sicily is one of the weird things countries have spent a lot on. The whole project cost about €2 million, which is quite a lot seeing that the municipality has gone through terrible financial struggles. The elevator that links the town to an ancient monastery situated on the top of the Sao Paolino mountain was meant to attract tourists and thus rebalance the economical situation. However, the local council refused to operate the elevator because it was too expensive. It seems that the money ended up with the Sicilian mafia, as it usually does.
5. Hong Kong – Feng Shui
Feng Shui is a Chinese philosophy that seeks to create complete harmony between the people and the surrounding environment. Usually people who arrange their furniture and decorations by paying close attention to Feng Shui are considered quite eccentric and even rich. Well, Hong Kong has taken this one step further by constructing whole buildings in order to allow life force (“qi”) to flow through them. In case the builders mess up, the government pays millions of dollars to remedy the mistakes, more precisely £6million until 2010. It is important to mention that a lot of residents of Hong Kong do not believe in Feng Shui, as it has never been proved by science. Thus, we can suspect that the whole process is a scam meant to empty the pockets of the landlords and fill the ones of feng shui masters, and just another one of the weird things countries have spent a lot on.