Rich People. We all love them, we all hate them, and we all want their cash. A lot of us want to take their money from them, because, believe it or not, a lot of people in this world are jealous of their success. Do you know how many times, on a daily basis, I read an article, or see a social post, and a dozen comments along the lines of, “go to jail you thief”, or “give your money back to your underpaid employees in China”, show up? What’s up with our obsession with rich people?
G’ Day mates. In these harsh times all around the world, it’s perfectly natural for us to find a common enemy to fight against, and with so few options now (besides terrorists), people of fabulous wealth seem to be a good target. If there’s one thing we’ve learned by watching movies, or learning about historic billionaire figures, (I’m looking at you Rockefeller), it’s that rich people are EVIL, right? I mean, how one person could ever build so much wealth in so little time? Penny Stocks, an investing website, set up a cool little calculator where you can compare yourself to, the billionaire investor, Warren Buffet’s fortune. Feel free to type whatever your income is (in dollars), but using the average American income as a control, we can see that Warren is doing way better than the other 99%; It took him only two minutes to earn $51,000, so imagining how much he could make over the course of the year is no doubt, a bit threatening. (further reading)
But, do we have the right to be threatened by rich billionaires like Buffet? Sure, they can fund campaigns for politicians, and support them as an endorsement, but ultimately, no matter how you cut it, their money can’t be enough to swing the election one way or another. Even if you buy out the votes of others, voter fraud is an especially rare case in America, only applying to a few hundred people at any given time (source). With the average auctioned vote going at $150 to start, someone like Mark Zuckerberg would need to shell out about $10.8 billion dollars in bought votes to swing an election in his favor, and buy half of the votes (US voter population = ~145 million), which is about a fifth of his entire fortune. In short, rich people are not necessarily something to be afraid of, or to not want to be. At the most, wealthy billionaires like those mentioned in this article have been convicted of gluttony, or habitual greed.
What exactly is gluttony? Gluttony, as mentioned before, is habitual greed, and the desire to build wealth, even in high risk environments. It’s that “enough is never enough” and “win or lose all” attitude. Is it not necessarily a bad thing to have? No... Not at first, at the very least. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying to live a better life than you did yesterday. It’s the driving force that has kept humanity going since the beginning of it, and is the main reason that we have evolved enough to invent the internet, so people could complain about how humanity doesn’t evolve at all. When it gets out of control, however, believe it or not, the government actually steps in, at least in controlled market governments, to keep things fair. That way, we don’t get people like Rockefeller, whose wealth grew to nearly $300 billion dollars (in 2016 dollars) in a few decades. Rockefeller exploited monopolies, and price controls to get rich, but people can’t really do that anymore without getting their assets split up into dozens and dozens of tiny pieces.
So, can we really justify these claims? As with any point, I can be argued, but if you ask me, it’s a definite no. Sure, some do exploit the current systems to get richer, but ultimately, they’re not doing anything that a regular person wouldn’t do if they were promised an extra billion in their paycheck. They’re not breaking any laws, not stealing money, and not killing people for it, so it’s ok by me. After all, as a meritocrat, someone who believes in the concept of meritocracy, I think that anyone has the right to get as rich as the want, and keep all the money they get as a reward for their services, because in their quest for fortune, they’re creating jobs, new products, and real estate for the world at large to make use of. Capitalism is not a one way street to the top, it’s an avenue from the top, to the bottom, and back again, at all points on the road, whether you’re rich or poor or something in between.
So to wrap things up, do rich people make a lot of money? Yes. Do they sometimes make poor choices, or go too far in tier quest foe wealth? Yes. Are they terrible people for wanting to improve their lives? Not necessarily. Are rich people evil? NO. Are we sometime jealous of rich peoples’ wealth? Of course, and, at the very least, we should all take note of these points as we all get richer. Complaining about how the top 1% is evil and corrupt does nothing. You know what does? Rising to the top yourself, learning what not to do, and breaking the trend.
Thanks for reading everyone! Hopefully you enjoyed the article, and can sympathize with what I’m trying to get across. If you liked, or disliked it, please feel free to leave your thoughts down in the comments section. If you want to make an addition to the article (if you’re up for it), please feel free to leave a suggestion down below, or over on the contacts page, and I’ll be seeing you all in a few days for another article, but for now, here are a few more reading suggestions:
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