Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The Poverty of Wealth . . .
In my last blog, I talked about boycotting as a means to eradicate economic oppression imposed by the wealthy. In this blog, I would like to briefly address a common social malaise that I have come to call the poverty of wealth. To many of us, this grinds against the anvil of our common understanding of wealth that is defined largely by the formative works of Adam Smith and Karl Marx. To put plainly, the poverty of wealth is an appropriate term to expose the baser nature of human beings to aggrandize and accumulate wealth through questionable means. Wealth for wealth's gain should never be an end in and of itself. Thus, we regulate the means that we attain our wealth through an inherent moral barometer that must always be tethered to our minds and hearts so that greed and ruthless business practices are cut off at the knees. This does not ring more true when we recall the works of great economic thinkers who inspire us to reach with outstretched arms for that great Utopian ideal of social equitability, fairness and accountability in all our business dealings no matter how small. Take a simple example - if a thief steals a valuable Monet from a museum and sells it for twice its price and attains great wealth - the downside can be very costly to the balance of our economic lives - the museum may have to pay heavy fines; insurance companies will dole out large sums for a stolen item; law enforcement will spend time and money to search for the purloined painting; the overall educational and social value of the painting will be diminished; and the thief himself may be apprehended in the process and lose his freedom. Thus, the act of pilfering the artwork will lead to immeasurable economic loss and chip away at the Utopian ideal that admonishes such an action - and advance our hypothesis. Once we realize that our actions are judged on a higher social level, we will always fail to see or understand the wisdom of our teachers who guide us towards rightful economic success - and once our worldly affairs are in order, we will also fall in line with our religious and ascetic duty as citizens to live out our lives in a highly discriminating way in a complex economic universe. Let us not promote the poverty of wealth when we set out to seek our own rightful share of the economic pie but also reflect on what it means to be of sound and magnanimous heart if not only because the alternative pales in comparison.