Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Maxiavelli: The Wealthy

Chalk Cliffs on Rügen by Caspar David Friedrich

Some rich people stand on the verge of the cliff...

I am not against the rich and (not always) beautiful; being so would be hypocritical of me – after all, my name is Max not Marx. I am, however, surprised at how some individuals misuse their wealth, lose their focus because of it and how some others actually feel guilty about being wealthy.

Being wealthy is a blessing: either one worked very hard to live comfortably or someone in the family did (meaning that future generations should always honour their ancestors’ enterprises & heritage).
Being rich doesn’t mean that one sits around doing nothing, au contraire; it means that one must work even harder to maintain the family’s wealth or to increase the family’s power & influence or even to be able to create a solid foundation to help the less favoured.

Work sets you free!

It is such a waste when heirs grow up to be playboys and imprison their spirit by leading shallow lives. When an heir doesn’t know what it wants from life, he/she could work to better his/her community. This individual could travel abroad and help developing communities around the globe. By Jove, there is so much a person can do in this world (but I guess the alcohol, drugs and contraceptive industry would suffer from this ethical metamorphosis)!

Then we have those wealthy folks who actually feel guilty about their social status. Suddenly they begin handing out the proceeds of their family’s sweat & blood, without even realising that they may be encouraging laziness and other societal malaises. They join leftist parties and become the most radical anti-rich voice in the nation, while maintaining the life style they were brought up in, bien sûre. They get angry with the establishment and then all the rich people become “they & them”. They get consumed with guilt and in utter depression they may pen down something like “Das Kapital”...

Being wealthy is a privilege: when one doesn’t need to focus entirely on providing for the basic needs one has more latitude to focus on developing its spirituality, its sense of ethics, decency and common good. One has more room to transcend the Self and see beyond matter. But one also has more time to ponder on personal & political strategies.
Of course, there are those who being less favoured achieve these very same things (which is highly commendable) but, without a doubt, not having to worry about the bare necessities of life facilitates the process.

Wealth is not a carte blanche to oppress others. Wealth is not a permit to intolerance. Wealth does not equal waste. Wealth requires polished manners. Wealth requires mainly wisdom, understanding & knowledge.
When some people do not understand these simple rules they, indeed, sway on the edge of that dangerous cliff...

14 comments:

  1. I do believe that being rich could be a curse to some people. I love what Ted Turner has done with his wealth. One thing he has done is buy up land to preserve so that the animals have someplace to live wild. Of course he has given much more to charity too. Sometimes I think that if I were rich I would always worry about whether or not I was giving away enough. I worry about how God would look at me. But after having my son return from a 2 year mission in El Salvador, I realize that we ARE rich! I think I should be giving much more than I currently am giving. "Rich" is a matter of perspective.

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  2. Hi D! :D

    "I do believe that being rich could be a curse to some people."

    Depending on how a person gets rich, yes it could.

    "I love what Ted Turner has done with his wealth. One thing he has done is buy up land to preserve so that the animals have someplace to live wild. Of course he has given much more to charity too."

    Charity is a tricky business: it can do good but it can also promote evil (i.e. dependency). I believe in giving back to the community, rather than doing charity; money can help developing communities (starting with paying school to children whose family cannot afford it) and I believe in that sort of wealth-sharing.

    "Sometimes I think that if I were rich I would always worry about whether or not I was giving away enough. I worry about how God would look at me."

    Really? God just wants us to love & serve Him and do the right thing (e.g. our mission).

    "But after having my son return from a 2 year mission in El Salvador, I realize that we ARE rich! I think I should be giving much more than I currently am giving. "Rich" is a matter of perspective."

    :D you are indeed. Rich can indeed be a matter of perspective...

    D, such a wonderful comment: thank you so much for it (loved the way it complemented the article) :D.

    Cheers

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  3. Max, I had many fiery debates with communists who accuse rich people of not having to work for what they have and just laze around. And when if they are before an heir it makes it all worse: they throw themselves at heirs like wolves.
    I agree that wealthy people should use their money properly. For instance, I don't understand those women who waste money shopping every day/week while leaving their children with strangers at home; I don't understand women who travel all the time during school year, leaving nannies to tend for their kids...being wealthy should mean not to worry about basic needs and therefore dedicate themselves to their children and community.

    "Wealth is not a carte blanche to oppress others. Wealth is not a permit to intolerance. Wealth does not equal waste. Wealth requires polished manners. Wealth requires mainly wisdom, understanding & knowledge." - I totally agree with you!

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  4. There's nothing wrong with a shallow life really, as long as they enjoy it. The rich have money to use for themselves; they aren't obligated to spend it in any meaningful way.

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  5. Not being wealthy, but content with what I do have, I often wonder at the fickleness of the new rich. I don't do anything, but just smile at their follies and move on with my own life. At least one rich friend finds me very peculiar and I often have to ask him to change the topic when it veers around to wealth and related matters.

    If I had a name like Max, I would not have such problems!

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  6. Hi Max,

    Love the topic and photo. "…my name is Max not Marx.." ROFL! ^5

    I am so tired of the negative spin on the wealthy. Since when has achievement been a scourge? The wealthy are taxed when they buy, sell, spend, and invest. They even have payroll taxes. I don't agree with the term, "fair share," because who is to say what is a "fair share?" Politicians use this term to get elected and to create class warfare and it does nothing but create envy and ill will towards people who have worked hard and sometimes started with nothing.

    Being wealthy is almost a burden in today's society. It IS a blessing. I get perturbed when I hear billionaires say they want to pay more taxes - nobody is stopping them!

    "Work sets you free!" Hear, hear! I know one of those heirs who is nearly 40 and has never worked a day in his life. He went to school and got a law degree, but after that, he stopped doing anything.

    "They join leftist parties and become the most radical anti-rich voice in the nation, while maintaining the life style they were brought up in, bien sûre."

    Some of the occupiers fit this category which still puzzles me.

    You have hit the degrees of wealth perfectly, written so colorfully too. Thank you. This is definitely among the best written posts on the internet. You are wealthy beyond measure because you have a rich soul and you can't go wrong there.

    Wealthy Healthy Cheers!

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  7. Well said, Max. Rich or poor, we should aspire to wisdom and understanding.

    I aspire also, to be happy while maintaining a social consciousness.

    I do not aspire to be rich, but when I count my blessings and have the space and time to enjoy the beauties of life, I feel very rich indeed!

    One more thought: wealth never buys the entitlement to cheat, oppress, or steal from others!

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  8. Hi Ana :D!

    "Max, I had many fiery debates with communists who accuse rich people of not having to work for what they have and just laze around."

    LOL unfortunately they all repeat this silly rhetoric based on jealousy and ignorance *nodding*.

    "I agree that wealthy people should use their money properly. For instance, I don't understand those women who waste money shopping every day/week while leaving their children with strangers at home; I don't understand women who travel all the time during school year, leaving nannies to tend for their kids...being wealthy should mean not to worry about basic needs and therefore dedicate themselves to their children and community."

    Shallow lives: that's the kind of life those women lead (and it is such a waste of breath and energy). People seem to forget that having kids is a huge responsibility and not just an animalistic act, not just a natural body process...*nodding*.

    *bowing*...

    Ana, thank you so so much for having shared your thoughts with us :D.

    Cheers

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  9. Hi Rummy :D!

    "Not being wealthy, but content with what I do have, I often wonder at the fickleness of the new rich. I don't do anything, but just smile at their follies and move on with my own life."

    I totally know what you mean...It's sad when humans cause us to disrespect them *nodding*.

    "At least one rich friend finds me very peculiar and I often have to ask him to change the topic when it veers around to wealth and related matters."

    lol I can imagine...

    "If I had a name like Max, I would not have such problems!"

    Well, I must confess that I don't know what to make of your words really: are they a compliment or quite the opposite? Either way, Maxiavelli appreciates them ;).

    Rummy, thank you so much for your comment :D.

    Cheers

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  10. Hi Vid :D!

    "There's nothing wrong with a shallow life really, as long as they enjoy it."

    But that is the thing: they do not enjoy it; they only appear to do so.

    "The rich have money to use for themselves; they aren't obligated to spend it in any meaningful way."

    If I had the time I would share a little story about the Mandarim (it is a book, by Eça de Queirós, that explores this notion that money is to be employed on the self and not in a meaningful and productive way...needless to say that the gentleman in question ended in misery although submerged in his wealth).

    Vid, thank you so much for sharing your opinion on this matter :D.

    Cheers

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  11. Hi Lady A :D!

    "Love the topic and photo. "…my name is Max not Marx.." ROFL! ^5"

    Thanks. LOL ^5!

    "I am so tired of the negative spin on the wealthy. Since when has achievement been a scourge?"

    Good question. But I suspect this trend began as a reaction to elitist dismissiveness (know what I mean?)...

    "The wealthy are taxed when they buy, sell, spend, and invest. They even have payroll taxes. I don't agree with the term, "fair share," because who is to say what is a "fair share?" Politicians use this term to get elected and to create class warfare and it does nothing but create envy and ill will towards people who have worked hard and sometimes started with nothing."

    In times of economic crisis who keeps buying, spending, investing? The wealthy. Yes, they pay taxes (and in Portugal they pay a lot - 45%).
    Fair share? They should define "fair share" because I know what fair share is: to be compensated for the amount of hours invested in achieving one's goals; for the sacrifices made to get where one is; for the sleepless nights and the worries and the responsibility etc etc. I heard it is not easy to be rich. True about the politicians and the consequences of their manipulative actions.

    "Being wealthy is almost a burden in today's society. It IS a blessing. I get perturbed when I hear billionaires say they want to pay more taxes - nobody is stopping them!"

    lol you know? True. LOL LOL do like the French Wealthy: they offered themselves to give more money to their government as a patriotic act.

    "I know one of those heirs who is nearly 40 and has never worked a day in his life. He went to school and got a law degree, but after that, he stopped doing anything."

    Poor soul *nodding*

    "Some of the occupiers fit this category which still puzzles me."

    Right? I remember seeing Demi's ex there...I was shocked.

    "You have hit the degrees of wealth perfectly, written so colorfully too. Thank you."

    Thank you for your generosity. You are welcome, darling :D.

    "This is definitely among the best written posts on the internet. You are wealthy beyond measure because you have a rich soul and you can't go wrong there."

    Why, thank you, Lady A: that is most kind of you *bowing*! I feel like I am nearly blushing...nope, not yet lol ;).

    My darling, thank you ever so much for having shared your thoughts with us :D.

    Wealthy Healthy Cheers

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  12. Hi Lynda :D!

    "Well said, Max. Rich or poor, we should aspire to wisdom and understanding."

    Thank you, my darling *bowing*. Absolutely!

    "I aspire also, to be happy while maintaining a social consciousness."

    That is a good aspiration...

    "I do not aspire to be rich, but when I count my blessings and have the space and time to enjoy the beauties of life, I feel very rich indeed!"

    Good for you: being rich can tiresome (so I heard) *nodding*. Amen to that, darling!

    "One more thought: wealth never buys the entitlement to cheat, oppress, or steal from others!"

    So true, so so true.

    Lynda, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us :D. You were missed!

    Cheers

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  13. Max dear, well said and wealth well dissected. You said: 'Suddenly they begin handing out the proceeds of their family’s sweat & blood, without even realising that they may be encouraging laziness and other societal malaises.' - oh I agree with you on this, as I sometimes found myself doing it. However, I learned my lesson though.

    Oh it is so nice to see that you are still around blogging my friend.

    Anna :)

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  14. Hi Anna :D!

    It's great to see you here! :)

    "Max dear, well said and wealth well dissected."

    Thank you *bowing*.

    "['Suddenly they begin handing out the proceeds of their family’s sweat & blood, without even realising that they may be encouraging laziness and other societal malaises.'] - oh I agree with you on this, as I sometimes found myself doing it. However, I learned my lesson though."

    I believe many of us have learned the lesson, Anna *nodding*...

    "Oh it is so nice to see that you are still around blogging my friend."

    :D you know the world keeps giving me material to blog about, so I suspect I will be around for quite a while lol ;)...

    Anna, my dear friend, thank you for having stopped by and for your comment (loved it) :D.
    I hope all is well with you and Baby Matthew, please send him my love.

    Cheers

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