Why it’s a rich man’s world.
Money, it’s a drag. That’s what Pink Floyd told us, so it must be true. We want money, we need money, and we are dependent on money, whether we like it or not. The rich live longer by an average of 10 years in countries like the US or the UK, but the gap is much wider in developing economies where the poor suffer from malnutrition and don’t have access to medical care. Some of us get lucky and inherit, but for most trying to get more money is a life-long endeavour.
There are eight billion people in the world, but only 2,750 billionaires. Sure, there are also an estimated 350,000 who are considered ultra-rich and own assets worth more than US$ 30 million. However, that still leaves 99.99995625% that will never understand what it’s like to be sitting on a yacht and being upset because the light bulbs on the second floor decking made their skin tone appear a bit too orangey. That’s the thing about money, for those that have it, a world with limits is just as unfathomable as an existence with no constraints for those that do not.
For the ones that grew up wanting, it is only natural to spend it once the money comes pouring in. Judging from our social media activity, undoubtfully there also seems to be an incessant need to show off that which we have, so as to convince everyone, including ourselves, that we have finally gone past the point of keeping up with the Joneses. On the other hand, for those to whom money was a birth right, there is scant incentive to do anything at all. Either way, the statistics are fairly sobering, and 70 percent of wealth is destroyed by the second generation (Money Magazine).
So, what to make of this obsession with money? For one, it is a lot easier to hang on to it, than trying to make it. Money can be invested, but you can’t spend what you don’t have, which is an entirely different proposition. Two, no one cares. Whether we buy Ferraris, yachts, or private planes, it has all been done before and there is always someone richer out there, so best to stick to rule number one. Finally, money doesn’t buy you happiness. In the (allegedly) immortal words of Steve Jobs: all the wealth in the world is meaningless in the face of imminent death. So there you have it, live long and prosper.