49 The real perspective on wealth 16 Jun 2020
What can you do with a lot of money? People who are there (wealthy) tend to have a realistic grasp on the benefits and the limitations. The rest of us tend to have wild dreams, unrealistic expectations of what we could accomplish with unlimited money.
In the knowledge industry where I am working as a blogger, pitchmen appeal to my materialism: luxury, travel, independence, security, complete freedom to come and go as I please, money to accomplish all my goals. They assume that I urgently need more money, or they artificially create a need for it.
Sometimes the blatant materialism is disgusting. Other times the appeal tells me that with more money I would accomplish more good in the world. Article 21 (need to be needed) calls that the selfishness button, another form of greed.
Earning money to do good is oxymoronic and backward. Clarity and focus are result oriented. Money is not a result!
Article 27 named people who used money for the common good. I doubt that they entered school or business specifically to become philanthropists. Instead, I submit that they sought fulfillment applying their talent for meeting people’s needs.
Two of these, Andrew Carnegie and Bill Gates, traveled the business path where their talent first accumulated huge wealth. Later they progressed to meeting people’s needs without obtaining income from doing so. They had leadership capacity and awareness of important needs to be met.
Jimmy Carter and Jane Addams had strong leadership skills but did not go through the same personal wealth phase. Having adequacy, they progressed directly to meeting needs outside the profit structure. Managing donations from others propelled their accomplishments far beyond their personal fortunes. Jimmy Carter did not say, “I will make a lot of money and then do some good in the world.” Instead, he said, “Let us work together to remove guinea worm and river blindness from the human population.” The path of clarity and focus led to that result instead of a detour into a lucrative career.
Friday’s article 48 used chess to illustrate clarity and focus. (The cover picture is indeed checkmate.) Ernstraud School enrichment added three weighty examples from science and industry to show that without clarity and focus one is unproductively chasing rainbows. It asked the question, “then what are we really doing?”
Article 27 listed physical and spiritual Humans’ Needs, particularly noting that money is not on the list! Wise managers understand that while money measures the flow of goods and services, it is never the money that meets people’s needs.
The threads weave together to this conclusion: Be real. Go after the king, not the money.
TV news once broadcast a journalist confronting a corporate executive with the fact that he earned 200 times the salary of an entry-level employee in his firm. That was cheap grandstanding, an uncomfortable moment in which there could be no thoroughly reasoned discussion. This blog undertakes the reasoning that was missing from that confrontation.
I am always raising questions without answers. There are no answers until human discernment encompasses sufficient details to move forward constructively. “Answers” are not terminations. They are evolving, provisional understandings always subject to verification and improvement.
Fundamental truth grants, as a matter of human right, equal access to healthcare, education, etc., as outlined in article 27, Humans’ Needs. That is minimum fairness. People help each other make use of opportunities without doling out equal doses of money or saying the words “get a job.” My well-being requires the management skill of others.
It takes the whole of society to build the facilities and infrastructure that meet our needs. No one individual can specify how all the parts fit together; that picture emerges from thoughtful effort and mutual respect. We need each other’s expertise. When the parts are all working, no individual has reason to stockpile wealth. Allocation of production and consumption balance at the micro and macro levels without leaving deserts or stagnant pools.
There is no room for selfish bickering at the private level or gridlock at the government level. In economics, “go after the king” refers to the clarity and focus of sharing the greater good.
What can you do with a lot of money? Article 48 asked, “then what are we really doing?” This week article 49 gives examples of constructive application of money. The supplement in Ernstraud School takes the discussion deeper into questions of fairness. In all cases, money is not the goal; it is merely a counting process.