How to be wealthy
This headline reads “be”, not “become”, wealthy. I have no unusual ideas on how to become wealthy; if I did, would I be writing this column every week? Which is something to consider when faced with all the self-help books promising wealth and success which fill bookstores.
No, this pitiful topic concerns the attitudes, preferences, symbols, choices, etc. which broadcast to others that one is very wealthy. More specifically, it’s not that you are wealthy (and most of us are not), but that you deserve to be so. The proper attitude is that you have the morality which accounts for your success in life, suggesting that the non-wealthy obviously lack these moral qualities.
This attitude does not include, never includes, the fact that you likely inherited your wealth. That would mean that your being wealthy has little relation to any moral qualities you may imagine yourself possessing. The proper attitude of wealth is an overarching endorsement of individualism – individuals accomplish everything, don’t you know! Forget the inheritances -- and you’ll want to be hostile to “mob rule” and any other income-equalizing measures. You’ll also want to make sure you have an off-shore account, or two, just as insurance against hostile legislation at home.
Another attitude necessary is that wealth inequalities, the differences among us all, are necessary. And good. Accumulation of wealth creates surplus pools of money which can be used to improve society or institute new social programs. Otherwise, no investment . . . or it’s done by, gasp! Big Government. The wealthy help us all pool our money – so they can use it. Hence all their banks and financial services.
A genuine class-consciousness is also mandatory, and this includes “a lack of feeling of community with one’s fellow men” (so felt DH Lawrence). A sense of community often includes an urge to share, which is not always a strong suit of the wealthy. Being wealthy includes the belief that wealth is limited, and if it was to be shared among everyone, everyone would be poor.
A respect for willpower also seems common here, perhaps because the wealthy wish to attribute their wealth to the exercise of their will in pursuing focused goals. The poor have trouble focusing, that’s a common enough view. There’s a hidden sense of entitlement here. Wealth is a sign of moral virtue, meaning the poor lack certain virtues, which the wealthy have cultivated.
Of course, everyone is different and it is absurd to suggest that everyone in one economic class thinks the same way – however, they do have their characteristics and their common concerns.
Yes, I consider myself one of the wealthy. When I look at my life, my family and community, all the people I’ve worked with, the opportunities and the assistance I’ve met – I’m immensely wealthy. It’s just that there’s not much actual cash connected with all this, which, no doubt, proves its genuine and lasting value.