Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wealth As A Mind Altering Substance

There was an interesting article in the LA Times yesterday about how the wealthy are more likely to cheat.  Apparently drivers of expensive cars are more often guilty of discourteous driving, and if you're rich you're more likely to keep the change from a $20 when you only paid with a $10. 
There is a strong notion that when people don't have much, they're really looking out for themselves and they might act unethically, but actually, it's the upper-class people that are less likely to see that people around them need help — and therefore act unethically.
And it seems that most cultures, historically, have known this somehow, and even in Matthew 19:24 we have the camel-thru-the-eye-of-the-needle image...
"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
How come we don't produce a poor wise man in our society?  Kurt Vonnegut has this to say in Slaughterhouse Five...
America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. [...] Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. [...] The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: “if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?”
Maybe wealth, like any other mind altering substance, should only be taken in moderation.

No comments:

Post a Comment