Originally Posted by Shamou
One of the best thing that we can do for the poor is not to become of of them...
My point was not to say we should all become nomadic wanderers living off the land. Far from it. I believe everyone in the world should be able to live a healthy and sustainable life.
My point is that it is extremely dangerous and egotistical to think that because you are earning more money than the next person, you are contributing more to society. It is also foolish to think that owning more possessions will make you happier.
Warren Buffet understands this. As humans we'd like to think that we're always in control but that's not the case. Some of your life does come down to "luck."
| I personally think that society is responsible for a very significant percentage of what I've earned. If you stick me down in the middle of Bangladesh or Peru or someplace, you find out how much this talent is going to produce in the wrong kind of soil... I work in a market system that happens to reward what I do very well - disproportionately well. Mike Tyson, too. If you can knock a guy out in 10 seconds and earn $10 million for it, this world will pay a lot for that. If you can bat .360, this world will pay a lot for that. If you're a marvelous teacher, this world won't pay a lot for it. If you are a terrific nurse, this world will not pay a lot for it. Now, am I going to try to come up with some comparable worth system that somehow (re)distributes that? No, I don't think you can do that. But I do think that when you're treated enormously well by this market system, where in effect the market system showers the ability to buy goods and services on you because of some peculiar talent - maybe your adenoids are a certain way, so you can sing and everybody will pay you enormous sums to be on television or whatever -I think society has a big claim on that.
There's the study that you've probably heard of which shows that up to a certain income level, a raise in income will increase your happiness. But once you surpass that level, happiness does not increase. There's a reason for that.
openeyes makes a good point. I recently read "The Millionaire Next Door." It is a study of America's millionaires. The authors found that it is not the millionaires who spend lavishly on expensive hotel rooms, cars and houses. Instead it is the people who can't afford it but want to look like they can. Most millionaires got to that point by wasting as little money as possible.