Money — or at least the love it — is the root of all evil. It is, after all, easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. It says so right in the Bible. Yet, even those who cling to the literal truth of that hoary old text in so many other ways seem doubtful that God really hates the rich. They may be right — there is certainly no evidence to suggest it. And besides doesn’t the Bible also say that the poor shall always be with us.
Thus vast wealth and vast poverty must be the natural order of things, right? Well, maybe not so much — though it is extraordinarily convenient for rich people to have us believe that.
But we all know it is a terrible thing to be rich. They have to work so hard and really money can’t buy you happiness. Such lovely lies they like to tell us.
The facts are quite clear. If you have money you are less likely to suffer from chronic illness or, if you do get sick, to be as sick and miserable as the poor. Surprisingly, divorce rates and depression are also lower among the well-to-do. They live longer, too and, guess what, are less likely to be a victim of crime. But all is not rosy, of course. They have all that guilt to carry around, thinking about those less fortunate then themselves.
Sorry, most of them don’t do that either. Not even the nice ones. The reasons are sort of simple — if not exactly scientifically proven. I’d love to see a study to this effect but my theory is that the one thing that money does inflict on people is a kind of amnesia. Rich people — and I’ve known a few in my life — simply forget what it’s like to struggle. Oh, they have their little crises, deciding which fabulous place to take their holiday, for example, or what $5000 suit to wear today when they go to that gala at the golf club. But putting food on the table — that’s what servants are for.
But who really suffers from excessive wealth is society. A thorough study of the impact of excessive wealth — and therefore excessive inequality — showed that increased inequality leads to higher rates of unhappiness, illness, crime and shorter life spans, more depression and mental illness and greater failures of democracy. Eventually it might lead to a greater use of pitchforks and tumbrels too. So, rich people should make sure they pay their private security guards a living wage or… well, loyalty is so rare these days.
Money, they say, can’t buy everything you want. For example, we all know that money won’t buy elections. So I guess all those billionaires in the USA trying to buy elections for their favorite pet politicians are not nearly as bright as they would have us believe. Right?
But that’s ten minutes.