I Hate Rich Guys. Or Do I?

 

If real life is so much more important than money, Tom Matlack writes, then why do so many men care about being rich?

In the 1990s I had to endure martini-fueled lunches at the Hope Club on the East Side of Providence when I was the Chief Financial Officer of The Providence Journal Company. Family shareholders, men who spent their days playing drunken games of backgammon in tweed jackets worn through at the elbows, would ridicule my boss and me for our gross negligence at the helm of their inheritance. When we sold a portion of the company (the cable assets that constituted less than half of the whole) for $1.4 billion, each of these individuals received hundreds of millions. “Phew,” one commented. “I can pay for the milk this month.” The speaker had never worked at the company. In fact, he’d never worked at all. He was delusional and dead serious.

In 2001, just after making a fortune on the Internet bubble, I bought a brand new metallic blue Porsche convertible loaded with every available option. I had to wait for my car to be built according to my specifications. A few days after it was finally delivered and was safely in my garage, I found myself walking down Newbury Street in Boston, a high-end shopping district, and happened to see some other guy driving exactly the same car. “What an asshole,” I caught myself muttering as my instinct was to loathe the driver of such an extravagant vehicle until realizing that if he was an asshole, then I must be one, too.

♦◊♦

I realize that our national religion is that greed is good. But I am not so sure.

Guys keep score based on their financial influence. Owning a team is close to the pinnacle. Being a sports celebrity is pretty good too. As is running a big company. But the best is just pure, raw wealth, generally generated these days through running a successful hedge fund or being a founder of a company that got huge in a hurry. There is most definitely a sense of who has what and who has done what. The men know it, and so do the women, more than a few of whom are with dramatically older husbands who offer little in the way of physique but more than make up for that in power and wealth.

I am just as greedy as the next guy, so it would be highly hypocritical of me to dish out hate without pointing the finger directly at myself. In some sense I have built my own identity, my own ego, around my ability to magically turn straw into gold. I like to play it off—to hide the fact behind nobler ambitions. But put me in the room with the raw meat of a deal at stake and see what happens.

We have a problem when it comes to money and manhood. Why is there so much talk about money among guys? Why is any real discussion about our own complicated relationship to personal wealth and poverty more difficult to get at than our sexual hang-ups? S&M is kind of cute. Money is not.

♦◊♦

According to the most recent census, 47,000 Americans had a net worth of in excess of $20 million. That’s 0.01% of the population. They controlled 25% of the personal wealth in the country, or $2.6 trillion. According to the same census as of March 2009, 8.1 million U.S. families are living below the poverty line.

Separate from the brutal facts of the growing inequity of wealth distribution is the lack of real upward mobility, which was once the very heart and soul of our country’s mission. And this comes down to educational opportunity. It’s no surprise that Bill Gates and Marc Zuckerberg attended Harvard. All of our recent Presidents and all of our sitting Supreme Court justices went to elite colleges.

Separate from the brutal facts of the growing inequity of wealth distribution is the lack of real upward mobility, which was once the very heart and soul of our country’s mission. And this comes down to educational opportunity.

The most recent study of global education by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was striking, not only because the U.S. fell out of the top 10 in almost every category, but also because of the underlying reason for the fall. “The best school systems were the most equitable—students do well regardless of their socio-economic background. But schools that select students based on ability early show the greatest differences in performance by socio-economic background.”

On this basis, the U.S. did far worse than most of the developing and developed world (See: Waiting for Superman). For a country that prides itself on being able to build a life and a dream from absolutely nothing, the fact is that is near-impossible given our current system of elite private secondary schools and colleges and failing public ones.

Eight years ago, a political scientist named Anthony Marx took over as President of Amherst College, perhaps the most selective of all elite colleges, with the stated agenda of changing the school’s admissions policies to ones based on merit that did not exclude those below the poverty line. In his 2003 inaugural address, he quoted from a speech President John F. Kennedy had given at Amherst—he asked, “What good is a private college unless it is serving a great national purpose?”

Marx recently resigned to run the New York City Public Library system. And while he made progress at Amherst—22% of his students receive Pell Grants, which means they are in the bottom half of the income distribution, up from 13% when he took over—according to Mr. Marx the national problem has only gotten worse. He was quoted in The New York Times at the time of his final commencement address:

We claim to be part of the American dream and of a system based on merit and opportunity and talent,” Mr. Marx said. “Yet if at the top places, two-thirds of the students come from the top quartile and only five percent come from the bottom quartile, then we are actually part of the problem of the growing economic divide rather than part of the solution.

He mentioned a Georgetown University study of the class of 2010 at the country’s 193 most selective colleges. As entering freshmen, only 15 percent of students came from the bottom half of the income distribution. Sixty-seven percent came from the highest-earning fourth of the distribution. These statistics mean that on many campuses affluent students outnumber middle-class students.

♦◊♦

I grew up the son of intellectuals. My paternal grandparents had some money but that didn’t change my day-to-day existence. If the standard amongst faculty brats in Amherst, Massachusetts was to live in humble-but-new construction homes in a development called Echo Hill, we fell below that standard. We lived in a double house on Main Street that my parents turned into a communal living situation for graduate students.

There just wasn’t any extra money. We drove a Volvo station wagon into the ground and then a white Renault that was purchased used and broke down frequently. I was put on a clothing allowance early on and left to fend for myself. By the time I was in junior high, my dad had been passed over for tenure, and money had gone from tight to a lot tighter.

I was a particularly sensitive kid, large for my age and shy. My brother and sister were not phased by this unique upbringing, but it pained me. I was embarrassed. I became determined to fit in when I became an adult. I would have enough money to live in the equivalent of Echo Hill. Little did I know, I would vastly overshoot my goal.

My parents gave me two very important gifts: a strong intellectual grounding and an example of being utterly fearless in the face of authority (in their case it was demonstrating for Civil Rights and against the Vietnam War). I went to an elite college and university on what I had internalized pretty much through osmosis from my parents, and when the time came to enter the business world—and make true my determination not to be poor—my abilities proved to be perplexingly effective.

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Porsche photo pedrosimoes7/Flickr

Harvard photo: Patricia Drury/Flickr

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About Tom Matlack

Thomas Matlack is a venture capitalist.

Comments

  1. “…the brutal facts of the growing inequity of wealth distribution…”

    Objection your Honor! I’ve yet to see ANY “distribution” of this nations wealth. Was I born into a world where zillions were already settled somewhere? Yes! Is there anything I can do about where the dollars settled after my birth? Yes!

    The day anyone distributes free-market wealth in the USA (beyond welfare etc), I’ll move to Italy where they are already proficient at the game.

    (I know “distribution of wealth” is a catch-phrase for a sense of economic and social equity, but I just wanted to drive home a point that we have never had any real “distribution” where it was not commanded by some action other than fairness)

  2. guess I’m banned now.
    Oh well. Probably for the better.

  3. But Tom, haven’t you been paying any attention? It’s all just a myth that the evil patriarchy forces upon us.
    Here are two articles that get some much needed perspective on the whole money obsession:

    http://www.brightmillionaire.com/articles/opinions/money-is-not-everything-bull

    http://www.brightmillionaire.com/articles/opinions/money-myths

  4. Men caring about being rich (having status and power and coming off as “providers” to women is paralleled in our evolved psychology by women caring about being beautiful. Bottom line, it’s about appealing to the opposite sex. Lamenting our evolved adaptations is silly.

    • ” Lamenting our evolved adaptations is silly.”

      And yet, you still took time to read and comment on this ‘silly’ article.

  5. As soon as you make money, and lots of it people get jealous. Two partners and i have created over 120M in income, in the last 16 months with oilfield related investments. People just assume this comes with no work. Everyone can create somthing from nothing if you want it bad enough. And i get constant comments about how i just throw money away. If i make it i’m gonna spend it, just like anyone else.

  6. Interesting mind-trip especially regarding your own self-awareness about your own want or desire to be rich. It is a very nuanced and layered issue. Thanks for sharing.

  7. What a GREAT article! I have always said that most women have a “love-hate” relationship with money, but now you’ve spilled the beans for me… men do, too! Even financially successful men.

    I appreciated the honesty with which you were able to sort through your own feelings about money, including the judgment placed on others who might be not so different from you. It has always struck me that prejudice against the rich is a great way to keep ourselves stuck in not-so-empowering financial positions ourselves, since we tend not to move towards that which we despise. As you said (in slightly different words), driving a Porsche doesn’t make someone as asshole nearly as much as assuming that everyone who drives a Porsche is an asshole does. (Though I think you said it better… I’ll be quoting you in a blog post soon.)

    I found the statistics on education and wealth very interesting, but I’m not sure I draw the same conclusions as you do. Yes, the gap between the haves and have-nots seems to be widening daily. And yet, as I pointed out recently while examining the question, “Are Things Getting Better or Worse?” (http://totalwealthcoaching.com/wp/are-things-getting-better-or-worse/ ) there is also unprecedented opportunity for the average person to compete in business due to advances in technology and communications (especially the internet).

    Yes, Ivy league educations are going to be primarily accessed by the wealthy, but is an Ivy league education a necessity to business success in this day and age? (Heck, was it EVER necessary!?) The list of past and present billionaires who never finished or attended college is impressive, including Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Henry Ford, Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, and many more industry leaders. Gates was finally awarded an honorary degree in 2007, and Mark Zuckerberg left school to run his business.

    There’s no question that educational opportunities are more limited to those with less money, but as the Thiel Fellowship insinuates, perhaps we’ve confused cause and effect when it comes to wealth and education. Perhaps a Harvard degree might be the equivalent of a Porshe these days… a nice status symbol.

  8. You description of the “family shareholders” is so funny…My neighbor is dating a guy from a wealthy family (oilfields in Texas!) but it seems that all he does is play golf and constantly drunk call her….Charming, ay? She broke up with him for 9 months and then he won her back with a huge diamond ring…I don’t know him that well but it seems that he just thinks people are just his little playthings to entertain him…

    Great article…Thanks for digging deep!

  9. The truth of this recession is not just one issue there are many things that have taken place. Just like many things take place to create wealth there is also the other side of the coin. All of the people’s actions, the government, the laws and mentality are what has brought this country down. People don’t want to worship god anymore and they expect to be wealthy. The government is doing a horrible job at protecting civil and religious liberties. Socialism is creeping in from under the door due to stupid choices that have been made by our liberal leaders. Political leaders are focused more on an image rather than brains and when we place a person in the presidency just because of his image and because of whom he knows it is a big mistake. Leaders have to have morals and be prepared to take charge without blaming anyone for the situation. From the moment that we start to violate the constitution and we disregard the framework of law created by the founding fathers then our laws become void without any authority. E.g. Richard Whitney, Halliburton Scandal, Bernard Mad off, Enron Scandal all these are just a few of the economic problem. Moreover, the problem with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac the real problem here was not the stated income lending but the increase in the price of the housing market and the responsible one should have been the government for not placing a cap on the price of homes. This issue is endless and the ones to blame is not just one group of people but many areas of society, economics and political.

  10. Tom, thanks much for having the guts to talk about this (and I’m sorry that I missed it when you first wrote it). I think it’s really one of the most important issues our country faces, and it’s kind of astounding to me what a blind spot people really have about it.

    You’re completely right, of course, that money does buy happiness up to a certain point – the point at which you can pay the bills and have enough left over to do some things that mean something to you, and hopefully put away a little in savings against your retirement or kids’ college or in case you’re ever out of work. And you’re right that many, many people are not at that point, so “money can’t buy happiness” certainly does ring hollow to anyone in that situation.

    But I think where things get fuzzy is once you get past that point. It seems people either have an attitude of “the richer the better,” or they think rich people are assholes. What’s bizarre to me is that no one qualifies wealth; they only quantify it. To many people, Money = success and success = happiness, and anyone who is rich therefore deserves respect and power. Some people, of course, are also base enough to believe that likewise if you’re poor, you deserve it somehow, but that’s another story. The real story is that (at least once you get past that threshold of being able to comfortably pay for your basic needs) how much money you have isn’t the meat of the matter; it’s how did you come by your money, and what do you do with it?

    You touched on this a bit, Tom, when you said that what matters is whether your life has meaning, and that while you’re OK with people who are rich, you don’t like people who are only rich. When money becomes an end and not a means to an end, you have too much. It’s a burden and it makes you unhappy at best and an asshole at worst.

    So, just to ask you a couple of pointed questions – and I certainly don’t mean this as a personal attack on you, because as I’ve already said, I think it’s extremely courageous and self aware of you to bring it up. But for one thing I’m just curious as to your answers, and mainly I would hope it would help you to reach some clarity about this, which you say has been tough for you:

    1) You say the first thing you did when you became wealthy was to run out and get a custom Porsche. Why? I’ve always wanted to ask someone this because I can’t relate to it at all; if I suddenly became wealthy I’d never go buy something like that. I know, you might say “It’s a guy thing; dudes dig sports cars,” but neither would I go out and buy 300 pairs of expensive shoes or diamond jewelery. It just doesn’t interest me at all, and I’m uncomfortable with ostentatious displays of wealth. You seem to be, too, based on your reaction to that other guy in a Porsche similar to yours. So… why the Porsche?

    2) You said “I take seriously the fiduciary duty to my family to continue to make investments that increase rather than diminish the value of our portfolio. I am still just as vicious when real money is at stake in a competitive situation.” Why? If you and your family have everything you need, why does that still matter?

    3) This website is full of ads, and although I love the site and its content, the ads are so pervasive (and the auto-refresh on each page to serve more ads is particularly annoying) that it does detract from the user experience. Why? It can’t cost all that much to run the site, and I’m guessing you don’t “need” the ad revenue. Is there some ingrained part of your consciousness that feels that anything you venture into must be profitable in terms of dollars, to be worthwhile? Because I would beg to differ with that. This site has incredible intrinsic, human value and you are blessed with the means to provide the space for this conversation. Why not well and truly give it away freely?

    Maybe it’s my perspective as a musician – I can really relate to what Kerry said above. Money to me equals time and funds to do creative things. Making more money, being around people you really don’t want to be around, all those things you said you didn’t like – I can’t stand any of that either. I could have gone considerably further in my career but have passed over numerous opportunities to do so, because life’s too short to spend so much time around assholes. For me, I eschew all that even though I make a lot less money than you do – I can’t even imagine continuing to be in that world if I had shitloads of money. I’d be off playing music, building a sustainable home that I’d try to turn into a model for “regular people,” funding other music and art, buying land to donate as public space, developing the educational computer game I want to develop, doing charitable work – there are SO many things I could think of to do if I had the wealth and time, if I didn’t have to work a “day job”. As it is, my day job isn’t bad and it gives me at least some resources to do the things I want to do. But I could do so much more if I had all day to do it, and enough funding. I can’t imagine wanting to spend that time dealing with more assholes to make even more money. As far as we know, you only get one life and as far as I’m concerned we should spend it surrounding ourselves with people we love and doing things that will leave the world a better place than we found it.

    I realize we come from different places, and you don’t have the same types of dreams that I do. And maybe the way people become “only rich” is because they don’t have any dreams at all besides making more money. But it’s pretty clear that you do, and you don’t have to take any kind of vow of poverty to explore those possibilities and to realize that you can still be rich without always having to get richer, and in fact sometimes it feels damned good to LOSE money on something you truly care about. You’re in a position where it’s OK to think radically differently about money, and that would kick ass.

  11. I think rich people don’t even realize how lucky they are.

    • I don't know says:

      I think rich people feel like martyrs.

      • Agreed. I’m pretty sure that it’s been established the the rich almost always underestimate their wealth. You see it very often with rich people who are in 1% who do not feel they are wealthy.

  12. I’m a musician. Well, I’m really a musician, artist, writer… but I don’t really get to do it much. I spend most of my days in severe depression. I went to college – two of them in fact, and I’ve been employed during the entire economic crisis.

    Most days, I see my income – 66% of it after taxes – going out the door so fast I have just enough to buy groceries and gas for my car to get to work. I have one luxury – a cell phone that’s far removed from the top of the line, gotta have it Apple stuff.

    I realize that I may very well be working the rest of my life, bouncing from one office job to another. I dream about touring around, making music and performing it, collaborating with others and such, but I’m so busy trying to stay afloat, I don’t even have time to dream much anymore.

    I feel like life isn’t very fulfilling. Some days I don’t even feel like life even means anything. And it’s because I’m shackled to a system that says “WORK. EARN. OBEY.”, and then pummels me like I’m Rodney King if I don’t.

    I say this to the rich. Feel very fortunate. Remember that there are people out there that are being subjected to how cruel the world can be daily. A caged bird cannot fly. I can’t even feel my wings anymore.

  13. This article reminds me of when I was a kid and tried to keep all the cookies for myself. I told my little brother that the cookies were bad. They tated awful, you wouldn’t want any, you’re better off without them. They have raisins in them (I said, even when they didn’t have raisins), and you don’t like raisins. Never seemed to work….

  14. The problem with Americans in general is our shortsightedness and our microcosm view of the world. If someone earns $40,000 annually, do you realize they are in the top 3% of the wealthiest people worldwide? The World Bank reports that 85% of the worlds population earns less than $2100 annually with over 50% earning less than $850. The sheer amount of poverty in this world is staggering and the best Americans do is complain about what they don’t have. We have completely lost sight of our fellow man, viewing their problems as being “over there”.

    The idea of money making you happy and content is utter nonsense. While the person who is behind on bills could see the validity in that the evidence is overwhelming to the contrary. Is it any wonder that over 70% of lottery winners file bankruptcy? That is more than just a sign of poor money management.

    Our desire for wealth lies at the heart of our cultural crisis. For all of the shrapnel it’s caused, the current recession has been a wake up call for many. The uber-wealthy will continue to get rich squandering their lives away with frivolity, luxury, and excess all they while, though they’d never admit it, the light of their souls gets dimmer and dimmer.

    I feel sympathy for them, they spend their entire lives chasing a dream they will never catch and will never be enough.

    • Anonymous Male says:

      “The problem with Americans in general is our shortsightedness and our microcosm view of the world. If someone earns $40,000 annually, do you realize they are in the top 3% of the wealthiest people worldwide? The World Bank reports that 85% of the worlds population earns less than $2100 annually with over 50% earning less than $850. ”

      I see your point. It’s a good one. I would point out that the situation looks a tiny bit better if you factor in the cost of living. A thousand bucks goes a lot further in some places than others….

    • Chopperpapa,
      I’m a little confused. Are poor people unhappy with their lives or not? If pursuing money does not make one happy, then does that mean poverty is liberating? Presumably those who are poor also waste their lives chasing the dream about having more. If rich people are being punished by their own wealth, then it sounds like the system is working just fine.

  15. suzanne rosenwasser says:

    Well done, Tom. Great insights and raw honesty.

  16. I think that the principal reason men want to make money and be rich is to be able to attract beautiful women. If there were a society where the women disdained security and privilege, then the men in that society would be much less interested in wealth and money, as a matter of course. If there were a society where the women were obsessed with pomegranates, say, then the men of that society would strive to accumulate, plant, and hoard pomegranate trees and fight each other over them. And, conversely, women are overly focused on their beauty in order to attract wealthy men and the security and privilege that comes with them. I don’t think it’s much more complicated than that.

  17. Everyone wants to be rich. Some people are born into wealth or luck into it. Many others work hard or smart and to earn wealth and then there are scores of others who don’t want to put forth the effort required to become rich and instead whine about the wealthy. I have zero respect for the whiners. Most of the wealthy do pay their taxes honestly and in fact pay far more in a year or two than most of us will ever pay in our lifetimes.

  18. The Wet One says:

    And another: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/7493521/Kwik-Save-tycoon-gives-up-riches-in-pact-with-God.html

    Granted, he’s a pretty old dude, so it’s not quite the same, but still…

  19. The Wet One says:

    Anonymous male, ask for a multimillionaire to give away his fortune and you shall receive.

    See here for more details: http://digitaljournal.com/article/287885

    Google the name Karl Rabeder for more info.

  20. I applaud you Tom for writing this article and addressing critical issues about wealth at a time when people would rather fight and blame each other than learn. Its instructive that making more money increases happiness until we reach about $75,000/year. From my experience working with addicts, people who continue to want “more” even though it doesn’t make them happier and in many cases makes them more unhappy, is an addiction. Most people understand that drinking more than is good for you and continuing to do it despite the problems it causes, is an indication of alcohol addiction. Few people want to explore the possibility that making more and more money is a kind of addiction. One client told me, “My drug of choice, is more.” People who are hooked on making more and more money, need our understanding and support. We need more rich people like Tom who isn’t afraid to take a deep look inside and ask himself, “Am I addicted or am I free?”

  21. Great personal reflection on a very thorny, murky subject.

    It’s Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. If you’re worried about surviving, you don’t think about personal fulfillment. You think that money will solve your problems, because it will — it will buy you food and shelter. If your basic survival needs are well accounted for, then and only then do you have the luxury to think about whether or not money makes you happy and/or what good things you can do with the money you have.

    I was married to a very rich and VERY ruthless man and was miserable. I left for sanity’s sake and thought that I would be able to readjust to a middle-class lifestyle. It’s been rough. I think a lot now about the secruity I walked away from. I’m grateful that my kids will have wealth to fall back on, but I’m also concerned because that wealth comes with so many strings, the same strings that crippled their dad and turned him into a ruthless, exploitive person. I have values to pass on to my kids, but they also see me stressed out a lot…so will my kids grow up feeling a duty to do “good works” with their money or believing that their wealth entitles them to act solely in their own interest, regardless of the cost to others?

    And what does that say about me when I say I’d rather they be rich than not?

  22. Anonymous Male says:

    If any man feels that his enormous wealth is a huge burden, that the pursuit of money has not been worth the hassle, he can always put his money where his mouth is and give it away. If your wealth has spoiled your life more than helped, then get rid of it. When someone complains about the downside to something but still holds onto it, I find it hard to believe that person. I’m calling the bluff that it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

  23. The Wet One says:

    Post like this make me glad not to live in the U.S. It’s lousy education system which tilts the playing field so heavily against the less well off is a disgrace.

    I’m happy I live in a country where equality of opportunity means a something more than it does in the US of A.

    I’ve spent many years chasing the money too. It’s not all its cracked up to be. Yeah, the six figure job is nice and working with the real wheeler dealers of society doing the multi billion dollar deals is interesting, but not very fulfilling at all. Kinda like high end hookers. Both of these I know first hand. I now have love, but haven’t quite found the right occupation and income (though I’m still pretty sure that more income is better so long as the cost is is not too great).

    Beware of the money. It’s a lousy mistress. However, if you can make big coin and be happy, you’re one lucky SOB.

  24. Money doesn’t have to be part of the equation.
    http://www.thevenusproject.com/a-new-social-design/resource-based-economy

  25. humblebrag.

  26. I think money absolutely can lead to happiness. And I’m tired of people telling me that’s not the case, so I appreciate the fact that you value your wealth and admit it’s part of what makes you happy.

    I work hard. I’ve always worked hard. But for nearly a decade I worked hard as a journalist. It took me close to five years to crack $30,000 a year. I was doing something I loved, it made me happy and I was winning regional awards for my work. But the only reason I could work as a reporter was because my wife made good money at Bank of America.

    Fast forward a few years. She was let go during downsizing and took a job at another bank for a fraction of her former salary. Although my salary increased, it was still below $35,000 a year. So now I’m doing something that makes me happy, except we were ridiculously underwater on our condo, behind on our bills and sinking gradually into a death spiral. Now add a kid to the mix, along with my wife’s health problems. My second job was not enough to make ends meet.

    I have a wonderful family and great friends. I love my life. The only problem is money, or a lack thereof. More money would my problems. Being rich would mean true happiness. Hell, I wouldn’t even have to be rich. Just comfortably middle class. I’m just aiming for a time when I can buy milk at the store and not have to wonder if there’s $4 left on my debit card to do so.

    The people who say money can’t bring happiness are the people who have the money. I don’t hate them for being rich, I hate them for being so dismissive and glib when they tell me money isn’t everything.

    Money would mean I could stop this foreclosure on my house. Money means I wouldn’t have to shamefully move my family in with my parents. Money means just about everything right now, to me and many others.

    To pretend otherwise is just untrue.

    • The people who say money can’t bring happiness are the people who have the money.
      Or if they aren’t rich at least don’t have money problems. Classic case of, “I’m happy without needing it therefore its not a part of happiness for anyone.” I can say that my medical care is fine without needing a gynocologist. Of course it is I have a copy of the male reproductive system. Try convincing someone with a copy of the female reproductive system that a gynocologist isn’t an important part of medical care.

  27. There is a certain amount of irony in a guy who experienced rags-to-riches explaining exactly that experience while decrying the lack of opportunity. It doesn’t make it less true, it’s just a point that catches.

    I don’t feel one way or the other about rich people. They are largely irrelevant to my daily life. I have a problem with pretty much anyone bitching about how much they pay in taxes – take a pay cut and you can solve that problem.

    The problem isn’t the wealthy. The problem is all of the poor people who think they have to go out of their way to be “fair” to those for whom to want something is to instantly have it.

  28. The rich rule & the rules have allowed them to e rich. From monarchy to patriarchy the rich have loaded the dice to insure they stay rich. Look at congress how many are rich, look at the presidents, politicians are bought to keep this going on. The rich are the war mongers, they make the weapons, & sell the weapons & love to have poor young men go & fight & die. The ultra rich control so much wealth it limits creative evolution & isolates them, this game will end some day, it doesn’t make sense, isn’t fair, moral or sustainable. When the people realize the way wealth could be distributed for the benefit of all the rich will be forced to give up their wealth. We have just been playing by the wrong rules.

  29. For the first 35 years of my life I chased money. My favorite movie as an adult was Wall Street. Gordon Gekko seemed cool. At age 35, I was divorcing, mentally ill, unhappy, and financially successful. Five years later, I am comfortably middle class but extremely happy with anew wife and children. I only think about how much money I have when an unexpected bill comes and we don’t have enough to pay it or something has to be cut from the family budget.

    I don’t envy rich people. I do have a problem with those that are able to pay taxes but avoid them. I do take issue with greed hurting others.

    When my children say tehy want to rich or richer I also say the same thing. “Make sure you have love first. Money will mean nothing without it.”

  30. Great series. I know Good Men Project isn’t necessarily about current events but these are interesting times.

  31. To me money is power, the more you got, the better.

  32. David Wise says:

    I don’t have an issue with rich people. Money itself isn’t the problem. It’s the greed factor that causes the misery in the world.

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