Wealthiness - Good or Bad?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by irain, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. irain macrumors regular


    Aug 1, 2005
    Why is it that we as a society tend to view the wealthy in a negative manner? I've been accused by others of coming from a well to do family and my initial reaction is a sudden burst of "oh god no, no way... are you kidding me? Not me." I've seen the same reaction from other people as well.

    Why is wealthiness looked down upon? Shouldn't a hardworking person be looked up to?

    What's everyone else's take on the matter?
  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Well I can't say that I'm completely happy when my friend gets a Mercedes for free when he gets his license. But generally as long as people don't brag about how rich they are, they shouldn't be treated any worse than anyone else.
  3. kretzy macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2004
    Canberra, Australia
    Yes I agree that there is often a negative reaction to those who are wealthy. The thing people tend to forget is that often these people have worked extremely hard to get where they are. However I think the biggest source of the negativity is that of inequality. Many people work just as hard, if not harder and earn a minimum wage. It seems difficult to justify the hundreds of thousands if not millions that some people get paid when their employees get paid a pittance - but that's capitalism for ya.
  4. dogbone macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2005
    S33.687308617200465 E150.31341791152954
    First point. Wealthiness is only looked down upon by the ignorant.

    Second point. Only someone deserving of respect will be respected, whatever their level of wealth.

    Money is merely a tool. It is neither good nor bad.
  5. bartelby macrumors Core

    Jun 16, 2004
    First point. Erm, no. That's utter crap

    I have no problem with weathly people or wealthiness as long as there's no rubbing it in other people's noses. You may hate Bill Gates, but he does do a fair amount of good with his wealth.

    The problem is the people who draw attention to their wealthiness in a negative way. e.g. Paris Hilton and such.
  6. dogbone macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2005
    S33.687308617200465 E150.31341791152954

    But even if it were true that they draw attention to their wealthiness (not really sure what you mean by this) what harm does it do? It can't hurt you unless you allow it.
  7. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    You appear to be entirely unfamiliar with the system of class. Get out much?
  8. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Wealthiness is only bad for those it corrupts. ...and they'd probably disagree with me. :D
  9. After G macrumors 68000

    After G

    Aug 27, 2003
    The only wealthy people I have issues with are those who fall in any or all of the following categories:

    - did not work to get it and constantly make it known they are wealthy
    - those who do unethical things to get their riches
    - those who do not think of sharing their good fortune with others at all.

    Otherwise, it's all good.

    If I were to be angry at the wealthy, I guess it would because I see conspicuous consumption among the well-off when there are many people without even their basic needs fulfilled. Take care of the needy first and then you can show off.

    But it's not my place to tell the wealthy what to do with their money.
  10. bartelby macrumors Core

    Jun 16, 2004

    That's what I was trying to say in my pre-coffee state:eek:
  11. pengu macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2005
    Diddily Daddily...
    have you considered maybe people just dont like YOU? :p
  12. Markleshark macrumors 603


    Aug 15, 2006
    Carlisle, Up Norf!
    Although I couldn't care less how much money someone else has, and of course you have a lot more respect for someone who made their own money (regardless of what they do with it now, whats that got to do with me?) I don't think you can really say something negative about people who are born into money. It's not exactly their fault.

    What you shouldn't like, is how they handle the situation. bartelby for example, used Paris Hilton as an example of how people born into Money are bad. Thats hardly fair, shes just a idiot in herself who happens to have been born into money. I highly doubt its the money that has 'corrupted' her, its just given the press a reason to photograph her all the time. Bill Gates has kids, right? Don't see them partying till 3 in the morning, getting sent to jail and the likes. I'm sure they have quite a lot more money than Paris Hilton, as well. ;)
  13. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    There's basically, imo, a continuum between two kinds of wealthy people, those who have money and no class, and those who have money and class.

    At one end, people who have money and class are often from old-money families...they are brought up learning that their wealth is not to be talked about or flaunted. Essentially they learn that it's a tool for a better lifestyle. These people will go to fancy schools, have nice houses that aren't extravagant, fly first class and usually get what they want to have, but they don't brag about it, they don't show it off. While they do live a more luxurious life than most of the world, they're not actively telling the rest of the world how much more money they have than everyone else.

    You won't see those kind of people building themselves monstrous houses and buying a BMW for every one of their kids, or bragging about how they're flying first class.

    Really, unless you know them closely, it might be hard to tell that they're very wealthy. Even if you know them closely, you'll have no idea how much money they really have. They get what they want, without a fuss.

    Then there is the other end of the spectrum, people who lack the class to go along with their money. They build massive houses in residential neighborhoods, they dress to show off, they buy a porsche (license plate "MYPRSHE") and always leave it in the driveway when its nice out. Basically they take many opportunities to flaunt their cash, even if it takes going into debt to make it seem like they have more. To people who actually are this way, it sounds like a horrible generalization and exaggeration, but it really is true. If a kid gets an incredibly expensive car for his 16th birthday, it's as much to say to other parents "look how much better we are as parents than you we can get fancy stuff like this" as it is to treat the kid to a car. No respect for these people. Having money doesn't make you better than other people, no matter how self-important these kind of people are.

    That's my 2¢ analysis...you get to meet many people from both sides of the continuum when your school tuition is...very steep. :rolleyes:
  14. bartelby macrumors Core

    Jun 16, 2004
    Ok. I admit it. I hate stupid rich people. Stupid people really annoy me too.
    Rich people don't bother me.
  15. Markleshark macrumors 603


    Aug 15, 2006
    Carlisle, Up Norf!
    Couldn't agree more. :D
  16. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    Wealth and respect shouldn't be related in either the positive or the negative. I think opulence is looked down upon because so often it's a sign of insecurity.
  17. dogbone macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2005
    S33.687308617200465 E150.31341791152954
    Too true.

    'Insecurity' is the bane of the human condition. And wealth (I'm assuming that means money) has no effect on security. Without money people are generally insecure, with money people are generally more comfortable but no less insecure.

    Every morning I watch the Crimson Rosellas throw all the seeds to the side while picking out the sunflower seeds, only to poke around in the grass for hours later trying to pick up the little seeds they earlier rejected. They have no concept of insecurity.
  18. walangij macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2007
    That is a fair analysis and I agree on many points such as those who flaunt money. But I think its not fair to say that most of the time its those who are "old money" who don't flaunt b/c I see legacies flaunt all the time. (but ingeneral pretty good esp. about college campuses). I think its just the way people view money in general, b/c money is a very emotional issue and one that people love to criticize.
  19. Queso macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    I think the old money/new money thing is more interesting. I've met a lot of "Eton and the Guards" types who are complete arses. They may never mention their wealth but their unconscious use of it for totally trivial things does tend to get up people's noses somewhat. I know that some people are just born into money and always have it regardless, but some empathy for the fact that most people have to work hard for the amounts of cash they just throw around would be nice.

    As for those who work for their money, nothing but respect for them.
  20. furious macrumors 65816


    Aug 7, 2006
    My group of friends and I never talk about money. I honestly have never thought about this point. I don't really have a problem with people and how they spend their money. Emphasis on their money. I have no respect for people who go into debt for a luxury item e.g. flat screen TV, flash car etc.

    I have always been told 'if you can not afford to pay cash you can not afford it'. Now obviously that does not include houses. Nobody needs a new car, flat screen tv, or the latest gadget. They are all a luxury you are privileged to a afford.;)
  21. jng macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    Not everyone. I think the wealthy children cohort is where the problem lies for me.

    irain, I think going on a first date in a limo and wearing $200 jeans puts you in the wealthy category, whether you like it or not.

    I think what most people forget is that the average family makes around $40k and that many people (especially members of the cult of mac) fall into the stratosphere of the U.S. income distribution. I'm not saying you're driving a Safari, but you're certainly well off, and better off that most Americans. It's not a matter of numbers, but even if your family is making $60k a year (which isn't a lot depending on the size of your family) you're better off than most people.

    The problems is the stigmas associated with wealth. I have a friend who is obscenely wealthy but you'd never know it from this guy. Pretty frugal and does things for himself, although his parents pay for his apt in Paris (but he's a student). He works and pays for the rest of his expenses himself. Doesn't wear fancy clothing, etc. Those are the wealthy I like and I've met quite a few.

    I've also met some wealthy stupid people or wealthy people who were flaunting their wealth and didn't even know it.

    No effect? Try being homeless, having your family split up and shuffled from relative to relative for six months and tell me money has no effect on security.

    Money doesn't buy happiness and I agree. But it buys a hell of a lot of security, esp. economic security.
  22. dogbone macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2005
    S33.687308617200465 E150.31341791152954
    Economic security is just a level of comfort, it's not real security. Your heart can stop beating at any moment. The stock market can crash, there are a million things that plague the poor and the wealthy equally. The wealthy may feel insecure about different things but the feeling of insecurity is the same.

    The insecure cannot become secure by the gain of insecure things.
  23. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Jan 14, 2007
    If you are wealthy, it doesn't mean you have to flaunt it. Some of the richest people I know are the very frugal. For example, I'm friends with the VP of Gulf, and the former VP of Exxon Mobile. I know for a fact this guy is uber wealthy and has 30,000 shares of Mobile which is at around $85 right now, which is 2.5m in stock alone. They have a nice colonial house, nothing too extravagant, and a nice house on the cape (cape cod). They're respectful of their neighborhood and made their house small like the ones that have been there for years unlike people that built mcmansions. The wife has a Ford Explorer XLT and the husband has an F-150. Infact, the wife wants a laptop but her husband won't let her buy one. The CEO and his wife of my dads company has a Ford Ranger, Ford F-150, and a Ford Five Hundred, while the guy below him has a 2005 porsche carrera and a 2003 BMW 745.

    I don't think wealth is looked down upon, but most people don't want to talk about how wealthy they are. For example, how awkward is it when you're talking to a kid about going on a school field trip and they're not going because they're parents don't have enough money. For me and most people, its the opposite. If someone says "Are you rich", its just awkward. I just say no and they if they persist I would just say "upper middle class". People that do talk about their wealth are looked down upon because they are acting elite to you. Wealth is also looked down upon especially when you are bragging about it but you aren't the one that actually worked to make the money.
  24. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    I know that when people accuse me of being rich, I am also quick to pooh-pooh the idea. Not because I look down on the wealthy, but more that I feel bad for whatever position my friend might be to warrant calling what I have "rich". I'm not poor, but I don't feel that I'm particularly well off (well, maybe on the well-off side of "normal". But... what's normal?)

    Granted, compared to some (the archetypical starving children in Africa, for example) we are all rich here in the First World.

    Wealth accumulation depends on a lot of things, of course, not just how much you make but how much you save. I was recently shocked by how much cash my brother had accumulated in his bank account during the years he was studying in school and only working at "lowly" co-op jobs. Turns out he had saved almost every dime he made, only paying for school necessities and the very occasional splurge item here or there. Meanwhile, I was the one with the car, driving us everywhere (and paying for the lease, the insurance, the gas, the repairs), buying the cool toys in the house which my whole family was able to use (computers, routers, printers, DVD players, movies, music, cameras, camcorders), buying meals out, and being more free with my money. So who is richer, the one who keeps all of his wealth or the one who shares it all with loved ones?
  25. MrSmith macrumors 68040


    Nov 27, 2003
    From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.
    Karl Marx

    In literal terms it works for me. :)

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