My wife and I just started watching a program on the House & Garden channel called Selling New York. Basically, it’s a show about elite NY real estate agents trying to sell multi-million dollar properties to the super-rich. One unit in particular was listed for a cool 25 million dollars.
Watching this program got me to thinking about people with enormous financial resources. Maybe because I’m a poor slob from Upstate NY, I can’t relate to their egos or motivation. However, I can’t help but wonder what makes someone want a 25 million dollar piece of real estate.
I am not a socialist. In fact, I believe in a free market and the basic principles of capitalism. But in my heart of hearts, I know that there must be something terribly wrong with an economic system where a sports figure can earn 25 million dollars a year, while thousands of people are rummaging through dumpsters for cans and plastic bottles.
I do not believe in the redistribution of wealth, nor do I believe that we should have laws that force rich folks to share their wealth with the needy; altruism should remain voluntary. What puzzles me though, is why many of the super-rich people in the world don’t willingly share their good fortune. If you have enough money to virtually buy anything your heart desires—mansions, hundred-foot yachts, villas in Tuscany, diamonds, flashy sports cars, gold fixtures in your bathrooms—and you still have a few billion dollars tucked away, why would you not want to support a worthwhile charity or humanitarian cause?
The only word that comes to mind is greed. Gordon Gecko, infamous character from the movie, Wall Street, proclaimed, “Greed is good”. Sorry, Gordon, but I disagree. Greed is a contagious disease that festers and spreads. Can you imagine what kind of world this could be if every wealthy person across the globe subscribed to the theory that “generosity is good”?