Sunday, January 28, 2007

Is Generating Wealth an Obligation?

I quoted some commenter's yesterday on a post at IWillTeachYouToBeRich. In particular I was struck by a comment made by a Susan who wrote a long rant about why people that spend money are ruining the planet. This women is suffering from a severe case of scarcity mentality that believes we live on a planet with limited resources. People, by her account, who consume resources are responsible for the starving people in Africa. I think that her philosophy may be not just wrong but maybe immoral.

I was reading a post at 1stmillionat33 and found an interesting quote from a book called Karma Yoga:

"A householder (as opposed to a monk) who does not struggle to get wealth isimmoral. If he is lazy and content to lead an idle life, he is immoral, because upon him depend hundreds. If he gets riches, hundreds of others will be thereby supported."

Now, although I used to practice Yoga, I don't subscribe to it's philosophy but this quote rings true for me. However, it is not all that much different from what I believe to be similar exhortations in the Bible. The most classic is the Parable of the Talents in which Jesus saves his most severe criticism for the man who buried his talents (money) and praises those who invest wisely. Money is an issue discussed in frequency only second to love in the New Testament. To be sure, much of it cautions us about attaching ourselves too closely to money, but much teaches us to use our money to help others. Unless you have money, you cannot help the poor. Even Mother Theresa needed wealthy people to fund her charities.

Paul Zane Pilzer wrote a book called God Wants You to Be Rich in which he laid out some Biblical reasons to create wealth. He states the underlying reason people fail to grasp this is our belief in scarcity in a world that God has shown nothing but abundance. In another book by a Taoist named Stuart Wilde - The Trick to Money is Having Some - Wilde writes:

"Why would a God who has put us in a veritable Garden of Eden and expect us to be poor and lacking in is natural that we would use the resources around us and become abundant..poverty is unnatural. Imagine a God who considers welfare and food stamps holy and alternately considers the opening of a factory that creates wealth to hundreds of families wrong - how illogical!"

"All philosophies that teach that poverty is groovy, do so as a cop-out. It keeps the non-performing members happy for they can live in the ego trip of thinking that somehow their lack of creativity and effort will be blessed at a later date."

Pilzer writes:

"An increase in wealth for an individual always represents an even greater increase for society at large"

So if you are concerned about the poverty in Africa or in the ghettos of your city, the way to solve that problem is to create wealth. The reason that more people in the world are living in better conditions then ever on history has to do with the wealth that the work and creativity of the people of the US have given to the world. The US is not a leech sucking resources from the world as the anti-Americans claim, but has been the largest force in raising the worlds standard of living. And as Americans have become prosperous, they have become individually the most generous people on earth.

So the next time a Susan challenges your goal of becoming wealthy, let her know that she is in fact the problem and you are the solution. And don't forget to remind her we are living through the Greatest Economy Ever, so her lack of success is not due to outsourcing or some other excuse.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was studying Ayn Rand the other day and fell in love with this quote, seems quite applicable to your topic:

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
~Ayn Rand, Appendix to Atlas Shrugged