Archived Story

I love rich people

Published 11:04pm Thursday, November 8, 2012

By Steven Kirkpatrick
Columnist

Our nation, as a union of citizens, has made tremendous strides in equal rights during the past several decades.

Gone are the days when it was acceptable to criticize a race or group of people simply for who they are. Women and people of all races have made tremendous strides in the workplace and the pocketbook. There are more minority and women executives and homeowners now than we could have hoped for in the 1960s.

But there is one group of citizens that, in a way, can’t seem to rise above the fray and to be regarded as regular people, just like you and me. I refer specifically to the “rich,” however you want to define them.

Certainly politicians don’t like them — although, curiously, most of our politicians, especially at the state and national level, are in fact very rich. Politicians like to blame the rich, tax the rich, and rail against them in speeches. But why? What did the rich do to deserve this wrath?

Let’s begin with the medieval notion that there is only so much wealth in the world. This primitive line of thinking, which still infects our society today, embraces the notion that there is only so much wealth to go around. If that’s the case, and then if a small group accumulates all the wealth, everyone else must be poor.

Here’s the flaw in that thinking: Wealth is not limited. Rather, it is virtually unlimited and can be created by hard-working, diligent, thinking people from the sweat of their brow and their capacity to think.

Put a man on a wooded lot with a portable sawmill and a bunch of tools. Let’s say the whole shebang of real estate and equipment is worth $50,000.

Now let him work designing and building a cabin, and what do you get? The lot will be worth about the same, less the trees, of course. But now you have a cabin added to the lot that adds maybe $20,000 in value. So, what used to be worth $50,000 is now worth $70,000.

This is how value — and wealth — is created. What if our builder repeated this process a hundred times? He would make a profit of $2 million. Is that a bad thing? I certainly don’t think so. It’s a great thing!

We’ve seen and heard many critics come down hard on “Wall Street,” the collective designation for major investment firms and banks. Most of the people reporting the news have no idea what these firms really do, nor do the people receiving the news. The most ignorant people of all in this regard are the members of “Occupy Wall Street.”

They are the ultimate bigots: hating people they don’t know for reasons they don’t understand.

As for me, I love rich people. I find that they’re really no different from anyone else, they just have more money.

The rich have made contributions to society by providing products and services that people want to buy; that’s how they got rich. The rich also give back — often in vast sums of charitable donations. The majority of cultural institutions in this country are funded predominantly by grants, donation, and foundations from the wealthiest Americans. The next time you go to the symphony or visit a museum, be sure to thank the rich, because they made it possible.

The rich also make great customers for things you can sell at high profits. If you can figure out something they want to buy, maybe you can get rich, too.

Steven S. Kirkpatrick lives in Chuckatuck. He is a consultant and advisor to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Email him at steven@AdvantaCoach.com.

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