A lot of us don’t realize how wealthy our society is. The fact that this is the case despite all the money that is brought into our lives through the media means we have to work at it or we will eventually become as wealthy as the rich. I’m talking about the “millionaire” syndrome. This is a common problem that I see in my clients regularly.
The truth is that it is our society’s wealth that drives us to be greedy, but our society is also the most vulnerable to money. For better or worse, we have developed a culture that gives us the illusion that we can buy happiness with our money. That’s the way it is, and we’ve been taught that by the media, that it’s a good thing.
The problem with capitalism is that it takes that illusion further. It has created an economy where money is an absolute given, and a few people have the ability to buy it for themselves. But instead of creating the illusion that money can buy happiness, it creates the illusion that money is evil. While money can buy some things, it is still a means to an end. Like any other means to an end, it is not good or bad. Money is just a tool. It is not evil.
However, capitalism is not a good system at all. It creates a lot of problems. It is not as simple as buying a new car or a new computer or buying a new house. It is much more about making money from whatever you do. So if you are a capitalist, you may feel like you are doing the right thing by buying cars, computers, house, and food. But it is not. Capitalism is about wealth. It is about the ability to buy more luxuries.
Capitalism is a tool, and it can be used as a positive force or a negative force. Capitalism can either be a positive force by helping people accumulate wealth or a negative force by causing people to do things they would not normally do, or both. It is up to you to decide what you believe is more important.
It’s not about being wealthy or being poor, though there have been cases of wealthy people buying into the system and contributing to the negative forces. In fact, in some cases, wealthy people have actively contributed to the positive forces of the system by buying into it. It’s also not about buying things that are “traditionally” considered luxuries, because it’s not the money that determines a person’s lifestyle.
A recent example is the $35K/year health insurance program in the United States. This is one of those programs where the wealthy are contributing to an aspect of the system that could be better. This is because it allows the wealthy to buy health insurance for themselves and their families, and because, unlike in Europe and the UK, in the United States their contributions are tax deductible.
The argument could be made that the wealthy would benefit more from having their contributions contribute to the health insurance system than the rest of us. I certainly think that’s true. However, many of the wealthy people in the US who buy health insurance are only contributing to the system because of their wealth. As a result, the health insurance they pay into is probably not much of a benefit to the rest of us.
Dan Kennedy, CEO of AARP, is probably one of the most well-known health insurance companies in the country. Although he was not one of the wealthiest people in America, he has a lot of money, so he clearly understands the value of the system. However, as most of the people who buy health insurance are not wealthy, the system fails to deliver the benefits they expect. In fact, it has delivered fewer benefits than are possible with a system that is not driven by wealth.