Envy, there is a reason why it is one of the 7 deadly sins. Like rose colored glasses, it distorts your view of reality, but in a bad way. And like leg irons, it can hamper any progress you might make in improving your own station in life. But it also can be comforting, when used to assuage your own miserable failures or lack of any industry, coddling yourself with the notion that whatever the rich obtained, naturally they were ill gotten gains, robbed off the back of the proletariat.
Interestingly, the Bay Area, probably the single birth place for the most wealth created in the world, has become obsessed of late criticizing the rich and their peculiarities. No doubt fostered by that OWS mentality, that view of history where America is dominated by a greedy kleptocracy that exploits the remaining 99%, reaps most of the spoils for itself, and cleverly avoids paying it’s fair share of taxes, monies BTW that the rest of us are entitled to. Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. But it goes well beyond the casual interest the hoi polloi have with the hoity-toity, this is not fascination, it’s much more insipid.
Two stories in the news of late have riled folks (those folks susceptible to getting worked up), over perceived excesses of the rich. The first is here:
In Marin County, Calif., where people tend to have money, people in Belvedere tend to have more. Even so, a recent decision by Clark and Sharon Winslow of 337 Belvedere Avenue to buy the home next to theirs for $4.2 million — and then tear it down to get a better view — might seem extraordinary.
Naturally there are some that believe the rich must run their financial decisions through them:
I don’t mean to pick on them. (OK, a little.) The One Percenters are constantly pulling stunts that could be seen as arrogant, self-absorbed, wasteful, unjust, mean and, well, loopy. But what things seem are not always what they are. The problem is the One Percenters don’t explain themselves. They’re rich and explaining themselves is one of the many things they don’t have to do because they are rich.
How dare those rich snobs don’t explain themselves, don’t poll the consensus for all their financial decisions. For some the concept of private property is lost and the freedom to spend your money any damn way you want seems radical and antithetical to the common good. I’m still trying to figure out how this act is “mean”, considering that they bought the house on the open market, no duplicity or coercion involved. But I chuckle at these so called champions of the common man, how they think nothing of putting their nose in others’ affairs, and can inject hair trigger criticism over stuff that is none of their business. It is obviously lost on this chowder head that jobs are being created and sustained by the demolition, that turning this lot into a garden is more environmentally friendly, more green, and that this couple’s actions are benefiting the rest of the neighbors, thus improving the entire community.
The other spur under the saddle of the resident busy bodies is a recent real estate purchase of another local bazilionaire, Larry Elison:
Larry Ellison, the billionaire chief executive of Oracle Corp., ORCL -0.89% was identified Wednesday as the buyer of the bulk of the Hawaiian island of Lanai.
The Maui News reported that the asking price for the property was between $500 million and $600 million.
Ellison could be in his own Old Spice commercial. The epitome of the American Dream, a self made billionaire who works hard, plays hard, dates super models and lives extravagantly, and yes, he pays his fair share of taxes. But buying an entire island? Clearly this goes beyond the pale, what can one man possible do with his own island? Thus, all the bellyaching.
The concept of capitalism is hard for some folks. Some can hide under the blanket of self pity and point fingers at the exploitative upper crust, but economic dynamism is a marvelous thing. Entrepreneurial risk taking and the rewards of success (and the heartbreak of failure, when the government will allow economic Darwinism) is the name of the game, that whole risk/reward dichotomy that is essential for true capitalism. Allowing those so inclined to risk, to get rewarded for that risk, this is the true growth engine for real prosperity, not only for more jobs all around but for a better standard of living, for everyone.