being so dang rich

What is the point of being obscenely rich? I have thought about the concept of being extremely wealthy a few times. How can you not? It’s plastered around our world in the form of Forbe’s World’s Richest People list, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donations, Jeff Bezos surpassing Bill Gates for the Richest Man on earth for half a day, etc. While many people are philanthropists, there are many billionaires that do not spread their wealth. I saw a passing statistic on the internet that said if America’s wealth was evenly distributed, every family would have $700,000 / year. I’m sure there are parts of this statistic that are exaggerated and simply untrue, but the sentiment behind this statistic really got me thinking hard: why is there such a splitting income gap in our country????

There was a brief moment in college when I believed in the ideals of communism. I didn’t label it as that, but when my ideals were broken down, that’s what it essentially came out to be. Just for a bit of background, I was born and raised in the land of democracy: the good ‘ole U.S. of A. Personally, I think my country (specifically Southern Texas, where I grew up) does a great job of making sure every child grows up thinking that communism is truest form of evil and sharing is never going to teach those lazy bums to work hard. It wasn’t until college that I began to critically think about the massive income inequality that plagues our country, yet alone the world. Oh, the injustice has such a dirty aroma, doesn’t it? I began to think in the complete opposite way of how I was raised. Why don’t we share more? Why don’t we give people more economic and financial opportunities? Why are the rich people hoarding all of their money? Who needs 3 houses anyway?

So, do you really think Jeff Bezos deserves to be worth $90 billion? Is the value of that homeless woman down the street less than his, because she has no net worth? Why should Bill Gates own practically a house on every continent when there are millions of people without homes in this world? I’m not sure actually. While I would love to praise Bill Gates and his family for donating so much of their wealth and giving back to their communities, I can’t help but also wonder why they don’t do more with their money. Like seriously, can’t you end world hunger in a sustainable fashion with a couple billion? I have reached the conclusion that money has an iron grip on our hearts as humans. We are naturally greedy people who have an extreme affinity for lavishness and comfort. We do everything we can to be as comfortable as possible. While I would love to blame the world’s problems on the billionaires of my country, we are all at fault. We are all at fault for secretly placing the love of money at the top of our priorities. We are all at fault for being greedy and selfish, billionaires just have their greed more publicized. I mean how many of us regularly buy a meal for a homeless person and really sit down to hear their story? Exactly. So whether we make billions or hundreds of thousands, we are all the same: human. Maybe instead of pointing fingers, we can encourage an environment of genuine selflessness. Maybe we will sit down to hear how they were born and raised in a less affluent neighborhood that didn’t have as many opportunities. Maybe they were taught that joining gangs is the way to success. Maybe their mom was a drug addict, and they were born with an addiction to heroin. Maybe we should be slow to judge, and quick to listen. Maybe this way we can have a genuine, deep compassion for those who don’t have as much as us. Maybe we can learn. Maybe we can change. That is my hope for my generation and those yet to come.