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What wealth does to your soul

Stashed in: Wealth!, Winner take all., Billions!, Awesome, Soul, Money, Wealth, Rich people get richer.

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A big part of the problem with America today is that the worship of money has become all-consuming... there is no counterbalancing value with nearly the same power over our society any more. Fairness, cooperation, service to others, equality of opportunity, even the rule of law are now seen as quaint relics that must be swept aside so the rich can get richer -- rather than core American values. We don't even listen to advice about wealth inequality from people unless they are insanely wealthy, like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett! But guess what: not only are the wealthy a LOT more likely to act in selfish and dishonest ways, but they aren't even happy!!!

So does wealth get them anything other than better air travel and better medical specialists?

The fruit loops story -- that people CAN change their behaviors -- gives optimism right?

No one even knows how many billionaires there are!

West notes that the concentration of wealth in the top 1 percent of American citizens has returned to levels not seen in a century. One percent of the population controls a third of its wealth, and the problem is only getting worse: from 1979 to 2009 after-tax income for the top 1 percent rose by 155 percent while not changing all that much for everyone else. By another measure of inequality, which compares the income controlled by the top 10 percent with that of the bottom 40 percent, the United States is judged to come forty-fourth out of the eighty-six nations in the race, and last among developed nations. But the object of West’s interest is not the top 10 percent or even the top 1 percent, but the handful of the richest people on the planet—the 1,645 (according to Forbes) or 1,682 (the Knight Frank group) or 1,867 (China’s Start Property Group) or 2,170 (UBS Financial Services) people on the planet worth a billion dollars or more. (The inability to identify even the number of billionaires hints at a bigger problem: how little even those who claim an expertise about this class of people actually know about them.)

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