When you’re willing to hire a disabled person to help you skip the lines at Disneyland, it’s clear that your moral compass is in dire need of some maintenance. What it could also mean however, is that you’re much too wealthy for your own good.
Why, you ask? Well for one, if you have the cash to spend on that black-market queue jumper, there are definitely funds to spare. And two, as a recent article in The Australian points out, the envy and competition amongst the rich is what often pushes them to undertake such (otherwise evidently ridiculous) courses of action.
In her article, Nikki Gemmell comments on her years living on the fringe of super wealthy areas in London. Because it’s easy to assume that the people she lived amongst must have been care-free, one comment in particular interested me: “extreme wealth doesn’t necessarily make you grounded or centred; it can make you anxious.”
According to Gemmell, they’re anxious because they’re always trying to outdo each other – whether it’s having a better relationship, the more expensive ride, the most social engagements, or the most successful kids out of your acquaintances. Who wouldn’t be anxious, living that kind of life? This doesn’t mean that the middle class have no worries, definitely not – but I think that concerns which involve working hard, to provide your family with a good quality of life, are more selfless and therefore more fulfilling than the trivial concerns of the very well-off.
It all makes me wonder if the ease of wealth would be worth it, considering all the “moral grey area” that comes with it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for having security and stability in life. But wealth – real wealth, where I could buy a plane ticket to Timbuktu without thinking twice or just pick up another investment property – seems arbitrary at times. After all, what would be left to work for? We all need a bit of struggle to spice up our lives once in a while.
Not to say that the wealthy can’t live a fulfilling life: if they know that money can buy everything but happiness, they’d be on the right track. And if they are generous, they are both deserving of their good fortune and more likely to use it well. What do you think? If you had the choice, would you prefer an utterly affluent lifestyle to one that’s a little more average?