Rich Man, Poor Man
Most people want to be rich or at least richer than they currently are; to win the lottery or create a new start-up business that makes them millions. There is nothing wrong with that either. In this January period when many people are looking at the year ahead and setting goals, I wouldn’t expect anyone to set a goal to be poorer at the end of 2016 than they were at the start. There have been a couple of recent news stories which seem to suggest that finance and money are likely to be in the news again this year. It would be difficult not to notice that 2016 has started with oil price reductions, a decline in Chinese growth, world stock market falls and policy makers sounding a little more cautious about the financial prospects and risks in the year ahead. Also a few days ago Oxfam released a report which said that the richest 62 people in the world own more wealth than the poorest 50% of the world’s population (3.5 billion people). This was down from 388 people in 2010, so the trend has been towards more inequality. The release of the report was doubtless timed to coincide with the meeting of the rich and powerful in Davos, Switzerland.
As I said earlier there is nothing wrong with money, as such. It enables people to do things in their lives that they might not have otherwise done, to learn, to share, to travel, to experience, to grow into more of who they are. It also allows people to price transactions, which means we can barter our goods and services with a common currency and money also allows us to store value for another day. So let us start out any debate about money by appreciating that money is an enabler in our lives and that it is perfectly acceptable to have money. Money serves us and at the same time lets us make sure that we don’t become the servants of money.
Most people assume that rich people have more power than poor people. When you look at the way the world is structured that certainly appears to be the case. I do not believe that the super-rich get richer by chance, they have access to the levers which they can pull to protect their wealth. If we want more wealth equality then the super-rich would have to become, in some way, less super-rich. At the same time I also believe that each one of us, and that includes you, have all the power they need to create the life that they want. You have all the power in your life; yes we chose consciously and unconsciously to give-up that power to other people. Let us all now realise that we have given up some of our power and take it back. Everything starts with awareness, look at your life and consider where you have abrogated power to others, be that your partner, your boss, your children, your friends, your parents, the government, your past, and/or your negative beliefs about yourself. Much of this release of power is perfectly normal and acceptable but not all of it is. If we want a more equal world, if we do, some things will have to change, some of them very radically indeed.
Let me finish with another thought for you. When we are unconscious of “problems” in our lives we seem to get a little nudge from our unconscious mind about them, so that we can bring them into our awareness and do something about them. If we chose to ignore that nudge and brush it off without changing, then we often at times get the nudge again. Except this time it might be a little firmer, more like a push than a nudge. If we brush it off again, then guess what, we are likely to get more than a push or nudge next time. We are being collectively nudged about our wealth systems and our own personal power; will we brush it off again or do something about it this year?
“All wealth is power, so power must infallibly draw wealth to itself by some means or other.” Edmund Burke