It is human nature to acquire wealth and leave most to progeny; accepted as a natural way to live and die. As long as the amount is within limits and amassed fairly, no harm to keep the fires burning that way; better than wander aimlessly in life. After all, society needs the spark and what better way than rewarding those who work for just rewards; treating even the lay-about in equal measure will act as a real dampener for survival & progress of society.
But greed is becoming an all purpose vehicle; most just get carried away at the cost of everything else that makes life worth living. It soon loses its meaning as the glitz associated with wealth attracts even those who cannot handle such a life. When one is drawn that life, with its associated embellishments, most just cannot let go; it becomes addictive. Once in the race, it becomes a one-way street for most, like addition to smoking or worse! Ultimately, what are just rewards for hard work and success, degenerates into a mad rush to reach and then stay at the top. Some newly rich try to show off their status; but it becomes grating & repulsive in poor countries. None, with a conscience, can enjoy exotic food, with other luxuries and excesses, when surrounded by poverty & despair.
Even in richer countries it is becoming clear that wealth, by itself, does not assure a comfortable life; in fact, too much of it, without the basics for a purposeful life, proves a disaster. Those who make it, through dint of hard work, will know the suffering of the less fortunate, but not those who inherit fortunes without lifting a little finger. Soon the supposed assets turn into liabilities and attract attention like flies to honey or worse; like vultures, followed by hyenas, after a kill is made! Soon the wealth, accumulated over a lifetime or several, dissolves in thin air, when even the bones are digested by human form of the animal hyenas! The former is led by greed and avarice but the latter by hunger!
Bill Gates & Warren Buffet show great foresight in pledging away most of their wealth to noble causes, spreading the word around and going in hot pursuit of the super rich in communist China and India! They are held in high esteem, and have the moral authority by setting sterling examples. Their beatific smiles should convince those who need further assurance beyond mere words! Of course, it is a delicate task, like squeezing blood out of stone, as some would have made their fortune by denying the rightful dues to deserving! The saying – behind every great fortune there is a crime – comes to mind!
Wealth does not normally survive beyond three generations; easy come, easy go! The second generation would have seen the suffering of those who achieved wealth, but they cannot have the same moral heft with succeeding generation, who tend to squander the wealth in their life time, living an empty life. Wealth is being accumulated at the fastest clip in communist China and India. Communism has now become practical, closing an eye to greed, to get ahead. Even the rich in India tend to live an ascetic life of denial but no more! In fact, the most expensive house in the world has just been occupied by one of their richest! The entitlement to live and spend as one pleases is touted as a deserving perquisite of wealth. But human nature cannot be altered; wealth is bequeathed mostly without moral values. Enormous wealth makes many lose their focus and leads to a life of debauchery; assets soon become liabilities and dissipated in no time.
The real wealth is the intangible; those that make one lead a life to face any challenges on a daily basis. Our forefathers had that in great measure and survived against great odds and with little. They had the mettle to measure up to any eventualities, with a will to bounce back from adversities. Are we losing such fighting spirit to face the setbacks with increasing wealth? Do some feel that they are entitled to a life of comfort? Are we going overboard, exploiting finite resources without a thought for tomorrow? Will we succumb due to our own progress, as material progress lull us into an easy life? Are we not increasingly making money out of thin air? Our troubles started with excess credit that was made easily available, but we now find the medicines too bitter to swallow, to set right the wrongs. We seem more eager to find scapegoats than look at ourselves as the root cause of the problem. If we do not bite the bullet, our future generations will have to pick up the pieces and pay a much higher price, to stay alive!