Over the past two years Robert Kiyosaki has become a leading evangelist for the Gospel of Fear, and he’s squeezing it for every cent he can get. He began with his book, The Conspiracy of the Rich, which has some very perceptive analysis of our recent financial meltdown ( as well as some not-so-subtle anti-Semitism). But instead of encouraging us to change to system to benefit our country, he preaches “If you can’t beat ’em, you gotta’ join them.” And guess how we can join them? By spending as much money as possible on Robert Kiyosaki’s products.
These products range from his books and board games to coaching to tickets for his speaking events. (And if you don’t want to travel, you can watch him live over the internet for a reduced, but still substantial fee.) I don’t mind free enterprise, and I even admire Kiyosaki’s chutzpah. What does offend me is the way he uses fear to market himself and his goodies.
I joined his Conspiracy of the Rich website, so now I get at least three scary emails a month. They’re usually about not having enough money and/or the government’s disastrous policies. He also sent one about the government’s failure to deal with terrorism at home–he lives in Phoenix, where kidnapping is a major industry, and he’s frightened for his safety. And then there was the truly horrid one with a title about pedophiles teaching in schools, which he then compared to current financial education. (And, of course, he had a link to his website, where you could order his much more effective–and much more expensive–teaching materials.
What Robert Kiyosaki refuses to acknowledge–or maybe even see–is that when your neighbors go down the tubes, they’re going to drag you down with them. So while I agree with his call for financial independence, I disagree with his philosophy of every man for himself. When we allow millions of Americans to become desperate, we end up paying a very high price, including a dangerous and lucrative kidnapping industry.
There are other ways to think and other ways to live.