There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to achieve sufficient wealth so as to meet one’s needs for shelter, food, and so forth. But that’s different from being rich.

I’ve personally met quite a few ultra-rich people who inherited their money. They have all been superficial, flitting from one enthusiasm to another, self-indulgent and obsessed with where they rank in the Rich People Hierarchy, and of such limited imagination that all they can do with their money is buy more and more toys.

I’ve also watched several tech folk become fabulously wealthy (so at least you could argue they deserve their wealth to some degree) and they sadly also become assholes. Because when you’re rich you can pay for problems to go away. This in turn erodes your ability to empathize with ordinary people. You become obsessed with protecting your wealth and your way of life and you begin to see other human beings as things you can move around on the great chessboard of life.

The fact is, most rich people didn’t earn their riches; they inherited. And even those who do earn their riches too often become so abstracted from everyday life that they turn in to very unpleasant human beings indeed.

As the old Jewish saying goes, “If you want to know what god thinks about money, look at who he gives it to…”

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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