Why the rich want to get richer

You hear this rather tired phrase: “the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.”

What they mean is that the rich get richer, and so in relative terms, the poor have less value. They still have roughly the same lifestyle and expectations. But that doesn’t fit into a catchy phrase.

As globalism has rolled out across the world, the rich have been getting richer — because they’ve been trying to.

Now that our economy is global, the rich are smaller fish in a big pond.

Now that our global economy is unstable, it takes more money to have bought your way out of the system.

As we see the number of poor people rise, and crime rise, the only safe place to be is in a gated community with private security who are so well paid they can’t be bribed.

Look at Mexico, Iraq, Argentian or Brazil. The risk of kidnapping is huge. You’re not rich until you have private security.

The USA is heading in that direction. We talk about “the rich,” but no one ever defines it. To me, “rich” means you never have to go to work again, and you’ll be living well. That means private medicine, because the public plans suck. Private schooling for your kids, because the public schools suck. A gated community and bodyguards.

It used to be you could just be a millionaire, and do fine. Now you may need ten or a hundred million to truly escape the system.

And that seems to be what everyone wants.

For years, statistics have depicted growing income disparity in the United States, and it has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression. In 2008, the last year for which data are available, for example, the top 0.1 percent of earners took in more than 10 percent of the personal income in the United States, including capital gains, and the top 1 percent took in more than 20 percent. But economists had little idea who these people were. How many were Wall street financiers? Sports stars? Entrepreneurs? Economists could only speculate, and debates over what is fair stalled.

Now a mounting body of economic research indicates that the rise in pay for company executives is a critical feature in the widening income gap. – Washington Post

Why do they want this money? They must be greedy! screams the media.

But if you ask every person on the street, you’ll get the answer: yeah, I’d like to be rich. Rich enough to leave this all behind.

You can’t do that on $20,000. Or even $200,000. Maybe you could on $2 million, but more likely, it’s $20 million or more.

If you want to know why our executives are pulling away and leaving the rest of us behind, it’s because our society is collapsing to third-world levels of crime, disorder, filth, corruption and instability.

The only way out is to get rich, get into that gated community, and buy your way out every way you can.

24 Comments

  1. Organicist says:

    And this is why the “Rich people get rich by vice, luck and birth” meme needs to die. I believed that nonsense until I was 20, because I allowed lazy, stupid, and envious people to dupe me into doing so. Thank God I snapped out of it in time.

    1. Nicholas Marville says:

      This is metapolitics: [1] To understand that the poor fire up the rhetoric “Rich people get rich by vice, luck and birth” because it helps them to use ‘passive agression’ on those who have what they desire for themselves. [2] To understand that the rich fire up the rhetoric “It is necessary to preserve the status quo of the wealthy and priviliged, since they would not be where they are if they had not deserved it.”

      I’m in a political party. Here in Amerika I can say things that I can’t say as a representative. Here I can admit that people love to play the picture that when the market ideology prevails, things will at least be done rationally, efficiently, and that true talent will inevitably drift to the fore. But I can also admit that this picture is an illusion; the higher up you get, the more you see that subjective preferences, personal connections and coercion rule the day. People who voice the Truth through clear and indisputable arguments are always unwelcome in institutions (both public and private corporations), since those rely on the momentum of “the way we always do things around here”.

      You want to get rich? Speculate with valuta. Make your money, become an icon to others, without having ever done an honest day’s work.

      Businessmen love to say: “I made is this far because I fought for my work. I struggled for my company. I manned up and made a stand.” But this is nonsense; they made their wealth by catering to the existing wishes of their audience (producing TMF music videos), not by questioning these.

      Metapolitics means understanding that political memes and ideologies are funnelled from angles that favour specific positions.

      1. Organicist says:

        I think that the second piece of rhetoric that you mention (“It is necessary to preserve the status quo of the wealthy and priviliged, since they would not be where they are if they had not deserved it.”) may or may not have truth to it. More importantly though, it’s useful.

        I don’t think there will ever be a grassroots political change toward a Conservative or Integralist society. We are few. The only way for us to affect change is to get rich and use that influence to get what we want. If that involves duping the proles, then so be it.

        “Businessmen love to say: “I made is this far because I fought for my work. I struggled for my company. I manned up and made a stand.” But this is nonsense; they made their wealth by catering to the existing wishes of their audience (producing TMF music videos), not by questioning these.”

        I don’t think it’s nonsense, not entirely. Some businessmen probably really did get rich that way. You can’t paint them all with one brush. Anyway, barring a lot of luck (e.g. rock stars), you probably can’t get rich by being stupid, and you certainly can’t be stupid and STAY rich; witness rappers and rock stars who blow millions of dollars and go back to the ghetto/trailer court.

        I’m not arguing that the ruling class is all sweetness and light. I’m arguing four things:
        1)Rich people are not intrinsically evil
        2)There is nothing wrong with being rich
        3)A reasonably intelligent (IQ > 120) person can probably get rich if they put their mind to it.
        4)Those of us who want a better civilization should make acquiring wealth our first priority, because wealth confers power and influence.

        Putting aside what we mean by a better civilization, do you agree with any of these four points?

        1. Repair_Man_Jack says:

          1,2 and 4 are lead-pipe locks IMHO. I take some issue w/ 3. An IQ >120 would help me tremendously. I could do really neat stuff like spell English words correctly as a native speaker. It just takes more than an IQ of 120 by itself to be a winner.

          However, I don’t completely discount point 3. I read an article on CNN/SI that pointed out eight of the most successful NFL QBs drafted in the last decade had Wonderlik Test scores higher than the normed Median. Eight of the least successful QBs drafted int he same span had Wonderlick Scores somewhere in the Vince Young range of the spectrum. IQ may be necessary, but is not as sufficient as I believe you claimed it to be.

        2. Nicholas Marville says:

          “I don’t think there will ever be a grassroots political change toward a Conservative or Integralist society. We are few. The only way for us to affect change is to get rich and use that influence to get what we want. If that involves duping the proles, then so be it.”

          This is the healthiest bit of common sense I’ve read in a while. I feel it calms my mind. Thank you. I entirely agree with point 1 and 2.

          Point 3: You argued that you probably need to be smart, or at least not stupid, in order to be rich. However this by itself is not a good reason to vindicate being rich, because I think it would require Virtue rather than cleverness to do so.

          Point 4: Good, but not exclusively. Other good goals could be – to infiltrate existing political bodies or other influential organisations, and/or to create a coherent body of thought from an otherwise ecclectical philosophy.

          1. Organicist says:

            “This is the healthiest bit of common sense I’ve read in a while. I feel it calms my mind. Thank you. I entirely agree with point 1 and 2.”

            Always glad to be of service. :)

            “Point 3: You argued that you probably need to be smart, or at least not stupid, in order to be rich. However this by itself is not a good reason to vindicate being rich, because I think it would require Virtue rather than cleverness to do so.”

            Agreed. The goal is to find people with sensible outlooks and wake them up to the fact that they can get rich, and more importantly, that they should be rich. If even one Amerika.org reader decides to build wealth and succeeds at doing so, the benefits are incalculable.

            “Point 4: Good, but not exclusively. Other good goals could be – to infiltrate existing political bodies or other influential organisations”

            The big three are education, media, and government, in order of importance. Education can probably be tackled without wealth (although it helps), but the latter two require mucho dinero.

            “and/or to create a coherent body of thought from an otherwise ecclectical philosophy”

            I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, I think that the modularity of the New Right/Conservative/Integralist movements may be a good thing; when there are so many diverse movements, it’s more difficult for the Left to attack us, because they can’t put us all under one label and say “This group is bad – don’t listen to them.” On the other hand, it’s hard to get the whole thing moving in one direction.

            My gut feeling is that we should remain fragmented and focus on realizing our goals through mainstream Conservatism. The idea of using the Republican part for our own goals seems to be catching on throughout all of the disparate movements, so perhaps it will work.

          2. Organicist says:

            Of course, the bit about the Republicans only applies to Americans – in Europe it is much easier to create a new party, and it has been done with great success by the European Right.

  2. Nicholas Marville says:

    You upon occassion wrote about the importance of living a life with challenges, quests, risks and self-elevation as a guiding principle.

    Should one inherit some money, wager it as flash capital on the stock market, make a billion bucks and lock himself and your children away from the world in a glass bubble of self-contained reality, it’s hard to see what one would get away from – away from an unfulfilling dwarfing life of routine tasks and mundane protocols, towards an aimless, decadent and secluded existence among useless luxury. As an old man once said to me that I spoke to in a train: “Abundance leads to nihilism, to suicide even. One can own a hundred cars but only drive one at the same time. There’s a limit to the upscaling of personal pleasures.”

    I’d rather give lectures about philosophy every hour of my life than not having to work for even a single day. But since the world is looking instead towards those gated communities – where they, in their hearts, all wish to be – my boundless Wisdom is lost on the world. So then, too, I’d rather be amidst luxurious emptiness, or even idle poverty, than lowering my gifts to provide education for teenagers who don’t give a crap about knowledge because their parents and the goverment force them to attend school. Where I would learn nothing other than to make compromise upon compromise, just to uphold the illusion of smoothness – meaning that at least no one will openly rebel.

  3. Guest says:

    You drop the name of pilosophers such as Julius Evola and Plato a lot of times. But readin some of your articles I actualy wonder if you realy read them. O at least if you understood them. Not to mention kaczynsky

    1. Repair_Man_Jack says:

      So just how a good Neo-Platonist view income disparities in The US?

      1. Guest says:

        The article seems to talk about getting rich, wealth and fortune. That can be achieved by conforming to the basic capitalist, materialist standards.
        Evola seriously criticized this “american way of thinking” in an article about U.S.A.
        The article seems to say that the basic drive for the intelligent people in a modern society should be to get as rich as he/she can. Wich only leads to a meaningless life of materialist pursuit. Where is the transcending unifying aspect of that? Aren’t we just sinking in a self created bubble of ilusion even further?

        1. Repair_Man_Jack says:

          I would argue it depends. When you acquire a fortune, it can be huge on paper, but it won’t pinch-hit for who you are. That’s more objectivist, or existential than what you’re saying.

          I’m not sure Brett pushes this lifestyle as much as he tries to explain it. I almost came away thinking he thought that people pursuing the $20mil escape hatch reminded him of meth-heads still seeking that last big, God-like hit.

          Another possible explanation is that they are scared. That sentence about the quality of public services totally caught my attention. My wife and I burn through a whole lot of cash to keep our children out of public schools and in a local Montessori Academy instead.

          We could live on a whole lot less if we believed more in the public education system or had the time and brains to home school. But we need the scratch to keep that up. It’s just how life is these days.

        2. Organicist says:

          “Wich only leads to a meaningless life of materialist pursuit. Where is the transcending unifying aspect of that? Aren’t we just sinking in a self created bubble of ilusion even further?”

          Why do you think that Evola gave his survival guide the title, “Ride the Tiger”? Throughout the book, he gives instructions for how to use the decadent current society against itself. I also note this passage from the same book:
          “Nevertheless, a few men exist who are, so to speak, still οη their
          feet among the ruins and the dissolution, and who belong, more or less consciously, to that other world…it is a matter οf completely isolating themselves, which demands an inner character as well as privileged material conditions,”

          Emphasis on the last part: “Privileged material conditions.” This article is basically taking Evola’s idea to its natural conclusion; don’t just hold onto the tiger’s tail, climb onto his back. And when you get reach the top, slit his throat.

          1. Mihai says:

            You are quoting out of context :

            “Nevertheless, a few men exist who are, so to speak, still οη their feet among the ruins and the dissolution, and who belong, more or less consciously, to that other world. Α little group seems willing to fight on even ίη lost positions. So long as it does not yield, does not compromise itself by giving ίη to the seductions that would condition any success it might have, its testimony is valid. For others, it is a matter οί completely isolating themselves, which demands an inner character as well as privileged material conditions, which grow scarcer day by day.

            [...]

            But this does not resolve the practical, personal problem-apart fromthe case οί the man who is blessed with the opportunity for material isolation-of those who cannot or will not burn their bridges with current life, and who must therefore decide how to conduct their existence, even
            οη the level οί the most elementary reactions and human relations.
            [B]This is precisely the type οί man that the present book has ίη mind.[/B]”

            Evola was referring to those who were BORN with those privileged material conditions to begin with, not with those who had to start with little. Ride the tiger was written for these latter people, as a guide to help them stand on their feet, because they cannot breakout of the current society’s structures.

            Of course, you can argue that striving to achieve wealth is what will lead to a breakthrough, but, like I said in the other post, it is highly unlikely, plus it will take all your life to do so, or at least an extremely great portion of your life, draining your energy and will for anything higher along the way. Evola was surely not advising anyone to waste their life in this manner.

          2. Organicist says:

            @ Mihai:

            “Of course, you can argue that striving to achieve wealth is what will lead to a breakthrough, but, like I said in the other post, it is highly unlikely,”

            I disagree. “Highly unlikely” seems to leave the whole thing up to chance, as though getting rich is merely a matter of luck; this is not true. There are people in my extended family who built themselves up to more than $10 million starting from a lower middle class background, because they set out to do it and kept at it for a decade or so.

            “plus it will take all your life to do so, or at least an extremely great portion of your life, draining your energy and will for anything higher along the way.”

            As opposed to a day job?

            In my experience (see mention of family members above) it takes about 20 years. 20 years is a long time, but it’s better than working a day job for 50.

          3. Mihai says:

            “I disagree. “Highly unlikely” seems to leave the whole thing up to chance, as though getting rich is merely a matter of luck;”

            It is more or less a matter of luck for someone who does not want to put 100% into building material wealth. Such a thing takes up most of your time and energy and you are likely to find yourself not having the heart anymore to do anything else.

            You also don’t take into account the fact that not everybody is good at business or have any inclinations for this field. Some people are simply not good businessman, they can’t handle modern day economy and have no inclination to do so. Now a person may be very intelligent,even have ideas that would rival a Plato or an Aristotle, but they simply aren’t good at business and they don’t know anything about this field. What do you propose they do ?

          4. Organicist says:

            “Now a person may be very intelligent,even have ideas that would rival a Plato or an Aristotle, but they simply aren’t good at business and they don’t know anything about this field. What do you propose they do ?”

            I would say to him, ‘Look, you’re a bright guy, but you have the wrong impression of business. Your mind is full of suits, charts, spreadsheets, board meetings and management jargon. But those things are superfluous. Really, there is no business skill that cannot be learned, except the most important one: the faculty of abstract thought. But you already have that in spades.’

            I would also point out that there are many different kinds of business and ways of doing it – so many, in fact, that it’s highly probably that at least one will be suitable to such a person.

            “It is more or less a matter of luck for someone who does not want to put 100% into building material wealth. Such a thing takes up most of your time and energy and you are likely to find yourself not having the heart anymore to do anything else.”

            An ordinary job takes up most of your time and energy. If I spend 40 hours a week building material wealth, I have as much time for higher pursuits as I would anyway. The difference is that once those 20 years are up, you’re set – to say nothing of using your wealth for influence, which is a worthy pursuit.

          5. Mihai says:

            “I would say to him, ‘Look, you’re a bright guy, but you have the wrong impression of business. Your mind is full of suits, charts, spreadsheets, board meetings and management jargon. But those things are superfluous. Really, there is no business skill that cannot be learned, except the most important one: the faculty of abstract thought. But you already have that in spades.”

            Now why would such a person spend all his time torturing himself with learning something that is entirely contradictory to his nature ? Usually, if a vocation does not come from within, artificially trying to impose it on you leads to mediocre results. At best you’ll be just another one of those struglers, at worst you’ll fail completely. As to there being many types of business possibilities, let’s be realistic. The only way anything is valued nowadays, enough to get someone a big wealth, is the ability to produce things that are deemed “marketable” one way or the other. And since “marketable” means what appeals to the great majority, and that great majority is mostly after crap, well, that’s about what you’ll have to produce, regardless of your field, in order to have money coming in.

            Plus, you take this whole question as black and white. It’s either you build a massive wealth, or it’s a 9 to 5 job. Surely there’s got to be some other ways of approach- of working less hours a day and get used to living off less- that is renouncing SOME of the luxuries that this technological age has to offer.

          6. Guest says:

            He is referring to people who in this modern world are born with enough material conditions to not whore out in society and so are able to isolate themselves a pursuit a more traditionalist life.
            Anyway, in the case of ascending in the wealth ladder a great degree of conformity to the society would be required.
            The book however is written not for those cases but for those who are not born to privileged material conditions

  4. Mihai says:

    I’m sorry to say this, but by this article you advocate the same meaningless life of consumerism that is rotting the western world.

    According to this article, you need 20 million dollars to “escape the system”. 20 million for what ? What can you possibly but with 20 million that is so vital to a good existence ?

    Disregarding the fact that it is virtually impossible for the majority of people who are not born under more privileged circumstances, even if one managed to build such a wealth starting from scratch, it would probably take all of one’s life to do so- that is a life spent and focused only on the aquisition of money, a life wasted to no higher purpose. Not to mention the fact that you’ll probably lose sight of the goal of escaping the system, and, on the way, become PART of the system.

    1. JHB says:

      a life wasted to no higher purpose

      What is this “higher purpose” you speak of?

  5. [...] I’m crossposting these four points from a comment on Amerika.org. [...]

  6. 1349 says:

    “The only way out is to get rich, get into that gated community, and buy your way out every way you can.”

    Use a couple of ambiguous paragraphs like this one and you’ll get a ton of comments. =)

    Getting rich just to buy one’s way out is for the short-sighted and indifferent. They and their children will just have to keep escaping the growing desert.

    Getting rich for us is a means to increasing our potential in turning that desert into a forest.

  7. Blonde Chinaman says:

    I really hope that blog readers who are interested in creating and preserving wealth for themselves and their children understanding the economic system is a complex endeavor in itself. It can be quite time consuming, but it can also be rewarding. There are many false paths, because economic interests are pursued selfishly and it isn’t helpful to share profitable knowledge with others except in a partnership.

    The government benefits every time you earn money. The IRS taxes you on money you earn. The money left over that you save quickly loses value through inflation. To offset that inflation, you invest it in order to preserve the value. The government then gets to tax you again on your “earnings.” The government has a very strong incentive to make REAL inflation as high as possible, but keep the REPORTED inflation as low as they can get away with. This allows them to continue to print money and make money off your earnings and your savings. Politicians can take your money and fund programs for special interest groups to help them get reelected, and central bankers can make lots and lots of money and donate to politicians.

    Historically, prices in the US were stable for over a century. Inflation took a dramatic spike after the 1970′s When the gold standard was removed, which opened up massive manipulation (and profit!). People pretend they were making a lot of money on “rising housing prices” which were a bubble coupled to high inflation. Not very long ago, one-income and a basic job was enough to pay for a very large family. That money didn’t disappeared, but was just transferred.

    What you need to be aware of then is: one million dollars is no longer one million dollars. In the 1950′s that was equivalent to the 10′s of millions now required to by your way out of the system. This isn’t because things are fundamentally more expensive, but because fiat currencies have lots of a ton of value because at heart they are backed by nothing, are nothing more than paper with ink, and are easily created to help some clever people transfer a lot of money away from the general population.

    Zerohedge.com is a good resource to read.

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