Sunday, April 7, 2019

Rich, Richer, Richest

Rich - No risk of death from curable disease; hunger rare and minor; lavish portfolio of modern comforts/conveniences/entertainments; days off; personal possessions; car owner (or access to mass transit).

Soccer Mom Rich - Overabundance of possessions and food seems like a negative; vacations; spare time for hobbies; savings.

Dentist Rich - Late model car; investments; parking garages; frequent $20 meals and infrequent $50 meals.

Lawyer Rich - Occasional business class; fancy car; hires people for jobs they could do themselves.

Entrepreneur Rich - Business class; prestige car; default question is "do I really need?" rather than "can I afford?". Children financially assured.
Fwiw, "Entrepreneur Rich" circa 2004 was merely dentist rich.

The "Rich" in America (what we here call "the working poor") enjoy a lifestyle of comfort, health, security, and entertainment beyond the imagining of aristocrats of past centuries, and are the envy of most people in the Third World today (though, even there, extreme poverty is down almost 26% over a mere 25 years).

The young - as has been the case for time immemorial - are geared up about inequality. In the past, such radicalization has served to focus attention on the impoverished, but it's become perverted in an era when rich people feel poor. The extreme Left embraces Marxist constructs in their struggle for the perks not just of the rich (they're all rich) but of the super-rich. Class warfare between the have-lots versus the have-tons. I've dubbed this strange phenomenon "Liberal Materialism."


Richard Stanford said...

I really do like this list, and the ideas behind it.

But at least in the US, if you have a curable disease that requires more than a single prescription for medication, using that as the definition of "rich" rules out a ton of people and certainly does not apply to "the working poor."

Jim Leff said...

Richard, of course, I wasn't trying to create bullet-proof carve-outs. Just trying to make a point.

I'm not saying this is what you were doing, but there's a cognitive virus that makes people furious with "most" statements (explicit or implicit). If they can point to an exception, they feel that they've rung some sort of bell. If they themselves embody the exception, they can infuriate. See this twitter thread: . Not "my experience differed" but "WRONG WRONG WRONG!!" After all, how can one be an edge case when one is at the center of everything? :)

In fact, I suspect the word "most", which is currently almost entirely disregarded, may wind up archaic within 50 years. It's part of the black-and-whiting of contemporary thought. We're losing all subtlety.

Again, not saying this is what you were doing, I'm just riffing here. I've been wanting to Slog about it, but I can't think of anything more interesting to say about it than "we're all narcissists", and I'm getting sick of demonstrating that....

Richard Stanford said...

Jim, that makes sense. It does happen to be a pet peeve of mine, having lived (and still having family living) under the UK's NHS and seeing how they're treated vs. the disappointing expectations that many of "us Americans" have of our own system. Other than that, I agree strongly with your opinions and categorization.

Jim Leff said...

...and I agree that our healthcare system is ghastly. Though it would seem a benevolent miracle (and scientifically a godsend) to a time traveler from 1960....and many times more so to one from 1940.

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