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Author Topic: What is rich??
abnormal
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1245

posted 21 July 2002 08:09 PM      Profile for abnormal   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Given the number of posts that demonize the “rich” and the “monied elite” without ever defining those terms I really want to know what people mean by them. Simply put, when does someone cease to be a hardworking stiff with a “good” job and become a member of the evil empire?

Further, should the definition be based on income, net worth, some combination thereof, or something completely?

If it’s based on income, what is the threshold? Twenty thousand dollars, fifty, one hundred, five hundred, …??? If it’s based on net worth what’s the point at which someone crosses the threshold from well off to being a social pariah?

By the same token, when does the owner of a company become “too” successful? When he hires his first employee, his tenth, his one thousandth, … ?

Obviously we all know that there are a number of huge companies that began life in garages, college dorms, etc. and I’m sure most people on this board can name individuals that began life in pretty humble surroundings but by sheer force of personality, smarts, and driving ambition, are worth hundreds of millions or even billions today. There are clearly hundreds of much lower key scenarios. People that started companies and, by dint of hard work and perseverance ended up “well off”. As an example, in my student days the local variety store was run by a succession of Korean families. It seems that every couple of years the family running it would move on and another new immigrant family would take over. It wasn’t the nicest of neighbourhoods but somehow they all seemed to succeed. Your basic success stories. I only saw one of those families again. They were running a very high end china and crystal shop and, it’s my understanding that they owned several such stores in various locations. In dollar terms that family probably meets any criteria of rich that you care to come up with (unless your definition includes double digit millions of income). Do they deserve it? In my opinion, yes, they deserve everything they’ve got and then some. Are they somehow part of the monied elite? If that means can they buy stuff, the answer is yes. Are they evil? Only if people that actually succeed as opposed to moan are evil by definition.


From: far, far away | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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Babbler # 1394

posted 21 July 2002 08:20 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Facetiously, by my definition, anyone who has more money than I do is rich. Which makes almost everyone richer than I am.

PS. I am actually quite proud of being 'poor' in monetary terms.

[ July 21, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
vaudree
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1331

posted 21 July 2002 08:29 PM      Profile for vaudree     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Any family of four which makes more than $50,000 a year can consider themselves rich.
From: Just outside St. Boniface | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Trisha
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Babbler # 387

posted 21 July 2002 08:49 PM      Profile for Trisha     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
People with incomes so high they never have to touch their savings and have lots of investments that they also don't have to touch are rich and having money only becomes evil when it becomes more important than the people in your life and greed is your main personality trait. That leaves a lot of leeway. It also covers a large number of government and business higherups.

I'm not against people gaining and working their way up, I'm against the ones who victimize the poor. Someone who uses their excess wealth to help others less fortunate is to be given credit. Those who use their money to get more from those who can't afford to lose any don't.


From: Thunder Bay, Ontario | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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Babbler # 1402

posted 21 July 2002 09:24 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That just shows how little money we have! We can't even imagine the kind of rich that rich people routinely are.

I classify somebody filthy rich, if their personal fortune is counted in billions; rich when they're netting more than a million, cash, on top of tangible benefits (stocks, the company jet, car, hotel suites and summer homes) per year.

Below that, there are levels of wealth from $1,000,000+ annual income from investments (no work required) or running a successful business (requires lots of time and responsibility) down to the plastic surgeon who earns $800,000 with his own hands. Prosperity - provided by enterprise or salaried position - descends from there to around $100,000 a year.

As for which of these people serve the evil empire, that's not a function of the money they take home, but of the way in which they come by it. A successful business owner who makes a couple of million a year may also be a good citizen: not cheat on his taxes, give to charity, support community improvement, treat his employees fairly, and so on. A wage-flunky who only gets $20,000 may be helping his employer plunder the planet, endanger his workers, defraud the government, soil his environment, etc. And vice-versa, of course.


From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
vaudree
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1331

posted 21 July 2002 11:20 PM      Profile for vaudree     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
when (money) becomes more important than the people in your life and greed is your main personality trait.
This can be true of people who don't have very much money as well. Some of the slimiest con artists are either poor or start out poor.
quote:
A wage-flunky who only gets $20,000 may be helping his employer plunder the planet, endanger his workers, defraud the government, soil his environment, etc. And vice-versa, of course.
On the other hand, a wage-flunky (and they usually make under $12,000) has not a lot of choice if he or she wants to eat - there is a lot of giving up the future to pay for the present at that income level. With the babyboomers set to retire, the situation should be getting a lot better.

Could be worse, my mom just told me a story about a man who could not feed his cows. He felt that, rather than wait around and let them starve, that it kinder to shoot them. And after he shot the last cow, he felt himself worthy of the same act of kindness, rather than wait around ...

And that 16 year old that my son brought to Winnipeg from the Washington State, for his second survey at his new job he has to talk to farmers. Talk about a baptism by fire.

And this brings me to a point we have not brought up yet (because farmers have a lot of overhead and very little of it can be considered salary). What do you consider income - the number on our paycheck when you cash it or that other number that you put on our income tax form which has nothing to do with what you make?

[ July 21, 2002: Message edited by: vaudree ]


From: Just outside St. Boniface | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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Babbler # 490

posted 22 July 2002 12:14 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Andrew Hacker's Money has an interesting note on this. Apparently, when a goodish sample of people are asked to define their ideal standard of living and quality of life, that level usually can be replicated if you're actually making about $100,000 (US) a year. This indicates that people don't really want to be like the really rich guys that are in our society, but more like the degreed professionals (and for a few years, programmers at dot-coms) that routinely command those incomes.

It also suggests a broad egalitarian streak that still exists in North America, since people from broadly different backgrounds and income levels all seem to coalesce around the same number for what would be needed to produce the kind of life they'd like to have.

This is why I would agree with Trisha: The rich guys I don't like are the ones that own enough assets, be they companies, stocks, bonds, bank accounts.... whatever, for which the rate of return allows them to not have to spend that asset.

Even so, that does not absolve other rich guys from being required to develop a sense of social responsibility, and it is clear that many of the owners of companies that take in substantially less than a boatload of money every month still tend to be predisposed to treat their workers like crap, even to the point of not giving out raises if the minimum wage goes up.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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Babbler # 1402

posted 22 July 2002 12:17 AM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I used $20,000 as an entrance-level executive salary for the kind of flunky who can do real damage - which will increase along with hir salary. The $12,000 employee is a secretary, technician or factory-worker, who doesn't get to make any decisions.

Farmers - except for agri-business - don't even come into it. Old joke: Q. How do you make a small fortune in farming? A. Start with a large one.


From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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Babbler # 490

posted 22 July 2002 12:23 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I made about 18 grand a year pre-tax working at Lush Manufacturing. This was mostly physical labor, so I would suspect that "executive assistant" type salaries start a tad higher than that.

Besides, workers ultimately have a community of interest with each other in seeing to it that they grab more of the national income than they currently do. Workers also collectively share a community of interest in redressing the power imbalance which allows bosses to do things that they would never do to their own grandmothers (well, okay, maybe some would) - a sampling of such activities would be: withhold wages on all kinds of trivial say-sos, refuse to obey occupational health and safety rules, and fanatically opposing union organizing even if that means breaking the rules.

Besides, who's the real villain? The worker who does what he's told or the person who gives the orders? I say it's the guy who gave the orders who ought to get his ass kicked.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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