I’ve spent a good part of the last couple of weeks getting smacked across the face from all three sides, Lizard, Monkey, and Angel, on Facebook. On the Monkey side, my liberal friends and acquaintances have been posting Bernie Sanders’ 12 point plan to solve all the nation’s problems. On the Lizard side, my conservative friends and acquaintances have been posting reminders that socialism has never worked. On the Angel side, my libertarian acquaintances have been posting how free markets would fix all the problems in this country. All this between funny cat videos, posts about various takes on the space program (past and future), and numerous personal posts—oh, and posts about the Broncos.
One fascinating trend I’ve noticed is that my liberal friends absolutely hate “the rich,” and believe they’re responsible for all the evil in the world, from environmental damage, to enslaving the poor, to ruining our food and water with GMOs and other poisons. A lot of their fury, granted, is directed at big corporations, but they direct a fair amount at the rich CEOs, especially of the banks and Wall Street. I have to wonder if any of them even know any wealthy people personally, or even any business people. Certainly they don’t seem to have any real understanding of economics, much less how free markets are supposed to work, or they wouldn’t be claiming that the minimum wage should be raised no matter what the consequences.
I can kind of understand where they’re coming from since my father is an Angel driven Monkey dominant who spent his working life teaching at the junior high level, then, after getting his PhD, at the college level. Becoming wealthy was never important to him. He wanted to be an architect as a young man, but his parents couldn’t afford to send him anywhere but the local normal school (now University of Northern Colorado) to become a teacher. Even though his family owned a potato-chip factory in Greeley, Colorado, he never showed any interest in business, though he did help with the hard work of making potato chips and shoestring fries. Fortunately, his brothers did bother to learn about sales and marketing from his dad, and helped make the business a success.
On the other hand, since I married my husband, a Lizard driven Angel dominant, and gained access to his extensive library of conservative books, I’ve learned a lot about economics, how markets work (and don’t work), and why socialism sounds great in theory but has never worked in fact (because it ignores the Lizard need to acquire resources, territory, and mates). Over the years, I’ve made the acquaintance of a fair number of business people. One thing I’ve noticed is that very few of them ever make a big deal about their net worth, large or small. Most of them went into business to serve needs. After all, you can’t make money if you don’t provide goods or services that other people are willing to pay for. My husband and I even ran our own business for about 4 years back in the mid-80s, and I know first hand how difficult it is to manage a small business. I would never begrudge the successful in business their profits, since practically everything we take for granted in our everyday lives, from the food on our tables to the I-phones in our hands, or even the laptop I’m writing this on, comes to us courtesy of those willing to take the risk of failure in order to provide us with those goods and services.
Even though I don’t personally have a great need to grow wealthy (at least in part because I have no children to pass that wealth on to), I can understand where people like Mark Ford and other very wealthy people do—and I don’t begrudge their growing their wealth by providing me with knowledge (as Mark does through his Palm Beach Research Group).
Nor do I begrudge him getting paid a lot more for what he does than I get paid for what I do. When I’m working, I can help only a few people a day solve their problems, and I get paid accordingly. Mark, on the other hand, through the books he’s written and the newsletters he writes now, is able to help thousands, even tens of thousands of people a day learn to solve their problems. How is what I do for a living worth more than what he’s doing? I’m just helping people fix their phone and internet issues. He’s helping people learn how to grow wealthy so they don’t have to depend on the government or family members for survival in their retirement. To me, that knowledge is far more valuable than what I provide my customers. Why shouldn’t he be richer than I am?
Besides, it isn’t like he hoards his wealth. He invests in small businesses he thinks have a decent chance of success. This is helping others serve needs by providing goods and services. He is learning (the hard way, it seems) about how best to provide charity to those in need. And, of course, he pays taxes, local, state, and federal.
I think the real problem my liberal friends have with the rich is envy, because they aren’t rich. Why aren’t they rich? Because they never bothered to learn how to become rich—perhaps because they were taught as children that the rich were evil. While some can be, it isn’t a given that every wealthy person by definition must be evil. It’s just that the rich are usually Lizard driven or Lizard dominant. My liberal friends, like my father, are usually Monkey driven or Monkey dominant.
It’s really just a matter of perspective.