The Morality of Wealth

Often times the idea of being wealthy can turn people away. Many object to the idea, saying that those who are wealthy become corrupt and money-loving. While this does happen, it doesn’t happen all the time. In fact, many who are wealthy are able to abide by their moral principles. This paper will explain the morality of wealth, including limits to gaining wealth, and limits while one is wealthy.

First off, there is nothing morally and ethically wrong with being wealthy. People, not money, make decisions. While money can be used as a temptation and a means of accomplishing nefarious goals, it is ultimately a person’s decision to use this temptation, and another’s decision to take the bait. Not everyone falls for the scheme. Another point is that some people boast about their wealth. Some people decide to use their money extravagantly and take many vacations during a year, all the while creating pretentious posts on social media, alienating any friends they might have. An article on a website known as The Surprise Millionaires describes Arnold Besserud, who, despite being wealthy, was quiet and modest. Below is a quote from The Surprise Millionaires, which describes what Mr. Besserud had set aside his wealth for after death:

Like any good family member, Mr. Besserud wanted to make sure that his family was taken care of after he was gone.  He demonstrated this commitment upon his passing in 2008 with a $3 million bequest to the local community foundation with proceeds earmarked to benefit local soup kitchens and lunch programs.  Unknown to his friends, Mr. Besserud had been a Surprise Millionaire with the capacity to take care of his adopted family long after his passing.  And take care of them he will with the endowment fund estimated to generate more than $100,000 each year.

This wealth was used to take care of his “…adopted family…”, or network of friends who often had meals in the soup kitchens, by donating to those programs. Who wouldn’t agree with that being a charitable cause?

Another thing to be cautious about is the moral limits of attaining wealth. Stealing, lying, and cheating are out of the question. Not only are they associated with nefariousness, but they also tear down a good reputation. A good reputation is important to be able to establish contacts and a repeat client base for a business, as well as success in the workplace too. Treating people as people, not machines producing labor and/or money is also necessary for developing a positive reputation. Gambling is also ill-advised, since it is an easy and careless way to lose money quickly.

One last note before the concluding paragraph is that once one becomes wealthy, or at least able to sustain him/her and family with money to spare, that person can donate to the needy. See, the poor can’t donate anything meaningful without damaging themselves financially. That also damages the person from making any more donations for a period of time too.

In conclusion, it is not immortal to be wealthy. Yes, wealth has many temptations, however, these temptations are merely what they are, temptations. In fact, much good can be done with wealth, as seen with Mr. Besserud, who, after passing, left a large sum of money to soup kitchens.  There are obvious moral limits to gaining wealth, such as the prohibition of lying, stealing, and cheating, but these are essential in order to attain wealth and maintain a good reputation. Often times the wealthy that are scorned have done nefarious or unethical things to get there (this includes boastfulness). Wealth isn’t bad, but peoples’ actions can be.

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