But it is the definitions of rich and wealth in the materialistic sense that interest me. One hundred people gathered together in one room might not be able to come up with a working definition of ‘rich’ or ‘wealth’. Some people will define ‘rich’ or ‘wealth’ as owning one home and one car, whereas others consider themselves rich if they are able to rent an apartment and not own a car, but perhaps use their money to travel, while others require a home and a summer cottage, and several cars and maybe even a boat in order to feel as though they have achieved the requisite level of wealth. Some people will say that they are rich if they have freedom to do as they like and can come and go as they please; they may not be interested in owning many material possessions. So what then is the definition of ‘poor’? Individuals who rent an apartment and do not own a car, a vacation cottage or an expensive boat—are they to be considered poor if they are content with their economic situation? Can society force that definition upon them? To me these are difficult questions to ponder, let alone answer.
There seems to be a lot more envy now in society than I can remember from when I grew up. You need only look at a newspaper to understand that; if the rich open their mouths and tell the less rich how to live or what to do, or if they in any way go overboard in terms of flaunting their wealth, the less rich will tell them in no uncertain terms to shut up or try to take them down a few notches, again using the media to do so. But they do it in a way that smacks of envy.
Perhaps globalization and a relentless media have made us more aware of the haves and the have-nots. We again need only turn to the media for them to tell us how the rich live; all the gory details are there for our perusal. The danger is that constant immersion in the media-created focus on wealth fosters a false sense of reality--that all people can achieve wild levels of wealth, if only…….And who knows if this way of thinking has contributed to high levels of personal debt—in the craze to have as many material possessions as possible, even if it means personal ruin.