Imagine this: you dedicated your life to something, worked hard, and now, finally, you’re seeing the dividends of your efforts.
Your novel is flying off the shelves. You just signed a massive contract to play football. Your start-up has become a Fortune-500 company. These are the outcomes people dream about when they put their noses to the grindstone.
Striving for success used to be encouraged, but present-day society has normalized demonizing the wealthy and successful. People are quick to villainize the rich and point fingers without the financial literacy needed to truly understand their wealth.
It’s okay to be rich. Everyone wants to be rich; whether it’s so they can provide financial freedom for their family, donate to charity, or just blow it all on designer clothes.
There’s nothing inherently bad about being successful. There’s nothing wrong with being wealthy, even when others are struggling. What’s wrong is succeeding at the expense of others.
Let’s use Jeff Bezos as an example.
His net worth on any given day hovers around 100 billion dollars—the majority of which is the value of his company and not disposable income. The company he created, Amazon, has changed the world by making shopping exponentially more accessible and convenient.
Bezos has been rewarded for inventing a service that drastically improved on the old models of buying and selling goods. He earned his fortune with a genius idea, and nobody has the right to tell him what to do with his money, quite frankly.
Bezos is not evil for being filthy rich—he’s evil for being a selfish jerk.
The problem isn’t his astronomical income—it’s creating a workplace environment in which employees are forced to work after watching their colleagues die in front of them. It’s exploiting workers to the point of denying them bathroom breaks.
Mega-moguls need to be held accountable for their actions because, as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. However, society has lost the plot when it comes to separating wealth from the individual.
Make no mistake: capitalism is a flawed system that favours the privileged. However, we shouldn’t be angry at those who find a way to win at a game with wonky rules. We should all be trying to do the same until society finally re-writes the rules into something better.
It would be wonderful if the rich and powerful chose to put their wealth toward noble causes, but they have the right to do whatever they want with the money they’ve made. It belongs to them.
Being angry at people for being rich is a waste of time. Everyone wishes they were a billionaire and there’s nothing wrong with that. So, instead of shaking our fists at the system, let’s focus on holding the wealthy accountable when they exploit others for profit.
It’s okay to be rich—just don’t be a jerk.
Ben is a fifth-year psychology student and The Journal’s Editor in Chief.
billionaire, capitalism, Finance, Jeff bezos, wealth
All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.