"The only Wealth is Life."



"Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it."

-Ben Franklin


"A man's true wealth is the good he does in this world."



"Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame."

-Arthur Schopenhauer


"Lampis the ship-owner, on being asked how he acquired his great wealth, replied, "My great wealth was acquired with no difficulty, but my small wealth, my first gains, with much labor."



"If honesty did not exist, we ought to invent it as the best means of getting rich."



"The more men have to lose, the less willing are they to venture. The rich are in general slaves to fear."

-Thomas Paine


"If a rich man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it."



"I care not how affluent some may be, provided that none be miserable in consequence of it."

-Thomas Paine


"There is nothing keeps longer than a middling fortune, and nothing melts away sooner than a great one. Poverty treads on the heels of great and unexpected riches."



"A great fortune is a great slavery."

-Seneca  (4 B.C.-65 A.D.)


"In an ugly and unhappy world the richest man can purchase nothing but ugliness and unhappiness."

-George Bernard Shaw



"That mankind as a whole shall become richer does not, of necessity, involve an increase in human welfare."

-John Bates Clark (1847-1938) The Philosophy of Wealth


"Wherever there is excessive wealth, there is also in the train of it excessive poverty; as where the sun is brightest the shade is deepest."

-Walter Savage Landor


"This disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful is the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments."

-Adam Smith


"It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one's dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent."

-William Somerset Maugham


"Every man thinks God is on his side. The rich and powerful know he is."

-Jean Anoulh (1910-87)


"The difference between the richest man and the poorest is but a day of hunger an hour of thirst."

-Kahlil Gibran


"If you have a great deal of wealth, take care and do not be carried away by its overflow; but endeavor to take hold of some dry ground, in order to establish your mind with proper firmness; and this will be the proper exertion of justice and fairness. And if you should have abundant supplies of all the things requisite for the indulgence of the passions which lie beneath the belly, be not carried away by such plenty, but oppose to them a saving degree of contentedness, taking in this way dry ground to stand upon instead of an absorbing quicksand."

Philo of Alexandria (3rd century AD)


"This disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments."

-Adam Smith Moral Sentiments


"If you'd be wealthy, think of saving, more than of getting: The Indies have not made Spain rich, because her Outgoes equal her Incomes."

-Ben Franklin


"It is not property which makes rich, but the spirit....For the more a man has gained the more he thirsts for gain, and burns as it were with a kind of intoxication from his lusts....Why do you seek for a heap of riches as though it were necessary? Nothing is so necessary as to know that this is not necessary."

Saint Ambrose


"Woe to those who lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat lambs from the flock, and calves from the midst of the stall; who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and like David invent for themselves instruments of music; who drink wine in bowls , and anoint themselves with the finest oils...."

(Amos 6:4-6)


"With the greater part of rich people, the chief enjoyment of riches consists in the parade of riches, which in their eye is never so complete as when they appear to possess those decisive marks of opulence which nobody can possess but themselves."

-Adam Smith  Wealth of Nations


"Our modern expedient, which has become very general, is to mortgage the public revenues, and to trust that posterity will pay off the in cumbrances contracted by their ancestors."

-David Hume (1711-76)



"The only part of the so-called national wealth that actually enters into the collective possessions of modern peoples is their National Debt."

-Karl Marx


"Any 'Christian' who takes for himself anything more than the plain necessaries of life, lives in open, habitual denial of the Lord."

John Wesley



"Our Lord commonly giveth Riches to such gross asses, To whom he affordeth nothing else that is good."

-Martin Luther



"Cunning and deceit will serve a man better than force to rise from a base condition to great fortune."

-Niccolo Machiavelli


"To be observed, to be attended to, to be taken notice of with sympathy, complacency, and approbation, are all the advantages which we can propose to derive from it. The rich man glories in his riches because he feels that they naturally draw upon him the attention of the world. The poor man on the contrary is ashamed of his poverty. He feels that it places him out of the sight of mankind. To feel that we are taken no notice of necessarily disappoints the most ardent desires of human nature. The poor man goes out and comes in unheeded, and when in the midst of a crowd is in the same obscurity as if shut up in his own hovel. The man of rank and distinction, to the contrary, is observed by all the world. Everybody is eager to look at him. His actions are the objects of the public care. Scarce a word, scarce a gesture that fall from him will be neglected."

Adam Smith

The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Edinburgh, 1759)


"I fear, wherever riches have increased, the essence of religion has decreased in the same proportion. Therefore, I do not see how it is possible, in the nature of things, for any revival of true religion to continue long. For religion must necessarily produce industry and frugality, and these cannot but produce riches. But as riches increase, so will pride, anger, and love of the world in all its branches."

-John Wesley


"Being rich is about acting, isn't it? A style, a pose, an interpretation that you force upon the world? Whether or not you've made the stuff yourself, you have to set about pretending that you merit it, that money chose right in choosing you, and that you'll do right by money in your turn."

-Martin Amis


"Ye cannot serve God and mammon."



"That mankind as a whole shall become richer does not, of necessity, involve an increase in human welfare."

-John Bates Clark (1847-1938)

The Philosophy of Wealth (1886)


"The art of getting rich consists not in industry, much less in saving, but in a better order, in timeliness, in being at the right spot."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

'Wealth', The Conduct of Life


"There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbors. This is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor."

-Benjamin Franklin


"Wealth is largely a result of habit."

-John Jacob Astor


"The pleasures of wealth and greatness....strike the imagination as something grand and beautiful and noble, of which the attainment is well worth all the toil and anxiety which we are so apt to bestow upon it.....It is this deception which rouses and keeps in continual motion the industry of mankind. it is this which first prompted them to cultivate the ground, to build houses, to found cities and commonwealths, and to invent and improve all the sciences and arts, which ennoble and embellish human life; which have entirely changed the whole face of the globe, have turned the rude forests of nature into agreeable and fertile plains, and made the trackless and barren ocean and new fund of subsistence, and the great high road of communication to the different nations of the earth."

-Adam Smith


".....we all hope to be rich ourselves. We are descended almost by definition from people who liked food and sex. From them we have inherited deeply embedded biological drives for status, for waterfront real estate, for landscapes of the English country house variety (derived ultimately from the African savanna), and for a variety of other attractive features often associated with the rich and famous. Moreover, all our disclaimers to the contrary, we long to be like them. We pay attention to the rich as slavishly as a troop of gorillas following the lead of its dominant silverback. We mimic them as aptly as a viceroy butterfly mimics the coloration of a monarch. As in any dominance hierarchy, we also fear the rich. They can use their power to hurt us in ways we hardly recognize."

Richard Connif fhe Natural History of the Rich


"It's been proven over and over again that the human being is really not capable of having too much. People degenerate when they have too much....They start messing things up. So there's really no reason why people should have too much." It's only show-offs, infantile showing off. People get like that, you know....It isn't really necessary."

Gil Evans


"Hang around with rich people and you will end by picking up the check and dying broke."

-Stanley Walker


"Wealth doesn't change people. It brings out what you always were."

Henry Ford


"Wealth doesn't change people. It changes the way people treat you."

Henry Nicholas 


"A great man, did you say? All I see is the actor creating his own ideal image."

-Friedrich Nietzsche


"Wherever there is excessive wealth, there is also in the train of it excessive poverty; as where the sun is brightest the shade is deepest."

-Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864)



"Wealth maketh many friends."



W.H. Auden thought that the most striking difference between Americans and Europeans was to be found in their different attitudes toward money. No European associates wealth with personal merit or poverty with personal failure. But to the American what is important is not so much possession of money but the power to earn it."

Lewis H. Lapham

"Money and Class in America


   "According to the gospel of wealth, freedom was good and therefore ordained by God, including freedom of enterprise. The Declaration of Independence bristles with references to God and the Creator, and from a tone of self-congratulation that creeps into this document it is possible to suspect that its framers viewed themselves as God's earthly archangels. And, if America's revolt from England and eventual independence were endorsed by God, it was not too great a leap of logic to assume that America's development into the richest country in the world was also God-ordained.

   Capitalism-free enterprise-would succeed, according to the gospel, because it was based on reliable and homely values: thrift, industry, honesty, and the keeping of promises. This last was perhaps most important: trust, which might be called capitalism's key concept. It is probably no coincidence that so many of America's banks call themselves trust companies, or that every piece of American currency, and every coin, is emblazoned with the words "In God We Trust." Or that those inviolable legal instruments through which fortunes are passed on from one generation to the next are called trust funds. With each trust fund, in addition to property and cash, is passed the implicit wish that each member of each succeeding generation will carry the family name onward to greater riches, and greater glory."

-Stephen Birmingham

America's Secret Aristocracy



"To what purpose is all the toil and bustle of this world? What is the end of avarice and ambition, of the pursuit of wealth, of power, and pre-eminence?"

Adam Smith


There is no Wealth but Life....That country is the richest which nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy human beings."

-John Ruskin (1862)


"Ö.The heirs to even modest fortunes exist in a perpetual state of dread. Because they seldom know how to earn money, they come to think of it as a magical stone or idol in a bank vault. For reasons they never quite manage to understand, the money was provided by a djinn who happened to be crossing the tracks of the Southern Pacific Railroad on a warm afternoon in 1884. To different families the djinn appeared at different times in different disguises-as an old prospector who gave away his claim to the Comstock Lode, as a mother who could dance or a father who hit it big in the movies, or as an immigrant engineer kindly but shabbily dressed, who invented a process for smelting steel but then sold it for a pittance to the founder of the fortune. Under no matter what circumstances the title to wealth was conferred, the heirs know one thing for certain: the djinn has come and gone and wonít be coming back. Foolish heirs sometimes forget this great truth, and so they squander a few million in schemes advanced by promoters who persuade them that the djinn still lives, that he can be found in the depths of a real-estate deal or on the sunny heights of high-tech stock."

Lewis H. Lapham



The infantilism of the American equestrian classes has unhappy effect on the children born within the walls of the precarious Eden. The parents compete with the children for the available time, toys and attention. The weight of money like the mass of an object within a gravitational field, imparts a corresponding velocity to the velocity gratification of desire, and the speed with  which oneís wish can be made flesh constitutes a barrier to self-denial. People might want to love their children, but they havenít got the time to notice, much less feel, their childrenís need. Given their wish to make time stand still, the future appears as the ominous looming on the horizon, a dreadful shadow falling across the pools of Narcissus. Children stand in the doorways like ghosts at a banquet-memento mori remind a man of his own mortality and prompting him to ask, with increasing bitterness and resentment, why the world should become older.

Assigned at an early age to the care of servants, surrounded through most of their lives by enemies whom they mistake for friends, the children of the rich tend to become orphans. They become as badly crippled as George Amory . Their talent and sexual desire inhibited by what they instinctively and correctly recognize as the hatred of their progenitors."

Lewis H. Lapham


   "The last two decades of the twentieth century, by contrast, echoed the zeniths of corruption and excess-the Gilded Age and the 1920s-when the rich in the United States slipped their usual political constraints, and this trend continued into the new century. By the 1990s data showed the United States replacing Europe at the pinnacle of Western privilege and inequality. This, of course, is part of what made the United States the prime target of terrorism in much the same was as the Europe of czars, kings, and grand dukes was during the period of 1880 to 1920. Finance itself had been a target before-in 1886, an anarchist flung acid and fired shots as the stockbrokers of the Paris Bourse, and in September 1920, terrorists set off dynamite on Wall Street in front of the offices of J.P. Morgan. Thirty-four people were killed and more than two hundred injured."

   Given these extraordinary wealth-related circumstances, provocations, and stakes, a political history of the American rich must inquire far beyond the predictable concentration of assets, inequality, and conspicuous consumption. It must also pursue troubling and crippling side effects: high levels of political corruption, the arrogance of global economic power, the twisting of the U.S. tax code, and the voter belief in the captivity of government to private interests."

Kevin Phillips

Wealth and Democracy


   "Driven, slaves, and drudges are also the rich. Preachers and moralists are apt to say that rich people are less happy, have more cares than the poor. I heard a bearded Capuchin once say that golden crosses were heavier than wooden ones. These metaphors sound well under the vaults of a cathedral, but they are not true. Golden crosses large enough for one to be crucified upon do not exist; if they did they could be sold for big sums and the price of them given to charities. Rich people have fewer cares than poor ones-that is the sober truth-but they are driven by their fellow men and women, drudges to organized nothingness and slaves to amusements. Their endless complaint is that they never have any time and are glad occasionally to be sick, in order to steal a little rest. Yet, they dread solitude and their own antonym for amusement is boredom. Traveling teaches them something of the other side appearance of the world, and social life gives the best gifted of them a store of facts-though it is surprising to notice how little they know about human nature. But time for thought they have not, a taste for serious conversation or serious books they seldom have or soon lose. They live on their most elementary instincts, seeking happiness in pleasure, affairs, or power."

Ernest Dimnet

The Art of Thinking


"Power and riches....are enormous and operose machines....consisting of springs the most nice and delicate, which must be kept in order with the most anxious attention, and which in spite of all our care are ready every moment to burst into pieces, and to crush in their ruins their unfortunate possessor...

   The pleasures of wealth and greatness. strike the imagination as something grand and beautiful and noble, of which the attainment is well worth all the toil and anxiety which we are so apt to bestow upon it. It is this deception which rouses and keeps in continual motion the industry of mankind."

-Adam Smith Wealth of Nations


   "What do they all have in common? Almost all in one form or another expressed the idea that money by itself didn't interest them that much. In the beginning, this sounded like the fourth biggest lie, along with "the check is in the mail," and so on. If so, it was a lie with a great tradition. In the library at the Breakers, their seventy-room cottage in Newport, Rhode Island, for instance, Cornelius and Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt had a white marble mantle bearing the venerable French inscription. "Little do I care for riches, and do not miss them, since only cleverness prevails in the end." Biographer Barbara Goldsmith writes that the Vanderbilt's saw no irony in purchasing this mantle, which had been pried off from the fireplace of a 400-year-old chateau in Burgundy. Presumably the builder of the chateau also saw no irony in putting the mantle there in the first place. Rich people have always believed it is their cleverness, their wit, their taste, their athletic ability-anything but their money-that makes them special."

Richard Conniff

The Natural History of the Rich


"Who is it that supports every one of the ruddy-faced and round-bellied brokers, furnishes their brown-stone houses in velvet and ebony, their tables with wine and silver, their wives and daughters-aye, and mistresses too-in silks and diamonds and laces? It is the lamb, the meek-eyed confiding and innocent little lamb."

How to Win in Wall Street (1881)


   "Control of surplus food was still the basis for wealth in the prime of the English country house, on which many rich people model their homes to this day. In Ireland and England until the end of the nineteenth century, "the big house" dominated every rural district. The house typically controlled at least a thousand acres of land, and in many cases much more, representing sustenance for a fiefdom of servants, laborers, and tenant farmers. This territory served as the basis for all political power, since the lord of the big house typically controlled the district's representation in Parliament and also appointed lesser officials officials, down to the local vicar. As recently as the 1870s, when the British Isles had a population of 26 million people, just 7,500 families secure in their big houses still owned 80 percent of the land. Land holding was so important to rank that the nineteenth-century prime minister Benjamin Disraeli declined a dukedom on the grounds that he lacked sufficient land to support the dignity. As a vestige of this territorial spirit, the current duke of Malborough, who owns 11,000 acres in Oxfordshire, still thinks of himself primarily as a farmer, though tourism now generates most of the income at Blenheim Palace."

Richard Conniff

The Natural History of the Rich


   "But this predatory and rapacious ruling class, wasting its substance, misusing power, stands immobilized as an obstacle in those paths. it bears no plan, is animated by no ideal, delivers no promise. The aristocracy of the Middle Ages was not an exploitative caste only; it dreamed of building a transcendent order, dreams to which Gothic cathedrals splendidly bear witness. The nineteenth-century bourgeoisie that Karl Marx described as a revolutionary class exploited the proletariat but also felt it was propagating progress and humanist ideals. The ruling classes of the Cold War were borne along by the will to defend democratic freedoms in the face of a totalitarian counterexample.

   but today, after triumphing over Sovietism, capitalism doesn't know how to do anything but celebrate itself. All spheres of power and influence have been swallowed by capitalism's pseudo-realism that asserts that any alternative is impossible and that the only end to pursue in order to soften the inevitability of injustice is to eke out ever more wealth.

   This would-be realism is not only ominous; it is blind. blind to the explosive power of manifest injustice. and blind to the poisoning of the biosphere that the increase in material wealth produces, poisoning that means deterioration in the conditions for human life and the squandering of the chances of generations to come."

Herve Kempf

How The rich Are Destroying The Earth


"We have nothing to fear from the idle rich. it is the not so idle rich which should concern us."

-C.H. Douglas


New York Times Nov19,2006  "Whats on line" 

"I'm Rich, I'm Rich/ If you make $76,000 a year, you are the 49,205,295th richest person in the world, which puts you in the top 20% world-wide in terms of income" 

data from


What is Money?

True wealth is measured in goods, services and ideas. Money is only a means of exchanging those things. originally, people traded beads, cocoa, shells, feathers, or pretty gems, whatever appealed to the person they were trading with. This is called direct exchange. However, some people did not always want the cocoa or feathers so money was invented to be an indirect exchange. We have learned today that the creators of goods, services and ideas should never let a currency get between them and their capacity to manifest and exchange them. it is important in these chaotic times to empower yourself and look for new and creative opportunities to exchange your talents, skills and merchandise.

Whether it's cooking, building, gardening, business consulting, clearing merchandising, walking a dog or writing, there are many creative ways to acquire the necessary items you need. The key is to stay empowered and understand that goods, services and ideas are true wealth, money is just a means of exchanging them."

Joey Best


Phantom Wealth

"also called illusory wealth, this is wealth that appears or disappears as if by magic. The term general denotes money created by accounting entries or the inflation of asset bubbles unrelated to the creation of anything of real value or utility. The high-tech-stock and housing bubbles are examples

    Phantom wealth also includes financial assets created by debt pyramids in which financial institutions engage in complex trading and lending schemes based on fictitious or overvalued assets in order to generate phantom profits and justify outsized management fees. Debt pyramids may be used as a device to feed financial bubbles, as in the subprime mortgage scam.

   Those engaged in creating phantom wealth collect handsome "performance" fees for their services at each step and walk away with their gains. When borrowers begin to default on debts they cannot pay, the bubble bursts and the debt pyramid collapses.

   Those who had no part in creating or profiting from the scam are then left to absorb the losses and to sort out the phantom-wealth claims still held by the perpetrators against the marketable real wealth of the larger society. It is all legal, which makes it a perfect crime."

-David Korten

Agenda For a New Economy: from Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth


Real Wealth


"Real wealth has intrinsic, as contrasted to exchange, value. Life, not money, is the measure of real-wealth value.

   The most important forms are beyond price and are unavailable for market purchase. These include healthy, happy children, loving families, caring communities, and a beautiful healthy, natural environment.

   Real wealth also includes all the many things of intrinsic artistic, spiritual, or utilitarian value essential to maintaining the various forms of living wealth. These may or may not have a market price. They include healthful food, fertile land, pure water, clean air, caring relationships and loving parents, education, health care, fulfilling opportunities for service, and time for meditation and spiritual reflection.

   Because of the essential role of caring relationships, the monetization or commoditization of real wealth, which generally translates into the monetization or commoditization of relationships, tends to diminish its real value. Examples including replacing parental caregivers with paid child-care workers.

   In contrast to a phantom-wealth economy, money in a real-wealth economy is not used as a measure or a storehouse of value, but solely as a convenient medium of exchange. A phantom-wealth economy seeks to monetize and commodify relationships to increase dependence on money; a real-wealth economy favors relationships based on mutual caring that reduce dependence on money."

David Korten

Agenda For a New Economy


   "Those who create phantom wealth, and those who are the beneficiaries of mutual funds or retirement funds invested in phantom wealth, may never realize that they are giving its holder a claim on the real wealth produced by others, and that phantom-wealth dollars created out of nothing dilute the claims of everyone else to the available stock of real wealth. They may also fail to realize that Wall Street and its international counterparts have created phantom-wealth claims far in excess of the value of all the world's real wealth, creating expectations of future security and comforts that can never be fulfilled."

David Korten


Book: "The Politics of Rich and Poor" by Kevin Phillip

Book: "How the Rich are Destroying The Earth" by Herve Kempf

Book: "Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense  (and stick you with the Bills)

Book: "The Natural History of the Rich" by Richard Conniff

Book: "Wealth, Poverty, and Human Destiny" ed by Doug Bandow & David L. Schindler

Book: "An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power" by John Steele Gordon

Book: "Wedgewood: The First Tycoon" by Brian Dolan

Book: "Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America's First Female Tycoon" by Charles Slack

Book: "After The Ball: Gilded Age Secrets, Boardroom Betrayals, and the Party That Ignited The Great Wall Street Scandal of 1905" by Patricia Beard

Book: "Deep Economy" by Bill McKibben

Book: "An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power" by John Steele Gordon

Book: "The House The Rockefellers Built: A Tale of Money, Taste, and Power in Twentieth-Century America" by Robert F. Dalzell and Lee Baldwin Dalzell

Book: "An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England" by Venetia Murray

Book: "Consumed" by Benjamin R. Barber

Book: "The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America's Politics and Culture" by Brink Lindsey

Book: "Are The Rich Necessary?" by Hunter Lewis

Book: "Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life" by Robert Reich

Book: "Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich" by Robert Frank

© 2007



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