the rich club
“We work harder and aspire the most.”
A rich person <Ipsos research interview>
“It’s a fact of modern life that there is disparity and ‘Is it fair or unfair?’ is not a valid question.
It’s just the way it is, and you have to get on with it. People say it’s unfair when they don’t do anything to change their circumstances.”
A rich person <Ipsos interview>
“Quite a lot of people have done well who want to achieve, and quite a lot of people haven’t done well because they don’t want to achieve.”
A rich person <Ipsos interview>
“She destroyed too many good things in society, and created too many bad ones, then left a social and moral vacuum in which the selfishly rich and unimaginatively fortunate could too easily destroy still more of what they don’t need and can’t see that everyone else does need.”
This is about rich people and their perceptions with regard to themselves as well as the rest of the non-wealthy world. To be clear. I don’t begrudge the wealth, the uber-rich, their wealth. That said. I have conducted research in the past with wealthy people (several levels of wealth) as well as lower income/poverty people and, well, if it weren’t proprietary I would write gobs of articles expressing “this is why wealthy people are disliked.” Today I get to lean in on a publicly shared piece of research from Ipsos (to make the same point).
Beyond research, having earned my share of wealth at one point in my Life, I have glanced off of the uberish-richy Hamptons, Palm Springs, Monte Carlo and south Florida world a couple of times in my life. I would suggest they live in a fantasy land, an alternative universe, from the rest of us. In this land of theirs they have a view of the world, and the people who do not live in their world, which is, frankly, kind of warped.
I do feel semi-qualified to share my view on this because while I have certainly had enough wealth to own a nice house, go on nice vacations and not worry about paying bills, I have also sat up at night worrying about how the rent would be paid the following month and using credit cards to get through stretches of time.
I thought about this for the first time in a really long time after I read a story about how the wife of the US Treasury Secretary <Steven Mnuchin multi millionaire businessman and Yale graduate> posted a picture on Instagram which she hashtagged all the designer labels she was wearing.
And then some woman, @jennimiller29, replied: “Glad we could pay for your little getaway #deplorable.”
From there another multi-millionaire wealthy person slid down into the wretched hole of douchebaggery:
“Aw!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable!” Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol. Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self sacrifice to your country?”
While that was just being a lower level asshat … she couldn’t just stop there:
“I’m pretty sure we paid more taxes toward our day ‘trip’ than you did. Pretty sure the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you’d be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours. [Curled bicep and a face blowing a kiss emojis].”
Oh … and …
“You’re adorably out of touch. Your kids look very cute. Your life looks cute. I know you’re mad but deep down you’re really nice and so am I. Sending me passive aggressive Instagram comments isn’t going to make life feel better.”
“Your life looks cute.” <suggesting … how quaint and ‘play the lottery every week’ your life is>
I could point out what a fucking uber rich narcissistic self-adulating pompous grown up rich kid this woman was for lashing out at some ‘less than’ person who dares criticize her, I will not. I will not because we should be clear. We just got a small glimpse of a discussion that happens day in and day out in anyone of the uber rich social circles as they hob nob with each other <kibitzing about the adorable peasants>. The only differnece is this wealthy person got busted. And it only happened because these wealthy assholes <people> mostly stay in their cocoon echo chambers and this one’s husband had the audacity to take a public servant position outside the cocoon.
Anyway. I will absolutely suggest that the majority of us have no clue what the other ‘haves’ <even if they are really have–nots>experience. We live in our own worlds and, in general, have little clue what the lives of people are like in income levels we do not share.
That said. The privileged wealthy are really out of touch <note: I will say that having any significant amount of money changes everyone’s perceptions>. This privileged wealthy class looks at accountability in a warped way. Accountability always seems to be measured by accumulation of wealth and the trappings of wealth. That is their measuring stick. And in their petty little gilded world it is the only measuring stick. Unfortunately that measurement doesn’t work outside their little world. And all it does is show they didn’t go to the same math class as the rest of the world, well, almost none of the same classes the rest of us went to.
Now. To get some of my wording right today, while I was fairly sure what ‘wealthy’ <nice word for rich> meant, I wandered into my go-to book on words Hayakawa’s Use the Right Word.
synonyms: Affluent, flush, loaded, opulent, prosperous, rich & successful.
In fact rich is not considered a flexible term <unlike wealthy> because it is an either/or word – you are either rich or you are not. Seldom is one spoken of as being ‘moderately rich.’ In addition … rich, unlike wealthy, is widely used in extended senses to mean full, pregnant or abundant.
‘… a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.’
And, in fact, rich people are also inflexible. They are more focused on their own goals and desires. Research even shows that they also ignore people a little more <focused more on the trappings, materialistic aspects of their Life>.
“If you have more power and status, you may not have to care as much about what people are thinking and feeling; and also, if you’re in a resource-scarce environment, where things are a little more unpredictable and maybe a little more dangerous, it would be very adaptive to pay attention to others, how they’re feeling and what they’re going to do.”
Research: one-on-one interview research study conducted by Ipsos where they spoke with rich people <earning $1 million a year to $10 million a year>.
What they discovered was a startling demonstration of ignorance. While they earned a lot of money and may of them made their money managing their people’s money they knew next to nothing about other people’s incomes. When asked to relate themselves to the rest of the population, these high-earners completely misjudged the magnitude of their privilege.
How much, we asked our group, would it take to put someone in the top 10% of earners? They put the figure at £162,000. In fact, in 2007 it was around £39,825, the point at which the top tax band began. Our group found it hard to believe that nine-tenths of the UK’s 32m taxpayers earned less than that. As for the poverty threshold, our lawyers and bankers fixed it at £22,000. But that sum was just under median earnings, which meant they regarded ordinary wages as poverty pay.
While people may haggle over some of the research thoughts the real takeaway should be the rich’s obliviousness to reality outside of their opulent cocoon.
Yeah. The arrogance of the entitled rich is usually contained within their snake pit cocoon. In their cocoon anyone outside it is ‘poor little people who are quaint and aggravatingly jealous and don’t understand’ and within it is a mosh pit of excessive upmanship. Simplistically, anyone outside their cocoon must be a ‘lesser than’ who can never understand what it is like within the cocoon.
They tend to be ‘opulent’ more than prosperous. They imply personal success, regardless of whether they put in the hard work to attain their riches or not, is found in the trappings, the imagery, more than the intangible aspects of character, attitude with regard to work & fair play and kindness beyond ‘donations & charity’.
And they use all their ‘trappings’ as a portrayal of ‘success’ to the rest of the world outside their cocoon. What I mean by that is it is incredibly hard to conceive of a rich person not considered successful by most people even if they have no redeeming value outside of opulence <and, yet, we can conceive of someone being highly successful but not rich>. Simplistically, most of the hard work rich people do is to work hard at looking rich.
Which leads me to the ‘sacrifice equivalency.”
Whew. This one is always a little hard to swallow.
Because the rich measure everything by money they measure sacrifice in the same terms. Sacrifice has little to do with self, in and of itself, but rather what was sacrificed from what the materialistic self could have gained.
It is a warped view of sacrifice stripping it of its most redeeming qualities to some naked monetary transactional measurement.
In their snake pit world it is a measuring stick.
In the real world it is a hollow definition of sacrifice.
“The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.”
Charles Dudley Warner
I say that because if you reread Mrs. Mnuchin’s post I would imagine, if you use the measuring stick I just offered, you would say she was offering a valid well intended response based on her world view and in doing so she clearly outlined the fact her cocooned world has very little to do with the real world.
I could say I feel sorry for her, but I do not.
I hate that belonging to different social classes means we struggle to relate on a daily basis.
I hate that America’s top one percent of earners is earning 81 times the average of the bottom 50 percent.
I hate that research shows how the wealthy and the working classes really do live in different cultures and, therefore, see the world in different ways.
I hate that research shows, ironically, rich people rated themselves as more empathetic — a “better-than-average effect” — when in reality the opposite was true.
The results “show that people who are higher in socioeconomic status have diminished neural responses to others’ pain. These findings suggest that empathy, at least some early component of it, is reduced among those who are higher in status.”
<Michael Varnum, neuroscientist at Arizona State University, a 2015 study on empathy>
I hate that success & wealth is significantly Life pre-programmed and that general mobility is a myth.
“We now live in a separate economy, we live on a separate level to the vast majority of people in the country. We don’t send our kids to the same schools, we have more choice over schools, we have more choice over health, we have more choice over where we live, we have more choice over where we go on holiday and what we do for our jobs. And we live in a completely different world to the people we live next door to.”
a more thoughtful rich person at the end of the Ipsos interview
Look. Every one of us lives looking at Life thru the lens of what we know. Someone who has only lived in poverty can only see poverty or ‘slightly more’ and someone who has money & been uber rich can only see wealth <and what comes with it>. And even those in-between are kind of trapped in what they know. I even think the manager who earns $145k a year is more often than not oblivious to the Life choices of their $45k a year employee.
Shit. Even I who has wandered between comfortable wealth and ‘holy shit I have no money’ views lowest income differently than someone who has only lived in lower income. How? I always believe I will not be there forever.
If something is all you have had, and is all you know, then that is what you are going to be in your head.
That said. All of us know that success in Life can be found by persistent working, never forgetting to pursue some dreams and being kind & caring while doing it. Unfortunately some of us forget that, but the rich people almost always believe they are the former <because they have wealth as proof>, think of dreams as tangible materialistic things and see kindness as anything to do with sharing their wealth, i.e, the framing for everything is associated with their wealthiness.
I tend to believe that we are all born equal, but we are not treated equal and not everyone is on an equal playing field. I don’t say that so some people should feel persecuted just as I do say that so some people recognize that they had better, easier opportunities than others.
There is always a way forward incorporating kindness … always. You just have to find it and relentlessly decide to find it. Unfortunately, it takes as much work as work itself. I would note this is not empathy (in my mind) this is about gaining perspective. You cannot put yourself in someone else’s shoes but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in the work trying to see what Life is like from where they are standing.
I have to conclude, using the Mrs. Mnuchin public comment, that most rich people just don’t want to put in the necessary work.
I have to conclude, using the research, most rich people are just douchebags out of touch with what we everyday schmucks deal with.
I have to conclude, using personal experience, the Rich Club doesn’t even like its own members and, in general, believes they reside in such a lofty place it is unreachable for mere mortals.
I have to conclude, given all the information, the Rich Club has no clue what Life is really like.
“Pride and excess bring disaster for man.”