Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Bunch of [Rich] Whiners

I'm getting sick of hearing wealthy people complain about their sliding standard of living.  I kept looking at this article about NY bankers can't live on half a million a year, looking for the Onion logo.  You've got to be joking, right?  Last week it was the girlfriends and mistresses of bankers who aren't getting enough treats and trips.  Boo hoo hoo!

But before I get in a huff about rich pigs, I should remind myself that my American lifestyle, while not wealthy, is rich beyond imagination for many gazillion people living in third-world poverty.

So who is rich enough to scorn?  I think it's like driving.  If you go slower than me, you're an idiot.  If you're passing me, you're a maniac.  How much more money than I make is enough to qualify you as a rich pig? 

Brad Delong we all judge others with a factor of three:
I'm convinced that everyone I know can easily imagine how to spend up to three times their current income usefully and productively. (It is only beyond three times your current spending that people judge others' spending as absurd and wasteful.) And everybody I know finds it very difficult to imagine how people can survive on less than one-third of what they spend—never mind that all of our pre-industrial ancestors did so all the time.

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