This great quote by the great Epictetus touches upon the materialistic values that have had been given so much importance to in this society. But when we think of wealth in general, the imagery that forms in our mind is not of a welfare state, the happy utopian world where everyone is self-sufficient; but that of expensive cars, solitaires and stacks of cash. But do you think that is really it? I think not. Many economists have tried to define wealth in their own way, many dictionaries have several meanings of wealth but they all look and sound so inadequate to me. If wealth was indeed the measure of all of the assets of a person and his income, what would a beggars (not a rare site in our country) wealth be? In a country like ours, where economic gap is increasing by the day, wealth of a person has really started to define the character of a person. How can one be happy if he is living hand to mouth? It is ridiculous, don’t you think? Wealth affects the mindset of each and every one of us. As a whole, it affects the mindset of the whole nation.
Revolutions have occurred in the history over it. Heard about French Revolution? We live in a materialistic world where wealth has become the lifeline and a status symbol. It needs to change. This is the same world that had CEOs like Henry Ford who paid their employees enough so that they could buy what they make. This is the same world that has companies like Fannie Mae whose median employee salary is $93,600. And this is also the world that has companies like Walmart, not much needs to be described about this marvel of a company! You can describe wealth however you want, everyone is entitled to their opinion, or so they say. But to me, I think wealth is not entirely monetary. In economic terms we call it the difference of growth and development.
For an economy to develop “wealth” should be thought upon as the overall standard of living and not just the amount of money in the economy. “Health is wealth” goes the famous adage. And it cannot get truer. Wealth should not just mean money. You cannot enjoy just money, but you can enjoy good health, good conscience and happiness. Wealth means being content with whatever we have. But with that said, everyone deserves to have the purchasing power, famously called money, to acquire the basic amenities necessary to sustain a living. That reminds me of my favourite movie, Into the wild.