Fresh Quotes for JUNE: Rich and Poor

Nobody knows you when you’re down and out

**Jimmie Cox  1923 (song)**

“Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime”

**Aristotle ( 384 B.C.)**

“With the greater part of rich people, the chief enjoyment 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 ( 1776)**

“YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO SKINNY OR TOO RICH.”

**Barbara Paley (Socialite) 1915-1978**

“If the rich could hire others to die for them, the poor could make a nice living.”

**Yiddish Saying**

“The art of becoming rich…is not absolutely nor finally the art of accumulating much money for ourselves, but also of contriving that our neighbors should have less. In accurate terms, it is the art of establishing the maximum inequality in our own favor.”

**John Ruskin (1860)**

Homeless Veteran on the streets of Boston, MA

Homeless Veteran on the streets of Boston, MA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“A POOR MAN IS DESPISED THE WHOLE WORLD OVER.”

**Jerome K. Jerome (1892)**

Disparity of rich and poor in Rio de Janeiro

Disparity of rich and poor in Rio de Janeiro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“So long as all the increased wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great fortunes to increase luxury and make sharper the contrast between the house of have and the house of want, progress is not real and cannot be permanent.”

**Henry George (1879)**

… just a little food for thought…

Strawberryindigo.

Money is a harsh mistress.

Lincoln memorial cent, with the S mintmark of ...

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MONEY.  Songs are written about it.  Lives and reputations lost because of it.  Some say the love of money is the root of all evil, but is it?

 Can anyone truly love money and is that truly evil? It’s dirty, that I know. My mom wouldn’t let me put it in my mouth as a child..”It’s dirty”, she said.  Damn right, it’s dirty and it gets around. Your average quarter, or nickel or dime probably travels through quite a few pockets and grubby unwashed hands before ending up neglected sitting alone in a change jar on someone’s dresser top or in your average toddlers mouth. How can you love that? Or those colorful but mostly green pieces of paper that spew out of the ATM? Those things with the pictures of dead presidents and the like with the phrase

 In God We Trust 

I can tell you one thing for sure; no matter how I personally feel about it, money certainly does not love me…

..And can anyone truly love it? And if so, is that evil?

Money

Money (Photo credit: 401K)

Definitely money can buy things. Stuff. Mostly crap we pretend we need because we just want to buy something new…shiny.. and expensive, but  it’s difficult to have regal tastes on a paupers budget and these days more and more people are finding themselves with a cash flow problem…meaning it doesn’t…flow.

Our heads get crammed full of things they say we need.  China makes it. The media sells it.  The banks provide credit, or at least they once did. And people suck it up like crazy.  Very few invest or save.  It’s nearly impossible not to be in debt these days.

 The youth are our future

It falls heavy on the children of those with fewer resources. Too often the only way to higher education is for these young people just starting out in life, to take out  student loans on the promise and the hope, really, that a future career with a good salary will be worth the large amount of debt they will accrue.  I don’t have to tell anyone how well  many new grads are fairing. Jobs are scarce these days.  It’s  no wonder why so many younger adults are so angry and so full of extra time to express their frustrations.

Money is a great cause of worry to many, myself included.   Money buys security and so it stands to reason that a lack of money buys insecurity  Money affords safety.  A roof over one’s head, electricity and a full refrigerator.  A current income increases your likelihood of not being thrown out into the street and forced to live under the bridge.  Money means comfort and ease and nice things.  Money means your child will be able to go to a good school and you will have a nice car.  Enough money means anything you want.  Want to travel the world? Wear designer clothes and have all the bright new shiny things and big kid toys you can find?  Want to be looked up to?  Admired? Listened to? After all, money does buy influence and power. Sufficient funds can put your name on a sports stadium or hospital wing. How about public office?  Money certainly buys that.

Money can buy anything. It can buy friends or at least the semblance of them.  It can buy what some may proclaim as love or some sort of affection.   It can buy hangers-on and toadies and users.

English: Imitation paper money (issued by &quo...

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The 99%

Money can buy power and privilege. Money can insulate if one allows it  and money does buy exclusiveness. The chosen few ride first class while most of us ride in coach with the rest of the 99%.  Money makes the world go round but it can also make one lose touch with what is important. Sometimes people see money as an indicator of the worth of a person; the measure of a man so to speak. It’s a widely held misconception among the rich that poor people somehow deserve their plight and that poverty is the result of bad breeding and idleness.

 Oscar Wilde once said: “There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor. The poor can think of nothing else.”  How true.  If the credit hounds are at your back door or the balance of your bank account doesn’t remind you, the hard edge of the sidewalk will.

People are emotional about money.  This I have seen many times in my work in the financial industry. People make rash and important money decisions based solely on emotion.  That is never good. Numbers are not emotional. Interest is not emotional. Life is not fair and you better read the fine print.

Money is a harsh mistress…

Money can change people and our perceptions of them.   People fight over it, they lie, cheat and steal.   It can ruin friendships, relationships, marriages too.  I guess one could say that some sell their very souls for money. But does it buy happiness?

Can it buy love, real love?  Or real friends? Or real anything?  Can money really buy anything but things? Can money buy appreciation? Or humbleness? Or the depth of intelligence? Can money buy good taste or good sense? Or creativity, innovation or ideas?

Can riches buy respect?  Can the possession of things make one person better than another? More worthy?

Or does a measure of a man, or a woman lie not in monetary worth but in human worth?  In decency and respect for life.  In love for one’s fellow human. That’s the love affair that should be going on and the one we should be talking about.  For it’s not the money; it’s the person behind the money.  It’s the heart and the soul of that person.

  In the right hands money is a powerful tool that can be used for the benefit of us all.

Being wealthy doesn’t automatically make one evil or an uncaring, unsympathetic selfish jerk and wallowing in poverty doesn’t make anyone a saint either. It’s easy to judge and it’s easy to expect those who can most afford to pay for those who can’t.   It is also easy to see why the rich might not see it that way. Nothing is all black and white.

So what am I trying to say with all this? I suppose it would be that perhaps we should be aware about what we teach our youth about money, about the value of money and the value of a human life and which holds the most worth. No one is born with a love for money and we as a people, I hope, can progress to a point where we can get over this bad love affair with money. There is a good reason why it goes by the alias.

Cold hard cash.


We are all connected

We humans of the planet Earth are all in this together. What affects one of us affects us all. How we treat each other and what we value shows what kind of people we are.  It’s a small world and it gets smaller everyday.  We are all connected,  rich and poor alike. And all of us will have to do our part if we are to ensure a better world for all.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

Strawberryindigo.

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Sign of the Times

Great Depression: man dressed in worn coat lyi...

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Here I am sitting at this cheap plastic ash ridden table in front of my local chain supermarket.  I am writing in one of my famous spiral notebooks and drinking a grande black coffee while people watching.  This is, believe it or not, the perfect place for such an endeavor.

This is not my usual hangout, nor is it likely I will return. I’m growing fond of going to such strange but typical places to write.  At these places I can soak up the atmosphere and get a taste of a new perspective I wouldn’t have had otherwise. 

All sorts of people have been passing through the double doors to my right; a cross-section of humankind.  We are all different but we have much in common, like our need for food, and food shopping and how this damn economy is screwing us.

..and as a certain Mr. Dylan said…”..the times they are a-changin’…” 

 They see it, I see it.  It’s all around.  It’s the sign of the times and the signs are showing…more trash in the streets and buildings and streets in disrepair, the forlorn empty businesses, the foreclosed homes…..the homeless.  The face of homelessness is changing in our country. 

Before this economic doom and gloom, the homeless were usually people with severe emotional problems such as mental illness or drug and alcohol abuse.  Now there are families under the proverbial bridge, children, elderly.  People like you and I.  It seems wave after wave of hardships hit the beach.  All you can do is hang on and hope for the best.

I see the signs of high unemployment in the streets, in the parks, the railway station.  Everywhere.  Groups of young men in their twenties roaming around with backpacks and bedrolls.  They are short on opportunity and short on money, everything but time.

I see people with suitcases, your average American, huddled in corners with looks of bewilderment.  Some fall asleep sitting up at bus stops, all their belongings held tight against them, sheltering them from the chill night air.

This is the new face of homelessness. 

I see them, all these poor people trying to blend in, trying to not look homeless.   And what about the people two steps away from it?  

I could easily be one of them and it scares the hell out of me.

I intended this post to be a rant type post because when I started writing it, I was mad as hell.  Angry with our government, with corporate greed and just plain old-fashioned human stupidity.  I still am just as angry, but now upon reflection, I find that I am more afraid than anything else.

Afraid of what the future may bring, afraid of the dark unknown.  I think many people are afraid of the same things and this economy and the state of this crazy world have people white-knuckled terrified.

We were all brought up on tales of “The Great Depression.”  Pictures of Dust-bowl Oakies with dirty faces and vacant stares haunt the pages of old schoolbooks in my memory. We were taught to fear depressions, recessions and bank collapses…..

….It’s the sign of the times and here we are again and how it can ever get back to “normal” is beyond me. 

..so for now I’ll sit awhile and enjoy my coffee. Then appreciate the hell out of everything I can and hold on for dear life.

Wishing you blue skies

Strawberryindigo.