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‘Poverty and extravagance’

July 14, 2012


THIS is with reference to the letter ‘Poverty and extravagance’ (June 28). In 1923, eight of the wealthiest people in the world, who knew how to make a living, met. Their estimated combined wealth exceeded the wealth of the United States government.

But 25 years later the president of the largest steel company, Charles Schwab, died bankrupt; the president of the largest gas company, Howard Hubson, went insane; one of the greatest commodity traders, Arthur Cutton, died insolvent; the president of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Whitney, was sent to jail.

A member of the president’s cabinet, Albert Fall, was pardoned from jail, while the greatest ‘bear’ on Wall Street, Jessie Livermore, the president of the world’s greatest monopoly, Ivar Krueger, and the president of the Bank of International Settlement, Leon Fraser, committed suicide.

Where did they go wrong? They most certainly made lots of money. In fact, they knew how to make a living better than they knew how to live a life.

Money provides comfort and status, food for the hungry, medicine for the sick, clothes for the needy and shelter for the homeless. Yet it is only a medium of exchange.

Our education system needs to impart two kinds of education. One that teaches us the skills for earning a living and one that teaches us values on how to live life, free from the entrapment of chasing after an illusion of happiness.

Many people are so involved in that chase that they neglect health, family, social responsibilities, the environment and moments of real deep fresh breathing.

They don’t have the time for their children. Twenty years later they will turn back and find them gone, busy in their own lives. Same goes for our health, dreams and purpose in life.

The ship needs water. It cannot move without water, yet if the water gets into the ship it will face problems and possibly sink. Similarly, earning money is a necessity but we must not let the need to earn dominate our lives, for what was once a means of living will become a heavy chain, an entrapment and a means of destruction.

So take a moment and ask yourself, ‘has the water entered my ship?’