Every year, Forbes magazine lists the world’s billionaires. Last year there were 793 billionaires whose net worth was $2.6 trillion. The top 10 have a net worth of $275.4 billion. These people include Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Paul Allen. Bill Gates is, of course, the richest man, with a net worth of $50 billion.
Whenever I see this list, I think to myself, “What would I do with $50 billion?” Right now I can’t even imagine myself with $500, much less $50 billion. I have $66 in my bank account, am behind two months on my car payments and have no steady income. But I lead a decent life.
I don’t think that anybody needs to have that much money. There aren’t enough days in a lifetime to be able to spend billions of dollars. Nobody needs to have the amount of stuff that billions of dollars can buy. It almost seems unfair for such a small group of people to have so much money, while so many live in poverty.
I understand that these people have worked hard for the money they earned, and they should enjoy the benefits of it, but it is also important to remember that the most is expected from the people who have the most.
Now some of these people on the list are using their money to help others. Bill Gates is doing work with AIDS in Africa. The Walton family, who are numbers 17-21 on the list for a combined worth of $78.9 billion, sponsor many programs to help the needy through their company Wal-Mart.
You could also say that Bill Gates has a monopoly in the computer software market. Wal-Mart is the most successful business in the world, but it doesn’t provide its employees with a health insurance policy. Maybe they could take a portion of that $78.9 billion net worth and use it to pay for the health insurance.
In the book “The 2% Solution,” Matt Miller proposes that we could fix the problems in this country for $220 billion a year. Miller states that “we could have a country where everyone had health insurance, every full-time worker earned a living wage, every poor child had a great teacher in a fixed-up school, and politicians spent their time with average Americans because they no longer has to grovel to wealthy donors.”
$220 billion is only 11.8 percent of the $2.6 trillion that these 793 people are worth. I’m not saying that they should pay for the nation’s or the world’s problems, or that Miller’s solutions are the best choice, but that does put it into perspective.
It’s great to be successful and make money to provide for yourself and your loved ones, but it can get to a point where it’s excessive. I would find it hard to go out and buy my sixth special edition, one-of-a-kind car when there are 13 million children who go hungry every day in the United States. I don’t know how I would justify owning the same purse in all 40 colors when 2.8 billion people live on just $2 a day.
Go ahead, treat yourself to things, but remember that a life full of giving will be more fulfilling than a life full of getting.
Posted to the web by Shane Evans