Re: virus: Rich and Poor

Rhonda Chapman (
Fri, 28 May 1999 16:25:35 -0700

I hold messages in my outbasket until I've read through the entire post. As a result, some of the questions I ask here, were addressed by Prof Tim's later message. I'm sending this anyway, because I would still like to hear more.

Friday, May 28, 1999 1:08 AM KMO wrote:

>The really rich are generally BORN really rich. The Sam Walton's of the
>are the exceptions that prove the rule. The best way to get really rich is
>have really rich parents, get a private education, be introduced to all the
>right people, grow up with the right role models and expectations for your
>future and have the wheels of success greased for you from the word, "go."

I stepped into it badly there, didn't I! Not only do I know absolutely no one in the "really rich" category, I have no clue at all who Sam Walton might be. This is typically indicative of "my window of reference". I do know who Bill Gates is and he is often touted as the richest man in America. He would be one of my examples. However, at least to some degree, your argument applies to what I have heard about his background.

I suppose I was thinking of the moderately rich. People I know or have at least met. (My attitude towards those "other" really rich, is a state of indifferent
unawareness. I'm weighing advantages/disadvantages of enlightenment in this area). The moderately rich are people who have a few million versus a few billion. Most of the population would be very happy to have a few million. That, with sufficient incentive, I think the average American can attain. I completely believe I can, if I choose to make the necessary sacrifices.

A little background here, I grew up poor (though not in abject poverty). I certainly am not from a privileged background. I'm also female. Which in many parts of the world would have left me with only one method of increasing my standard of living - through the largess of a man or men who have wealth. This idea does not appeal to me. None of what I have is luck. Nothing was every given to me. So, I know it is possible to get "ahead".

I'll be the first to admit I'm not "rich". However, aside from the fact that I still have to go to work, I now have pretty much everything I want (okay, I would like to fly first-class more often). I view my friends who have what they want, without the necessity of holding down a job, to be "rich". My view of "really rich", is people who have something more than that. That is rather obviously not your definition. As such, the basis for this discussion is already a bit slanted.

But since we've started, let's take a closer look at the way things are. You also said:
>Sure, homeboy on the street COULD do a lot better for himself if he had
>thousands of dollars to spend on high-powered large group awareness
>like you and I have done, Roni. Randy and Judy's 21st Century Leadership
>covenant would serve him well, but, having been thoroughly indoctrinated
>the values of Liberal Consumerism, there isn't much chance of him knowing
>such abstractions could serve him better than new clothes with the right
>a cell phone, and whatever other tangible consumer trophies define a person
>means and status these days.

First of all, I am not currently in any better financial position now than I was pre-Context. So, I'm gonna ignore that for the moment. I would like to address "indoctrinated with the values of Liberal Consumerism". Enlighten me. Have I been blissfully tripping along (sans cell phone and without Reboks), totally oblivious to the fact that our entire society has gotten brain-washed? Was I asleep? Is it my age? How did I NOT get caught in this deadly web that I continually hear people screaming about? I'm serious. I really don't know how people have gotten so tangled up in this meaningless crap. Until I have the answer to that underlying principal, I'll never understand this "problem" with our society. I'm a pretty hard sale if you're spewing some "victim" line. I've never been much of a believer in that. Still, I am attempting to understand.

>I think we live in a time of unprecedented opportunity, but I don't think
>is absolved of any responsibility for the fact that so many people live
>to paycheck with no health insurance or financial safety net just because a
>handful of people "make it big." That's certainly no vindication for

Well, I know people who make upwards of $200,000 a year who live paycheck to paycheck with no financial safety net. I also get told - often - that I'm "so lucky". It all tends to leave me with a rather jaundiced view. I'm just not ready to jump on the wagon of taking "responsibility" for a lot of people's bad choices. Feel free to change my mind. I just want to hear some lucid arguments and some viable solutions.