Too Much Money Is Bad For You
By Steve The Philosophist
If you've lived a life of struggle, you probably already appreciate the message I am sending here. However, as much as I will appreciate high fives in confirmation that we are not the only ones who think these things, the message will be lost if I don't get through to those with money and power who really need to hear it.
So, if you are a person of wealth, if you have had little to no financial struggles in life, or if you aim for a life of wealth without ever looking back to those who struggled as hard as you once did, then HI!... There's something we need to talk about...
My Claim: There exists an amount of wealth where having any more wealth will be a detriment to the overall wellbeing of the owner of that wealth.
The big picture view of this claim starts with considering an extreme. Imagine all of the wealth that exists in the world, every mutual fund, every business, every bond, every antique, every dollar, all of it. Imagine if, today, all property became your property. It's all yours, every penny. Also imagine that everyone in the world agreed to this willingly. No one will steal this wealth from you. What happens to the economy next?
Think about it and write your response down or post it to the comments below before reading further.
What will happen to the economy if this were the case? Essentially you'll have all the wealth that existed yesterday, but what's it's realized value today? If no one can trade you for it, then it's value becomes effectively zero. The economy will come to a halt and become nonexistent.
What Is The Economy?
Economy is a phenomena of actions. It is not the value that trades hands. It's not the people whose hands are trading value. It's not even the collective imagination of what constitutes as valuable. Economics is the collective actions of trading value between people. If no value is trading hands, then there is no economy. People might effectively barter you for their services, but the best that you could hope for if you suddenly owned everything is a severely sluggish and unproductive process. No one would really be motivated to recognize the value of the money you owned.
"Ok," you say? "So, what? You can't benefit from all the wealth? What about just having a lot of it, or more than anyone else?" Does that make you feel good? Aspiring to be King of the Hill? Is the dopamine hit to your brain when you get money just your healthy competitive spirit in action?
Ok, but do you want any stuff that is valuable to you beyond that feeling of victory? Like, for example, if you took candy from a baby, not saying that you actually would, but say if you did and it felt great just to take it. Are you looking to spend your life just taking candy from babies at the expense of never eating a healthy meal that isn't baby candy? Where do you draw that line?
IOW, what is the thrill value of competition to you if it actually means hindering your wellbeing in the end as a result? Or what if you end up with less because you choose to win the wrong fight? Say you won a competition that earned you first place with a prize of $100, when you could have entered a competition of the same difficulty with the same number of competitors where the top 10 got $100 and first place got $5000? What does your competitive spirit tell you then? Did you win, or did you ignore a real opportunity like a dope?
Your Health And My Health are Linked
Universal healthcare is something that the struggling poor in the US clearly value and wish for. Meanwhile, people in the middle class and above might object, "How will we ever pay for it?!?!" I'm not gonna lie. YOU are gonna pay for SOMEONE IN NEED to get healthcare if we pass a real universal healthcare bill. Straight up, that's how it will have to go. Right out of your taxes.
Let's take a look at the wealth thought experiment above in terms of healthcare. What would happen if you, or even just you and everyone wealthier than you were the only people to have healthcare?
Have you ever worried about a contagious disease? As I write this, there's yet another pathogen in the news which, again, spawned from China. There's a little thing we learn in biology called herd immunity. It's the idea that if most people around you are immune to a contagious disease, but you are weak to it, you stand a far better chance of never contracting the disease because of those around you who are immune.
The mechanism of herd immunity extends to all forms of healthcare that is preventative and contagious. Our flu vaccines, washing our hands, and covering our mouths when we cough or sneeze, those actions reduce everyone's, including your chances of getting sick. Fist bumping instead of shaking hands would also improve our overall herd immunity, but I digress.
If poor people the world over had free access to clean disease-free water, that alone would effectively lower the chance that you or someone you care about could catch a contagious disease. Herd immunity via universal healthcare is the most effective way we have to prevent the next black plague that confronts the human race. You know, that trait that means you're still pretty similar to all those you look down on? Your humanity? You are human. You do at least believe you are still human, right?
So, how much money do you need to afford the herd immunity achievement? Call it "The Optimized Global Herd Immunity" badge. I know there are people of wealth, such as President Jimmy Carter, who have this idea in mind as they focus on one major disease at a time. Eradicating a disease is epic! Seriously, I'm not gonna downplay that move at all. When you push for herd immunity via universal healthcare, it's the same motive. You just fight ALL contagious diseases at once rather than one at a time.
Medical Advancements Require Test Subjects
If you are among a selective few to receive healthcare, who do you think will be the guinea pigs to test any new health advancements? The guinea pig for new treatments will likely be [drum roll]... YOU! Scientists need data, lots and lots of it, to determine what medical treatments are working. The fewer people who have healthcare, the less chance there is that your particular circumstance will be experienced by another and recorded before you have to go through it. You'll be the first and therefore the most likely to win the lottery of just-sit-and-die while the doctors try to save future victims by observing you. If, however, you are among 7 billion humans with healthcare, in that reality you have a much smaller chance of being close to critical before that test for the medication that MIGHT extend your life has to be tried on YOU for the first time ever. Universal healthcare means universal data and increased medical advancements to further advance YOUR healthcare needs.
A Greater Than Zero Chance To Live Forever
This next point is a bit futurist, but hear me out. Current science understands a lot about why we age. Current science looks to extend human life and has a very realistic potential for achieving immortality within YOUR lifetime. Seriously, even boomers stand a good chance. Putting overpopulation and spiritual concerns aside, ask yourself, do you want to live and be reasonably happy for eternity if it's possible to do so? If not, eh. Nevermind. You cra-cra. We can talk more about it later.
Otherwise, educating the masses, or at least those who have the interest and potential to solve those problems are your only hope to live. You can't optimally educate someone if they are stuck with the stupid problems of poverty, including having no healthcare.
Take me for example. I have been interested in being a scientist forever. Only now at the age of 38 have I been given an opportunity to complete my degree so that I can qualify for an entry-level role in a lab. Plenty of medical issues held me back. I spent my entire childhood, for example, squinting at the board and sitting in the front of the class until the age of 17 when I got glasses for the first time. Now, I want to work in a thankless job of research for the rest of my life in the field of neuroengineering. If ANYONE is competing with me for that job, there’s not enough jobs! You need to throw your money at that! I’d be helping you tap into the internet with your brain one day if you’d just let me.
Worthy Are The Meek
By not giving up that money in your taxes for healthcare, even if you are a CEO of a healthcare insurance company, you are putting yourself and those you care about at risk by hanging on to all of that money at the expense of others wellbeing.
The effect might hurt you a small amount from where you are today, but compared to what you could have been, the difference is crippling. The wellbeing of everyone else is always connected to your wellbeing. A selfish fool claims a schizophrenic's mental illness is not their problem, while a self-serving rationalist will know that they stand less of a chance of being attacked in public by someone suffering from a hallucinogenic fit if we had mental health clinics that every person suffering from schizophrenia could be placed in to stabilize them and heal those who are capable of living functional lives in society.
Seriously, when you look at a homeless person with an obvious mental health issue, ask yourself, are YOU better off with them being homeless in the streets, or are you better off with them being medically treated?
If you can't see that you are, then your disconnect is more than just a competitive spirit. Perhaps you are just an undisciplined sadist who chooses to harm on a large scale without the consent of others. Or maybe a giant toddler who conveniently demands everything for yourself and nothing for anyone else, calling it "the principle of the thing."
Most wealthy and well off people aren't suffering from any such personality disorders. Most of are just going through the cognitive dissonance of accepting the status quo because they haven't been negatively affected by it in an obvious enough way.
All of us can either rise above our own egoistic nature and be honest with ourselves or continue to bleed as we leave others around us no choice but to see us as the enemy. Do not sooner bulldoze a hill, than to allow yourself to not be king of it. Take the cooperative strategy now and work in everyone's best interests before it’s too late.