Rich people do not "care about money" more than poor (or not wealthy) people do

Recent political developments revived debates of inequality and how "the rich are getting richer" and in those discussions a fundamental point of difference has been completely missed which is that rich people do not care about money more than people who have less of it.

Or to put it differently, once one achieves a certain level of wealth, the concerns of money in terms of making more of it become a much lesser relative concern than they were when they had little and had to "put food on the table".

This makes so much sense and yet it is widely accepted that the opposite is true - that a Billionaire will be focused on money more so than somebody who is short rent money this month. And where it gets really off the rails is in the implication that somehow, in terms of their behaviour, wealthy people will be willing to compromise morals, ethics and even the law in order to "get more money" and do so more readily than poor people.

The unexamined and unspoken assumption underlying this is that wealthy people had inferior morals and ethics to begin with and became wealthy because they "cared more about money" and were motivated by money alone more than the average folk. That assumption is plain wrong and not supported by facts, research or common sense.

While there is a lot of "research" on exactly how wealthy the wealthy are, there is much less or no research on how they got there. I will in the absence of such research argue that, excluding inheritance, more often than not, wealthy people have worked very hard, excelled at what they did and came up with innovations or business models that made them wealthy as a result. They were probably very successful in school and excel today in leadership of their local Boy Scouts organization and not just in "making money".

This fallacy is so prevalent that is accepted as a widely known "truth" - the wealthy are just different than us. They probably are by definition because 1% is different than 99% but they are not so in their single minded focus on making more money. More likely it is their pursuit of excellence in everything that sets them apart. And to some degree innate ability.

And the final glaring inconsistency is that on individual basis people are willing to give benefit of the doubt to Billionaires such as Bloomberg, Warren Buffett or Bill Gates and accept that they as individuals are not motivated simply by more money. But, this does not alter at all the overwhelming mistaken belief. The fact that the very richest of the rich are not like that as individuals still does not change people's opinion of what the rich are like. How does that make any sense.


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