Big Hands: For You to Be Rich, It Means Someone Else Must Be Poor

In 1992 I was in 5th grade and it was in my reading class that I learned so much of the way I see economics. I remember reading this story about a boy who wished for all the money in the world. He got his wish. His entire house became completely full of cash. More money than he could ever spend. It was wonderful. But not for long. He realized that he literally had all the money in the world. That meant that no one else had any, which kinda took the fun out of the whole thing.

The most education I can really claim to have regarding finances is a micro-economics and a macro-economics class my first year of college and completing Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace program a few months ago. I don’t claim to really know much about how money really works. But here is an interesting qustion: If every person in the world had the exact same financial status, how much would everyone have? Financially speaking, which country would we all be most comparable to?

I looked up the GDP (Gross Domestic Product- indicates the size of a country’s economy) for all 191 listed countries in the world. The midway point on the list was Albania, with a GDP of $5,600. The USA was #6 on the list with $43,500. I did the math. Americans are 7.6 times richer than Albanians. We have over 7 and a half times more of everything than we should have, based on my simple ballpark math.

So in my 5th grade reading class I indirectly learned that in order to be rich, to some degree, we have to get more than our share. Because if everybody was rich, then nobody would really be rich. It’s mathematically impossible. Just like not everybody can be famous.

What’s funny to me is, so many people that I know that everybody else thinks are rich, are actually just as worried about money as everybody else. The more money a person makes, the bigger their house gets. The newer their car gets.  It doesn’t end.

I think it’s easy to tend not to take the 10th Commandment as seriously as the rest of the Commandments. “Do not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor”. It seems kind of petty at first. But not when I think about it- and realize where that can get a person, or a country.

pac man

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