Saturday, October 18, 2014


EXCESSIVE WEALTH DISORDER It's not listed in the DSM and no one is offering to treat the condition. But none the less it is something to be concerned about.

Anyone with common sense and average intelligence knows that too much of anything is not good for you. Aristotle pointed out that "moderation in all things" is the key to healthy living.

So it is with wealth, though there are many (usually the wealthy) who will tell you different.

What seems to not be taken into account is that "excessive" wealth  directly correlates with "excessive" poverty given that we do live on a planet with limited resources. There's only so much of anything to go around; including wealth.

There are those (usually the wealthy) who would tell you that being wealthy is a good thing because wealth is the engine that drives growth that results in creating more wealth for more people;be it at a "trickle." We are reassured that "there are no have-nots, but only haves and soon to haves." Who can argue with that when it's put that way?

When someone does make a fuss by pointing out that poverty is a result of too much wealth going to too few people the retort is usually quoting Jesus who said  "the poor will always be with us" and they leave out the part about, "but love them as you would your self."  They also fail to mention that Jesus gave fair warning to those that ignored their brothers; telling them that they had a worse chance of getting into heaven than a camel passing through the eye of a needle.

It's reasonable to surmise that Jesus was sending a message, acknowledging that even though poverty wasn't going to go away the wealthy had a responsibility to care for those afflicted by it so that neither condition would grow to be excessive.

Granted; wealth and poverty will always be with us. There's no doubt that societies are constructed on a continuum that allows for both. It's only when they are in excess that both wealth and poverty destroy the foundation that a civil society is built on.

Being excessively wealthy is much like being morbidly obese.  It's not healthy. Like weight it can be measured in terms of volume whereas a morbidly obese person eats just for the sake of eating, an excessively wealthy person consumes, wastes or hoards just for the sake of consuming, wasting and hoarding. There is no rational reason other than they can.

For example, a large number of excessively wealthy people behave irrationally when it comes to owning simple things used in everyday living. Take owning a wristwatch, for example. Even the most advanced (the iWatch) costs around $500.00; something that not everyone can afford but ready made for a wealthy consumer.

So, how does one explain why someone would spend as much as a $100,000.00 (or more) on a wristwatch that does nothing more than tell time?  Or $5.00 on an "purified"ice cube? Or $150 million on a home with a 100 car garage, 20 bathrooms, an a bowling alley.

Neither obesity or excessive wealth is rational. In the case of weight it is easily defined as a disorder, dysfunctional, and unhealthy. Yet, when it comes to wealth it is praised, glorified, and touted as a sign of success.

Simply put, it's excessive, irrational and bordering on crazy. It is a psychological disorder that left untreated seriously damages the society as witnessed by conditions now being described as "income inequality."

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a speech on the subject on Friday, that she is“greatly concerned by the extent, and continuing increase, of wealth inequality in the United States.”, noting the “significant income and wealth gains for those at the very top, and stagnant living standards for the majority.”

She is echoing economists’ growing concerns of recent years.

The statistics are shocking. A 2012 academic study by NYU economist Edward N. Wolff, ‘The Asset Price Meltdown and the Wealth of the Middle Class’,revealed that the richest 5% of Americans hold 88.9% of the nation’s wealth. A study by European Central Bank economists estimates that just the richest 1% of Americans control 35% of the wealth.

She suggested in a detailed speech on the politically charged issue that Americans should ask whether it was compatible with U.S. values.

With global financial markets coming off a few days of frenzied selling, Yellen did not comment on the volatility or on monetary policy. Instead she focused on the gulf between rich and poor that has only grown wider over the last several decades and, she said, through the U.S. economic recovery.

"The extent of and continuing increase in inequality in the United States greatly concern me," Yellen told a conference on inequality at the Boston branch of the central bank.

"It is no secret that the past few decades of widening inequality can be summed up as significant income and wealth gains for those at the very top and stagnant living standards for the majority," she said in prepared remarks.

"I think it is appropriate to ask whether this trend is compatible with values rooted in our nation's history, among them the high value Americans have traditionally placed on equality of opportunity."