In our last blog, I talked about how to achieve true happiness and sustainable success from helping others. I also made it clear that we will likely not feel inclined to help them until we are connected to a higher power. Why? Because the superintelligence that runs the universe uses an operating system based on cooperation, not competition. It is automatic and fixed. For example, our bodies contain an estimated 10,000 unique microbial species totaling more than 30 trillion cells. Somehow, incredibly, they all get along and help each other out, 24/7. If they can do it, we can do it.
I had to hit rock bottom before I stopped trying to play God, surrendered to that Higher Power, and began reaping the amazing benefits of humility, personally, and in my business—including a huge boost to my ultimate plan. in our book, The success paradox My co-author Will T. Wilkinson and I tell the story of how it all happened. In this blog, I want to offer a completely different perspective on “wealth”.
The pandemic has caused unprecedented hardship for many of us, especially financially. But not for the rich. The ten richest men in the world more than doubled their fortunes from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion — at a rate of $15,000 per second or $1.3 billion per day — during the first two years of a pandemic that saw the incomes of 99 percent of humanity and more than 160 percent plummet. Millions of people forced into poverty.
“If these 10 men lost 99.999 percent of their wealth tomorrow, they would still be richer than 99 percent of all people on the planet,” said Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International.
Many super rich people start their own foundations and donate money. But they themselves remain financially inflated, often profiting from their “investments”. Meanwhile, there are dozens of industrious people and worthwhile projects that could literally transform society if only they had the funding.
Imagine if 1% of the cells in our bodies store resources like the super rich do? We will be sick. Well, society He is Sick, the mental illness epidemic is just one indicator of a broken heart.
According to a January 2023 CBS News article by Amy Picchi, “In the past decade, the richest 1% of Americans have seen their wealth grow 19 times faster than the bottom half of the population. On a dollar basis, that means $37 in every 100 $2 has gone to the top 1%, while the bottom 50% have $2… The United States has about 64,500 people with a fortune of over $50 million and 728 billionaires…”
If the wealthy were not inclined to share more of their wealth, perhaps we could. Some of us have a little extra money. How about reaching out to organizations like Kiva.org, a leading microlending company? They have loaned over $1.6 billion from 1.7 million lenders to borrowers in 77 countries with a repayment rate of 96%. These microcredits are made by ordinary people, not primarily to make money but to create social wealth.
The sanctity of profiteering is often justified by reference to Adam Smith, the alleged father of laissez-faire capitalism. But Smith was fundamentally misunderstood. As Deborah Bokoyannis, assistant professor in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics at the University of Virginia, explained: “Smith believed that high profits were indicative of economic ills. The rate of profit, he said, was “always highest in the countries that deteriorate the fastest.”
Earnings are essential to growth and to personal, institutional and cultural health. But accumulation is not the primary measure of true success. And true wealth includes much more than money, as I discovered, such as a loving family, personal health, and a sense of meaning and purpose, having a calling in my life.
Let us share the wealth, not because we are “good people” or think we should, but because we begin to do what life does everywhere except in civilized society. Throughout a universe of immeasurable complexity and in our bodies, which are teeming with trillions of tiny organisms, free sharing of resources is the rule and order (success) reigns. Let’s go with the program!