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Rich Man, Poor Man
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There is neither virtue nor dishonor in being poor. An impecunious situation does not necessarily mean that a person is lazy or ignorant or immoral (though our Puritan founding fathers left us just that urban myth in our collective unconscious). Conversely, being rich is not tantamount to being hardworking, well informed or virtuous.

And being a celebrity ain't hardly nothing at all.

If a person has more money than he needs for comfortable living, retirement, food, clothing and shelter, recreation (read: books), then he holds his surplus in trust for current and future generations, for their benefit. He should use his extra resources to help others. Not to give them a free ride, but to make the world a better place for plants,humans and other animals to inhabit. To give people the opportunities and support they need for life, liberty and the pursuit of whatever.

Several possibilities come to mind: establish institutions of learning, commissions to protect the planet's natural resources, medical facilities, food banks, and so on.

After all, just how many mansions, yachts and diamonds does a person need? What he *needs* is a flourishing culture, a healthy planet, and a well-educated society just as much, if not more, and only the wealthy have the resources to make a major positive impact.

On a more personal level, in the past I have been in the position of being in desperate need and have been given shelter. When I asked if I could pay for it when my economic situation improved, I was told to pass it on to someone, someday, who would need help from me. I like that idea: give help when possible, ask the person to pass it on. It's amazing how often I've been able to share what I have--even in the tough times, I have a spare bedroom and food beyond my own needs.

One does not need to be wealthy to help others, to make the world a better place. It is my belief that each of us has the ethical obligation to support and assist one another, and if we are the ones in a time of need, to receive with gratitude and pay it forward when the wheel turns and there is enough to share out once again.

And not just during December.

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