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What Does Wealth Mean to Me?
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[0호] 승인 2009.03.11  
트위터 페이스북 네이버 구글
Today, we’re living in a world where economic values only are considered a priority. People around me always talk about how they’re going to earn more money and get better off with their lives. And also, it is the craze among young college students to play the market and get out of it before the value of what they bought crashes down.

No doubt that this kind of short-term investment more or less causes massive, dangerous fluctuation in the financial market, but none of them cares because the only thing they really care about is whether the money safely lands on their hands or not. The point here anyway is that people are just too much more obsessed with how they can get richer themselves than how they can be more spiritual and helpful for their neighbors.

What’s the result of such selfishness? As everyone knows all too well, it’s the barren society in which there’s a lack of trust, consideration, collaboration, and most significantly, love. That’s to say, a space where as far as a human touch is concerned, everything’s gone. (But I want to put some emphasis on ‘a lack of’ because I too know that there’s still awareness and recognition out there that the way the world goes on needs to be fixed.

It’s not as we human beings are doomed. I’m a bit hopeful there’re still a number of good people trying to make things right.) What’s the root of it and how did we people end up coping with this tragic and devastating reality? To answer it, I think we have to go all the way back to those days when a concept of ‘the property right’ began to emerge on the surface of history.

‘The property right’ appeared during those days when the emperors of the kingdoms started getting anxious about how they could stay in power by overcoming significant challenges put forth by other rivals - other powerful kingdoms -. And what they came up with as a solution was to give an impulse to industrial activities by guaranteeing capitalists ‘the right to own property’, in return, enabling the emperors to organize stronger armies which were quite essential for both the defense of the borders and the violent suppression of the people, most of whom were laborers.

And, from my own perspective, the concept that what you own belongs to yourself only is a bit absurd. The reason is that because every single capital and goods is the result of community, not a single man or organization. People used to often share what they produced with their neighbors before ‘the property right’ was protected by law. The point I’m trying to make here is not that ‘the property right’ has to be all gone, but that there needs to be some reformation on how people perceive it, for it’s not as sacred as it’s been thought to be.

So if what’s written above is the case, what in the world does wealth mean to me? From my understanding, it’s just a tool or a good vehicle of which I can take advantage when helping others. There’re so many poor and alienated people in our society that you cannot just go, “Well, they go that way because they were not dedicated enough to their lives. It’s their faults.”

It’s not true. You should not forget that you’re driving that fancy car at the expense of others. Do you really think you have all that advantage in life because you work harder and do something worth more than what others do? Think about it again. It’s not going to take longer than you thought to figure out that it’s the outcome of the social structure, rather than of your own.

It didn’t at least for me and from the moment I figured that out on, the single most important thing in my life has become people. They’re what define me, and I can find the real meaning of everything that I value most only from them. For example, what’s the freedom supposed to mean when there’re no others putting some limitations on whatever you want to do?

In conclusion, I’ll put this very simple. Wealth to me is nothing more than what I owe to others. It’s something I have to give back to the society from which I gained wealth. And it’s crystal clear when this kind of notion spreads out among more of us the world is going to be a better place for our next generations.
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