Although as humans we are inundated with modern-day tales of gloom and doom, and it seems that bad news far exceeds anything good that is heard or seen, we are living in the greatest period of overall prosperity the world as a whole has ever known.
We may have lost sight of this because even though there are more millionaires and billionaires walking around, their overall numbers are weak and of small stature by a greater margin than ever, in comparison to those totals of earners of more modest means.
And you wouldn’t realize how prosperous we are based on how miserable even those I term the new wealth munchkins among us, are.
Prosperity does not always lend itself to peace or happiness, but it sure buys a lot of neat stuff. There is something to be said for the peace of mind that wealth can offer in the form of security, though, and I grant the munchkins have security over those of us with less financial clout.
For those of us able to keep it all in perspective, however, we are still able to enjoy the best life has to offer again and again.
This is because the best things in life remain what they always have been and are more attainable than ever, because most of us are in a position to make healthy, educated and correct choices for ourselves.
By opening the turbulent gates of prosperity to the relative masses, though, federal governments in both the numbers one and two economic powers, the United States and China, respectively, are feeling the need to keep close watch over our newfound wealth munchkins in both countries—the halcyon days of each country having long since passed.
Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz were adorable citizens of a make-believe land who lived in harmony with their fellow munchkins as well as their leaders, and even their enemies—they knew who was bad (the Wicked Witch of the West) and avoided interacting with these negative sorts who would harm and/or hurt themselves and others.
We are all being watched, scrutinized, audited, counted, but the wealthy are in slides under the microscope.
Is it still good to be rich? Yes and no.
If given the choice most of us wouldn’t flinch at the chance to be.
But with great wealth, comes great responsibility.
The rich will continue to pay for more of the upkeep of the masses in the form of greater taxation. They will be taxed more as private citizens. The corporations they run will face increased costs of doing business.
For the wealthy, how they measure happiness can be found in the value of their portfolios.
And for all the wealth concentration that has gone on since the dawn of the digital age, the subsequent dot bomb crash of 2000, the 2008 financial crisis and the rebuilding of the Wall Street and Goldman Sachs investment banking empires through present day, the wealthy understand that as long as everyone else has life’s basic staples, that is, they can eat, clothe themselves, have a roof over their heads and can scratch out enough of a living to pay their bills, they can remain living in harmony just like the cast in the Wizard of Oz.
The rich and powerful are in fact counting on it.
That, and the fact our attention spans have never been shorter.
Just when we are all up in arms, outraged over some issue we can’t remember 72 hours from now, mainstream media will distract us with yet another report of blight in another part of the world other than our own—we can’t own what’s not happening in our own back yards, and they get this.
What makes us happy? Are the rich and powerful more happy than anyone else?
We have the benefit of knowledge, science, technology and modern medicine to help in our quest for contentment. If we are fortunate enough to make good choices by demonstrating self-control more often than not, have love in our hearts and by extension our lives as well, we will never stop rising above munchkins of greater financial persuasion.