Friday, March 23, 2007

Who's Rich?

Who are the Rich in our society? How much of much do you have to have? Where is the cut-off between rich and middle class? See where you stack up in the Rich-O-Meter percentile.

the SEC has proposed a new definition for “accredited investor” — someone rich enough to invest in private investment pools without needing protection from government regulators. To invest in hedge funds today, investors need to have $1 million in net worth (including the value of their primary residence), or income of at least $200,000 for individuals or $300,000 for households. The SEC has proposed raising the bar, requiring investors to have $2.5 million in investible assets.

How do they get Rich? Is it all trust Funds and corruption? Surprisingly, most of America's Rich work very hard for their gains.

An interesting debate has erupted at Slate over the “leisure gap” that’s developed between the rich and poor. A recent article by University of Rochester economist Steven E. Landsburg points out that while the rich may be winning the race for income gains, they’re losing the race for leisure time. The best-educated and biggest-earning Americans stimply don’t have much time off these days.

Building wealth to them is a creative process, and the closest thing they have to fun. They’re uncomfortable hanging around the club or sitting on the beach (Several people I interviewed for my book said they’ve never sat through an entire movie, because they get bored.) Their version of “fun” or “leisure” revolves around making money and creating businesses, activities defined as “work” in most economic studies.

This is not to say that the wealthy should be pitied for their lack of leisure. On the contrary, they should be encouraged, since their work creates jobs and wealth for themselves and others. But this new generation of workaholic wealthy has dramatically changed the classic equation between money and leisure time. As my billionaire friend said after our dinner: “I’m the most relaxed when I’m working.”
This may be behind the $$$$$$$ barrier at WSJ Online. I subscribe to both the print and online versions. I enjoy the variety and challenges. I like reading stuff I didn't know, hadn't considered, wasn't curious about before it was presented... The internet for all it's wonders hasn't found a way to bring me news and information that expands my horizons -yet.

Will it do it ever? Probably not. For that we need our fellow humans to drag us reluctantly into new vistas, new ideas, new thoughts...

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