You are on page 1of 4

5NO One thing explains why some makes vast fortunes- and others do not.

----------------Vinaya Kant Naithani----------
You have heard about the extraordinary wealth of Bill Gates,JP Morgan,and the Sultan of
Brunei,but have you ever heard of Mansa Musa,
one of the richest man who ever lived.
Mansa Musa was an African King who died more than 650 years ago ,but he shared more
than you moght imagine with Gates,morgan and
the Sultan.All four built ostentatiously fabulous homes for themselves ,all employed
ligions of retainers, and all injoyed a knack for using
wealth to create more wealth.
There are diffrences,of course.Mansa Musa executed anyone who sneezed in his
presence.But in one important way,the four are more alike
than diffrent.They became rich on a scale attained by few in history.
Let's call them millionaires and bellionaires,although before currency was used
widely,such words were meaningless.Only in the past few
centuries has mellions units of local currency become the threshold of exceptional wealth
,and before the late 20th century,millionaires were
as rare as barons.Yet -wealth along with its oposite ,poverty---has long been part of the
human tapestry.Throughout history,some people have
used strength ,imagination and luck to amass greater surpluses then their
contemporaries.No one secret explains their success -each wealthy
person's blueprint is unique.
If there were league of millionaires dating back to 1000,most of early members would be
royalty or men who excelled at combat.Mahmud of
Ghazni was both.He lived at a time when most of the world was still poor..Its inhabitants
toiling ceaselessly just to stay warm and nourished.
Wealth was largely a zero -sum game in Mahmud's era--the turn of first millennium---and
man with an army became rich by appropriating
other people's possessions.It was dangerous work.Costing human lives, but it was one of
only few possible paths to great fortune.
Beginning in about 1000,the circle of wealth started to widen.As agricultural socities
began producing surpluses and the world's populations
slowly grew ,it became possible for the conquerors such as Genghis Khan in the 12th
century to move beyond simple robbery and begin taxing
the conquered people--in other words ,securing a steady stream of wealth rather than
relying upon thye irregular acquisition of booty.With their
broad and absolute power,Genghis Khan and some other early despots actually made the
world safer for wealth creation by imposing order
an embryonic transportations and communication systems.with the steady expansion of
trade,people could become wealthy as shippers,bankers,
inventors and investors as well as pirates,swindlers and drug dealers.
Archaeologists of the future may someday call the second millennium the money
age.The social changes wrought by the steady
creation of wealth transformed the world so profoundly that humans on either end of the
second millennium could almost be considered two
diffrent spices.A thousand years ago ,luxery meant having a coat long enough to cover
one's knees and more than one drinking cup to a family.
today it means a $10,000 watch box in which to store a $250,000 watch.a thousand years
ago,the everage peasant scrimped and scraped to pay
the burial expenses for when he or she died ,probably at an early age.By the end of same
mellinium,a person could buy a $ one lottery ticket,
randomly choose six numbers, and become a multimillionaire.
A simple and enduring truth about wealth is that money begets money.There are
occasional exceptions-one was Andrew Carnegie,who washed up
on America's shore with nothing but pocket full of gumption yet became the wealthiest
men in America.But the vast majority of the millionaires,
from Mansa Musa to Bill Gates got a head start from their parents or grand parents, even it
was just a good plot of land or some sturdy weapons.
Mansa Musa, for example, inherited a small African kingdom through which one of the
world's great trade routes passed.Neither producer nor inventor,Mansa Musa was an
early broker.greasins the wheels of incultural trade.he created wealth by making it
possible for others to buy and sell.For him political or religious considerations were
secondary to the business of business.
many children of fortune have dipersed their money rather than increased it. Cosimo de
Medici's son Piero frittered away a big hunk of his Italian dynasty's riches while earning
the sobriquet"il Gottoso" (the gouty one)".The famously weird American millionaire Doris
Duke,heriss to $ 300 million of tobacco profits,once gave a coming -out party for two pet
camels.Tommy Manville, who was bankrolled by the Jhons Manville carporate fortune,
married 13 times and was nicknamed by a Newsmagzine" The patron saint of chorous
Regardless of how they assembled their fortunes,the millionaires of second millennium
were men and women who harnessed great ditermination to their pursuit of wealth.The
fact that something had never been done before was a goad, not a halter to these
people .Each of them understood that accumulating great wealth entailed capturing a
fraction of the property or production of other people:The plunderer stole ; the monarch
texed;the bureaucrat intercepeted the flow of taxes to and from the state;the landlord
rented the land that other farmed;the merchant took
profit when buying and selling goods.The fact that there are so many ways to become
wealthy have always been distinguished by their resolve.Self centerd anf often inept in
personal realationships,they were driven by a beast that never seems content,no matter
how much they acquire.
If the wealthy of the past thousand years share one bit of knowledge, it's that money buy
possessions far more valuable than big houses and old wine.Rich people also know
money also helps satisfy their appetites for power ,status,or love-the surplus value of
wealth.Take tipping, for the example.Besides assuring that a known big tipper will get
good service, the tip establishes a social status and control over the recipitent:The tipper
presents him-or herself as the dominant one who expects to be pleased.In general,the
wealthy person is treated more deferentially by merchants and is granted all kinds of
small privileges the poor don's even realises exists.
by the end of second millennium, you could be an obsecure, not terribly bright grandson
of a man who owened the chain of shoe stores in Texas and be rich as Croesus.You might
be the chief executive officer of a company on the verge of bankruptcy.You might be an
athlete who never finished highschool or a rock star who injoys wrecking hotel rooms
.you might have appeared on Who wants to Be a Millionaire? and answered a few trivia
questions.You might have wona frivolous lawsuit or pocketed some money intended for
the school or church where you were treasurer.You could be anybody! There are ,after
all,some 4.1million millionaires in America alone now.No wonder
the people sitting in the first class sections of jets look much like the people sitting in Mc
Donald's.for better or worse,wealth is nearly losing its value as an index of anything but
the ability to spend.
many of the 21 st century's millionaires are youthful beneficiaries of the protracted boom
in America's financial market.They made their fortunes sitting in front of computer
screens, tapping in orders to buy and sell exotic financial instruments issued by
companies whose products they have never seen or used.Money is less tangible now,a
social ethicist noted in 1999."it used to be a property or gold.Now it's blip on your
computer screen.It appears and disappears.It becomes...
more a game in its own right,the way atheletes compete with each other to make most
millions,when each additional million can't ossibly matter to the way they live."
A thousand years ago ,being rich involved very little money per se.A person's wealth was
calculated in land slaves,chunks of gold,and jewels-the wealthy commanded respect and
obedience through ostentatious display of theit things.Today ,wealth is almost expressed
in terms of currency.Unquestionably,wealth makes daily life easier,removing a source of
stress.Money gives people freedom and sequrity:it might confer feelings of self-esteem or
act as an aphrodisiac.Money controls access to precious possessions---only the wealthy
can afford $2,300 pillowor $160,000 Porsches.For some people, money gratifies their need
to assess their value in relation to others.Money never meant to anything to us,"the Texas
oil millionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt once said."It was just sort of how we kept the score."
Perhaps most appealing,though potentaially most frightening,about wealth is that the rich
have so many choices--the choices--the choice not to work,for example,which
distinguishes them from all but the youngest and oldest members of the socity.Some rich
people---thr "idle rich"--don't work,and boredom has historically been an occupational
hazard of the wealthy.
Other wealthy men and women work long,arduous hours simply because that's what they
most injoy doing.Richard Arkwright,one of the forefathers of Brtain's industrail
revolutions, continued to put in 15-hrs days at his text textile factories even after
becoming one of the wealthiest people in the world.He wanted to push the boundaries of
the possible, and that required his undivided attention.Arkwright injoyed the trappings of
wealth but the indolence;money was part of the game,and whoever died with the most
The wealtrhy can also animate idiosyncrasies better left unfullfilled."To be true
rich is to possess the means of realising in big ways one's little whims and fantsies and
sickness,"wrote the hisorian C Wright Mills.For a time ,the eccentric millionaire Howard
Hughes would consume only milk,Hershey bars,pecans,and bottled water,delivered each
day in a brown paper bag." Money is measuring rod of power," said Hughes,who once
made a typist type the same letter for him 200 times.Ivana Trump so hated footprints on
the carpets that she insisted every room be freshly vacuumed just before she entered it.
The rich are viciously maligned and avidly ogled.Sigmund Freud put the primeval
ambivalence about wealth in to modern language: someone who has accumulated so
much is somehow abnormal,and his or her drive is pathological.The ancient legend of
king Midas---whose touch turned everything,including his daughter,in to gold-suggests
that the rich not only fail to injoy their riches but are destroyed by them.Some earlt tribes
accorde the greatest pretsige not to
those who accumulated the most wealth."We have seen fine canoes demolished with an
axe in a few moments of time," wrote an observer of the Alskan
Tlingits in the 1890s,dishes,stove and other household goods smashed by their proud
owener ,just that he might be considered a greater man than some other."
For all the fascination wealth has held for scholars over the past two thousand
years ,no one has been able to explain why some people become rich while most do
not.Historians,psychologiests,economist,philosopherss,sociologiest,and novelists have
put their minds to it , sifting through maddeningly incomplete and incomparable data and
arriving at theories about the characterstics of rich people,invoking everything from
unhappy childhood to excessive naricissim.Despite these studies,however, noyone has
isolated the mental or physical traits that predict whether a particular child will grow up to
become rich.The most reliable prediction of a person's eventual wealth today is the same
as it has always been :"The best way to make money....(is) to have some to start with,:
wrote a 15th century man name Claude Carriere.
That's why the American myth that hard work leads to great wealth exasperates some
historian and economists."No man to my knowledge has ever entered the ranks of Great
American fortunes merely by saving a surplus from fro his salary or wages,"wrote
Mills."In one way or onether he has to come in to command of a strategic position....and
usually he has to have available a considerable sum of money." Indeed, from the 1870s
on, most important business leaders have been native-born Anglo -saxons of "high
Status" Protestant religion and the well -educated sons of native -born businessmen and
professionals,according to Harvard University"s Research Center Enterpreneurial History.
although wealth seems unquestionably desirable in America Today,It has little correlation
with happiness. For example ,the level of happiness reported by Americans in 1970 was
not much diffrent from what it had been in the late 1940s,although average income ,even
allowing for taxes and inflation,could buy 60 percent more.Wealth does buy better health
care,nutrition,,and healthful habits( fewer rich people smoke; more of them exercise),so
it's not surprising that wealthy have longer life expectancies than the poor..However
beyond a certain point ,there's no evidence suggesting that happiness increases
with wealth.The case histories of wealthy men and women are filled with stories of
nervous breakdowns,family coflicts,alcholism,and sucide.Barabara Hutton inherited
$42million from her grandfather,Frank Woolworth ,on her 21 st birthday in 1930 and then
went on marry seven times.Her marriage to Porfirio Rubirosa lasted 73 was for her
that the media coined the phrase "poor little rich girl". The breakfast--cereal king Charles
William post had a nervous breakdown and eventually committed sucide,as did the
photography merchant George Eastman.
A study of 600 millionaires done in 1925 that the richer a man was,the more he was to
be divorced.Indeed,self made rich men often lack warmth and are unable to form close
relationships." The typical self-made man often thinks of his wife the way he thinks of his
money.She is a jewel, a bauble.he has married her to increase his apparent worth."
Others are dubious of the Idea that it's hard to be rich."The idea that the millionaires
finds nothing but a sad ,empty place at the top of this,in the main,a way by
which those who are not rich reconcile themselves to the fact," Mills wrote."If the rich are
not happy, it's because none of us are happy."