Thursday, October 1, 2009

Just how extreme are you??

I found this article I wrote in 2006 - before the crash...I enjoyed it even more here in the "post" crash world..

So this one goes into the category of be careful what you ask for.

As a Baha'i I believe in the elimination of the extremes of wealth and poverty. Well if you are a Baha'i and you are from North America, read on... no really be brave ... read on.

Last Tuesday the result of a worldwide survey was released by : Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (UNU-Wider).
It shows that the richest 2% of the world's population controls 50% of all the assets. -This did not alarm me - this is about what I expected.

It went on to say that the poorest 50% of the planet's peoples only control 1% of the wealth. OK so this was more alarming, but hey that's why we have that spiritual teaching of eliminating the extremes ...right?

Then it said, if you have more than $2,200 in Assets you are wealthier than 50% of the people on the planet - Oh and this includes real estate. Oops- this is getting me nervous now because that $2200 amount sounds vaguely like what my vacation(s) cost last year.

Then the article got really annoying and said - If you have more than $61,000 in assets you are among the top 10% of the people on the planet in terms of wealth. If you do not have more than that in a retirement account somewhere and you are over 50,,, well you will never retire or even be able to slow down. In America - $61000 is very very small potatoes.

Now America is only 6% of the planets population and it controls 34% of the entire wealth. Yep - I am detecting the big bad American trend here...

Oh and by the way to be in the top 1% of the world in wealth - you need more than $500,000 in wealth. Just a mere 37,000,000 folks have that.

So, now that these folks are suggesting that I am somewhere between the top 10% and 1% of the wealthiest people on the planet.

So I ask my fellow Baha'i's am I - and yourself (most of you I know are in the same ballpark or will be soon) the extreme we believe should be eliminated.

OK OK you convinced me let's steal from the ultra rich and give to the poor...
Well what alarmed me was if you divided all the wealth in the world equally according to these same folks each person would have - $20,500.00. Or not even a years tuition at a private college.

Well something to ponder on ... Something is going to give someday. So my filthy rich friends, we need to be thankful for the wealth that God has granted us. We need to remember that 9 out of 10 folks on the planet dream of being -you, me, or us.

Funny, but sad, I guess- all the while I just keep hoping to win the Lottery so I can afford to stop working someday.

Baha'u'llah says:
Having attained the stage of fulfilment and reached his maturity, man standeth in need of wealth, and such wealth as he acquireth through crafts or professions is commendable and praiseworthy in the estimation of men of wisdom, and especially in the eyes of servants who dedicate themselves to the education of the world and to the edification of its peoples.
(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 34)

Here is a quote from the Master - and I leave you to your thoughts:
But in the divine teachings equality is brought about through a ready willingness to share. It is commanded as regards wealth that the rich among the people, and the aristocrats should, by their own free will and for the sake of their own happiness, concern themselves with and care for the poor. This equality is the result of the lofty characteristics and noble attributes of mankind.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 44)

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