What is True Wealth? | Kosmos Readers Reply

We asked our Readers to share a few words about the meaning of “wealth”. Here are some of their replies:

Shared by Kosmos Reader, David Hazen 


“Wealth is waking up each day with a purpose and the passion to pursue it.
Wealth is recognizing that you have special talents and that you are using them to make your life and the lives of others better.
Wealth is having friends that you know are ‘lifers’.
Wealth is having people believe in you, trust you and hold you in high esteem.
Wealth is believing in others, trusting them, and holding them in high esteem.
Wealth is going to bed each night knowing you have made the world just a little better by being in it.
Let me ask, are you Wealthy?
Peace…Use it or lose it!”
– Rick Beneteau


Shared by Kosmos Reader, Greene Fyre

True wealth can only exist in a regulated economy. The commoditized race to the bottom of unregulated capitalism devalues human life and dignity and environmental well being until the econo-ecological system fails. Well proven history. True wealth is the ability to live in a system with checks and balances for human dignity and environmental justice.”

Shared by Kosmos Reader, David Eggleton

According to Confucius and Fuller (following, in that order), wealth is distinct from riches. They say it cannot be produced or possessed by an individual or a disintegrated society. The term is synonymous with sustainability.

confucius589“There is a chief way for the production of wealth, namely that the producers be many and that the mere consumers be few, that the artisan mass be energetic and the consumers temperate.”
– Confucius

“…I think that what we all really mean by wealth is as follows: Wealth is our organized capability to cope effectively with the environment in sustaining our healthy regeneration and decreasing both the physical and metaphysical restrictions of the forward days of our lives.” – Fuller

 Shared by Kosmos Reader, Shaun Chamberlin

‘True Wealth’ is a core theme in David Fleming’s masterpiece, Lean Logic. ‘The threads running through every entry are Fleming’s deft and original analysis of how our present market-based economy is destroying the very foundations—ecological, economic, and cultural— on which it depends, and his core focus: a compelling, grounded vision for a cohesive society that might weather the consequences. A society that provides a satisfying, culturally-rich context for lives well lived, in an economy not reliant on the impossible promise of eternal economic growth. A society worth living in. Worth fighting for. Worth contributing to.’

Thinking of short extracts, off the top of my head, I’d suggest:

Needs and Wants.  A distinction between needs and wants has been made by many critics in the *green movement and its predecessors, who have argued that consumption in response to our needs is justifiable and *sustainable, but consumption in response to our wants is not. 

      Yet this notion that needs are good and wants bad does not survive inspection.  For the anthropologists Douglas and Isherwood, it is a “curious moral split [that] appears under the surface of most economists’ thoughts on human needs”.  Lean Logic argues that those economists have it somewhat back-to-front.

      The heaviest burden of the modern *economy, by far, is that imposed by its own elaborations.  Any large-scale economy requires massive infrastructures and material flows just to support itself and keep existing. Such sprawling industrial economies have massively multiplied our needs, our *‘regrettable necessities’. Regardless of whether we want them, we need the sewage systems, heavy-goods transport, police-forces… Given the substantial scale of the task of feeding, raising and schooling a suburban family, and the increasing challenge of such routine needs as finding a post office, many of us undoubtedly need cars.  The collapse of local self-reliance was both the cause and the effect of the massive elaboration of *transport, and when that need is no longer met, its life-sustaining function will be bitterly recognised.    

        It is, then, the elaboration of needs by large-scale industrial life that causes the trouble.  Our wants are squeezed-out, much-missed and light by comparison, not least because they often involve labour-intensive *crafts and services – pianists, craftsmen, dress-makers, waitresses, gardeners with minimum environmental impact.  Some wants are also needs, of course, and they cannot be cleanly separated, but if we focus our efforts on finding a way, under the stresses of the *climacteric, of achieving a substantial and rapid liquidation of our needs, we will be getting somewhere.” 

(See also: *Greening of Waste, *Growth, *Invisible Goods, *Lean Economics, *Scale, *Slack)

Lean Logic, A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It, by David Fleming, Edited by Shaun Chamberlin, Foreword by Jonathon Porritt, Chelsea Green Publishing, August 03, 2016