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Friday, December 31, 2010

Wealth: A Matter of Relativity

Looking around my house as we decorated and prepared for Christmas, I was constantly realizing how much wealth and comforts we have. I think as a culture we tend to underestimate how much we have and just compare ourselves to the Joneses. Our thinking is that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence so we don't take the time to appreciate what we have. And really appreciate how much we all have and how much we can afford to help others.

I know how lucky i am that I can live with my parents while I search for work, I am a recent college graduate who is struggling to find work in this economy. That is a luxury that many people just don't have, and my parents can afford this without me being a burden on them. My safety net, my family, is something which I know I am extremely lucky to have.

However, we are not rich by American standards. My parents both work, but we are not extremely rich. They own a house, but it is a fixer-upper which we are fixing up ourselves to save money. We can afford a house, but we can't afford to pay for people to do the work for us. Just so you understand where we fit in our society.

But as we know, on a global scale we are extremely, extremely wealthy. According to Global Rich List, I am in the top 12 percent of the world's richest people. And this is with me only working part time retail positions while attending university. I am not working full time and make less than $10 an hour in retail....

How do you feel about that? A bit richer we hope. Richer and ready to give some of your newly found wealth to those who need it most. It not hard - just slip your hand in your pocket and pull out something special. Something that can help redress the balance - and also make you feel uncommonly good. Many peoples lives could be happier if you donated just one hour's salary (approx $9.83 - UK estimate).
All you have to do is make a choice.
$8 could buy you 15 organic apples OR 25 fruit trees for farmers in Honduras to grow and sell fruit at their local market.
$30 could buy you an ER DVD Boxset OR a First Aid kit for a village in Haiti.
$73 could buy you a new mobile phone OR a new mobile health clinic to care for AIDS orphans in Uganda.
$2400 could buy you a second generation High Definition TV OR schooling for an entire generation of school children in an Angolan village."

So I guess its a question of what we want to do without wealth. Do we want to spend it on presents and more stuff for our houses? 

Or do we want to get together and recognize what we do or do we want to use our wealth, and if you are in a developed country you are extremely wealthy on a global scale, to create the change we want to see in the world (Gandhi paraphrased)?

Personally, I think I want to try my best to be the change I want to see in the world...

I would love it if you would join me in this.

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