Stephen Hawking on the real meaning of wealth (which he gets rather wrong) in The Guardian.
So I would be the last person to decry the significance of money. However, although wealth has played an important practical role in my life, I have of course had a different relationship with it to most people. Paying for my care as a severely disabled man, and my work, is crucial; the acquisition of possessions is not. I don’t know what I would do with a racehorse, or indeed a Ferrari, even if I could afford one. So I have come to see money as a facilitator, as a means to an end – whether it is for ideas, or health, or security – but never as an end in itself.
Interestingly this attitude, for a long time seen as the predictable eccentricity of a Cambridge academic, is now more widely shared.
Err, no, not really, standard economic structure is that wealth is the ability to increase utility. How utility is increased is entirely up to the individual, as our utility functions differ.
Or, if you’d like to put it this way, wealth is a facilitator, something that facilitates us increasing our utility.
Not unusual this, someone looking at an economic question from basic principles, getting close to the right answer but not realising that economics got there a century or more before. A better try at it that Ritchie of course, who usually manages to glom onto something which has been disproven via the same logical route but…..
Anyway, what’s really fun about this is that’s it’s a PR puff piece for a new web site run by UBS. You know, the Swiss bank and wealth management people?