If you make it the hard way

Asked whether it is good to be rich, he replies: “Yes, if you make it the hard way. It’s not for me to pass moral judgment.”


Really rather missing the point of the system.

We should be just as happy, happier even, if people make it the lucky way. Just come up with the right idea at the right time and make millions. Just happen to have the talents that thrive in a society at the particular stage that we\’re at.

For much of it is luck. Beckham wouldn\’t be a multi-millionaire in a world of capped football wages. Nor before satellite TV drove up the price of sporting coverage. Nor in a world without professional sports.

But even though much of it is luck, where and when you were born with what talents and what ideas, we still want people who deploy them successfully to make money. Because that encourages others to deploy their talents to whatever it is that society most values at that time. And more of what society values is, by definition, making that society richer.

BTW, making it the hard way without passing moral judgement does rather include running that gang processing hard drugs. Certainly hard, certainly makes money….

7 thoughts on “If you make it the hard way”

  1. “make it the hard way” is a judgement. The boy is a fool.

    Making money legally, as in Common Law, not determined by “regulations” and statutes, I could understand.

    Does the wealth of the Milibands pass that test?

  2. So according to the E Milliband definition:

    Being good at maths, getting a first at university, a job at Barcap and then making a few millions selling derivatives than ultimately turn out to be worthless is good.

    But inheriting a large family estate, keeping an inefficient farm going to support local employment, spending all your spare cash on mending the Grade One listed roof rather than being a playboy in the south of France isn’t a good thing.

  3. “Does the wealth of the Milibands pass that test?”

    You mean buying an agreeable North London house cheaply in the mid 70s, benefit from massive house price appreciation and then come up with a clever wheeze to avoid inheritance tax so as to keep the untaxed millions in the family ?

  4. So what happens when someone who ‘made it the hard way’ (whatever that meaningless phrase is intended to encode) pops their clogs? Do they get to decide what happens to the company, or the building, or whatever it is they leave behind?

    Looking at the same question from another angle: who should own all the big firms which are lying around as leftovers from someone else’s economic empire?

  5. I don’t know what Miliband meant, but, moral judgments aside, it seems to me that getting rich gradually is more life enhancing than getting rich suddenly.

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