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Old 06-23-2021, 05:12 AM   #1
grumpyskeptic
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Is it possible to become very wealthy in an ethical way?


Is it possible to make a billion, or even a million, while being ethical? Or is every wealthy person bad?
 
Old 06-23-2021, 11:50 AM   #2
cynwulf
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Is accumulation of vast wealth, while the majority of the world's population live in poverty ethical?
 
Old 06-23-2021, 12:19 PM   #3
dc.901
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
Is it possible to make a billion, or even a million, while being ethical?
Or is every wealthy person bad?
Not sure how to answer these since it can go in any direction.

Someone famous once said:
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Personally I do not believe every wealthy person is bad. Simply going by what is posted on news/online media, it appears a lot of wealthy folks do a lot of "giving".

Are the capital gains considered unethical?
 
Old 06-23-2021, 12:27 PM   #4
boughtonp
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Mathematically, if you work for fifty years and your annual income is at least 20,000 higher than your annual outgoings (i.e. cost of living+luxuries+charity+etc), you will have a million.

So that becomes: is it possible to consistently receive 1,667 a month more than you spend, whilst being ethical?

Now consider that to make a billion, that excess would need to be 1,666,667, i.e. 1.7 million, every month. For fifty years. Can that be done ethically?

What's the motivation behind your questions?


Last edited by boughtonp; 06-23-2021 at 12:31 PM.
 
Old 06-23-2021, 12:35 PM   #5
jbuckley2004
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Grumpy, I realize that it seems like the only way to become "rich" is to be "bad" (I use quotes around those terms because they are VERY subjective).
But I submit that it's just as unethical to assume every rich person is bad.
 
Old 06-23-2021, 02:34 PM   #6
yancek
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Quote:
But I submit that it's just as unethical to assume every rich person is bad.
Ethics doesn't come into it, it's just an incorrect assumption. Many wealthy people are wealthy because of the accident of birth, they inherited most of it. Others lie, cheat and steal to gain wealth. More engage in criminal activity and some use their wealth and power to achieve a monopoly in a particular area while others bribe politicians to gain favors others have no ability to achieve. And of course, there are some who create a product or service with no thought of becoming wealthy but do achieve wealth by creating a valuable, desirable product or service.

So yes, it is possible but in reality, probably not that common. Many of the wealthy who make donations do so because they get tax breaks although I'm sure there are some who don't care.
 
Old 06-23-2021, 03:49 PM   #7
rtmistler
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Compensation for highly paid careers can be fairly high, and they're all very much legitimate. Doctors, lawyers, business owner, technical consultant, building contractor, architect, restaurateur. I mean ... some chefs make a lot, some singers make a lot, some gas station owners make a lot. Even in a big box store like Best Buy or similar, the store manager makes a pretty good salary, and many times gets bonuses for running a good store.

I've met construction contractors who are multi-millionaires, and I've known coffee shop franchise owners who also had that level of income. Similarly in high tech, many people have worked with start up companies where they obtained a few hundred thousand from a stock offering, or others in high tech have just received normal, but good salaries. One works in that profession for 30-40 years, saves into retirement funds, saves their money, and doesn't spend money in an ill advised manner, they can retire very comfortably.

It's all relative what you consider to be very wealthy.

To purely answer the questions:
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
Is it possible to make a billion, or even a million, while being ethical?
Absolutely.
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
Or is every wealthy person bad?
Absolutely not.

I guess I'm disappointed that you've limited your discussion or perspective, precisely in these forms, but that's your decision and implied opinions.
 
Old 06-23-2021, 04:39 PM   #8
Bonzoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
Is it possible to make a billion, or even a million, while being ethical? Or is every wealthy person bad?
A million is fairy easy. Good land/Good water ++ nice view/access to river/lake/hookers ?
A billion is a tad different... "Have I gawts a deal faww yaz"
 
Old 06-23-2021, 05:14 PM   #9
leclerc78
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Ask Paul Allen.
 
Old 06-23-2021, 08:23 PM   #10
jmgibson1981
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Possible, yes. But from what the world looks like it seems that once you make it your ethics go out the window in the pursuit of more and more. This is seen by the small family companies that get huge. Next thing you know they treat their employees like garbage, start to increase prices while at the same time laying people off and or lowering the quality of the product or service. Personally I think capitalism itself is the problem, not necessarily the amount one makes from it but the viewpoints it causes. Everyone has a price.
 
Old 06-23-2021, 08:56 PM   #11
sundialsvcs
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I like to walk through the Atlanta airport instead of taking the train. Between concourses "B" and "C" is a very nice exhibit concerning the city of Atlanta. And I remember one memorable quote although I can't quote it exactly now.

Basically, he said "No one gets rich due to diligence and hard work. I once bought 350 acres of land just to take timber off of it, and it became the heart of the city of Atlanta."
 
Old 06-23-2021, 09:02 PM   #12
frankbell
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I tend to agree with much of what jmgibsom1981 said.

Many persons have become wealthy while adhering to ethical standards. Many also without doing so. And there are, indeed, many examples of persons losing what ethical standards they had along the way and some examples of persons gaining wealth while holding on to their standards.

I'm not sure, though, that we can blame it on capitalism, per se, though capitalism, certainly unregulated capitalism, certainly has a history of opening the door to exploitation (think of 10-year-olds working in coal mines). That's why regulations to constrain financial and business misconduct evolved.

But I think greed and lack of ethics are not confined to one economic system. The person who becomes a greedy, unethical capitalist in one system might become a greedy and unethical autocrat in another.

Just a few thoughts.
 
Old 06-24-2021, 01:26 AM   #13
chrism01
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I have no proof, but it wouldn't surprise me if it's the un-ethical (for whatever reasons) ones that make the news ....
It's the way the media works - bad news is headlines, good news less often.
 
Old 06-24-2021, 09:06 AM   #14
jmgibson1981
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Quote:
But I think greed and lack of ethics are not confined to one economic system.
Fair enough. I don't really know about economic systems. Just where I live here in the US. It's got benefits, but major drawbacks as well. Greed transcends location and economic designs though for sure.
 
Old 06-24-2021, 10:37 AM   #15
boughtonp
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Capitalism might not be the cause of greed, but any system with wealth as its goal is absolutely going to act as a catalyst for greed.

But - whilst grumpyskeptic has yet to return and clarify what they wanted to discuss - I'm not sure that's the direction they intended.


Some jobs have deservedly high compensation. Others do not.

Using a provided example: is it ethical for a coffee shop owner to be a millionaire whilst the staff who actually do the work and provide the value are barely scraping by?

Or another relatively recent one: is it ethical for the Mozilla CEO to go from $500,000/yr to $3,000,000/yr despite both the company and its flagship product failing?

In what instances should a person's salary not be relative to the value they provide?


Last edited by boughtonp; 06-24-2021 at 10:39 AM.
 
  


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