Why Don't Rich People Just Stop Working?
Why Don't Rich People Just Stop Working? Are the wealthy addicted to money, competition, or just feeling important?
In certain expensive neighborhoods of the city, it is not uncommon to see how at certain hours of the night the inhabitants often arrive, they have time to have dinner, maybe give their children a kiss, but little else. Instead, they do not stop coming in high-end cars and live in houses that require a good part of their income to pay for and maintain them. Despite their high standard of living, spacious home in a good area, great car, private or concerted school, home service, vacations, they do not stop working and are considered middle class.
Not for one to think, why do they work so hard if they already have everything? Isn't it time for them and their descendants to enjoy life? And why are they still considered middle class? Well, let's say it's complex. But it depends mainly on the meritocracy and the new super-rich.
The rich who kill themselves to work
Daniel Markovitz has published in The Atlantic about how the US elite does not stop working, being a kind of summary of his book The Trap of Meritocracy. After being educated at prestigious universities (typically Ivy League, Standford, and Caltech) and they end up leading a small range of professions in the legal, financial, healthcare, or management sectors. These wealthy workers are concentrated in the major metropolises of the country, such as Boston and San Francisco.
If at the time aristocrats were people who had a lot of free time, now "meritocrats" are people who work long hours and intensely. An elite lawyer in NY can bill 2,400 hours per year, which means working from 8 am to 8 pm six days a week, not including vacation days or possible sick leave.
When they have children they strive to take them to elite nurseries, where from a young age they teach them ambition, to sell themselves, hope, and concern. For example, to accustom them to the fact that they will have to work in multitasking mode, some already offer a problem that they have to solve before the end of the day, without being given time to do it. So they have to do it at the same time as other things or sacrifice recess. This is without counting the large number of duties they have. When they get to work it will be worse.
And why do they work so hard? Mainly because through this mode they have the ability to pay their children, among other things. Some believe that the descendants of the old upper-middle classes have become the stewards of the new super-rich, putting in value their knowledge that their old social position had provided them, in yachting, horse riding, real estate, or managing fortunes. . That would explain what some say, that hipster fashion is a way of differentiating itself from those classes that are considered not to be at the same level when an economic level cannot be used to differentiate because it is not directly available.
And why do they feel middle class?
Many people with a large amount of money, perhaps a million or two, consider themselves middle class when clearly they could even retire and live off their passive income, as the FIREs want, or perhaps simply work less. Instead, they are still considered part of the mass of the pyramid, why? Among other reasons, because we tend to consider those who earn more than us rich, we only have to see how certain politicians have changed their opinion about what it means to be rich once they have reached power.
Recently in Bloomberg Businessweek, they published a list on a logarithmic scale in which from 1 cent to one hundred billion, the number of people in that band of net worth. Let's start looking at those with between 1 and 10 million dollars, in the world, there are around 40 million millionaires, more than inhabitants in Poland. There are also 1.7 million people who have 10 and 100 million dollars, more than inhabitants in the city of Barcelona. Between one hundred and one billion dollars the pyramid is already reduced to 49,000 people. Between one thousand and ten billion there are only 2,700, between 10 and one hundred thousand only 150 and in the one with more than one hundred billion we only have Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.
That is, as these people move up the social pyramid, they find more people who have the same amount as them and also come into contact, either by going to the same places or by relating to them, people that have more resources than they do, perhaps because they directly work for them.
So the combination of fear, ambition, education, and feeling that one has not reached where he wanted to go, given that there are still many people above him, makes many people continue working marathon days every week, despite not needing it.