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49 Part II


The swelling ranks of UHNWs around the world have prompted many to reconsider the relationship between wealthy people and the world they live in. What is wealth, really? Does it confer responsibilities upon those who bear it? Perhaps current public discourse fails to acknowledge the true value of wealth- creators to society?


LORD (JIM) O’NEILL


Former chairman of Chatham House and of Goldman Sachs Asset Management


Health is more important than wealth, although having access to wealth probably means the likelihood of better health is considerably higher. To desire more wealth in its own right often seems a bit pointless to me, as once you reach a certain milestone, there will be another one, and for virtually all humanity there is always going to be someone wealthier than you. As so many examples highlight, wealth doesn’t guarantee happiness, but not having any financial worries probably makes life better.


DAME STEPHANIE SHIRLEY


IT entrepreneur turned philanthropist who founded Autistica, the UK’s national autism research charity


I am proud to be the first person to drop out of the Rich List altogether after giving away my wealth. What is wealth? Plenty of something desirable – you can have a wealth of information, or it can be of money, even crypto money. And wealth supports optimum health – indeed, the only true wealth can be said to be health Wealth is not everything, but it’s very important in helping us


to achieve the things we care about. It’s been measured that being rich does make you happier – but only by a small amount (a quarter of a point on a ten-point scale). And how you get your money impacts how satisfied you are with it. (I’m happier with my self-made wealth than if I’d won it on the lottery.) As an inner condition of being, wealth allows you to live life on your own terms. Scarcity is a fundamental factor – a sum considered to be trivial in the UK would be wealth in a developing country. Wealth varies over time and the demands on it are elastic: successful people’s expensive lifestyles may have them again worrying about there being ‘more month than money’. My own discipline of information technology means that today’s wealthy standard of living could be considered impoverished by future generations. Wealth gives combinations of being able to stay rich, to get


richer, and to enjoy. Most people whose wealth is generally limited to pensions and home ownership see it as something for a rainy day. Aristocrats preserve wealth to pass on to future generations. The proletariat have least wealth and used to have least opportunity to acquire it. But that has changed in recent years, with many successful entrepreneurs coming from the most modest of backgrounds. I practise the socialist view of wealth creation: I took my


ANNA JOSSE CEO and founder of Prism the Gift Fund


I personally believe everyone has a responsibility to give. Prism did a piece of research last year and wrote a paper called The Philanthropy Paradox. It showed that people welcome donations, but do not necessarily like donors. So there is this jealousy or this distrust of the actual donor, and yet, people want them to give money. So it’s like, ‘We like the money, we just don’t like the donor, because they’ve made money’. So there is a paradox. There are partnerships between strategists and charities and donors, all working together to try and understand the best use of distributions, the best use of philanthropy. But, ultimately, if an individual has made the money then, with guidance, let theem decide how to distribute it. Why should anyone else tell them what to do? The tragedy, really, is when some people don’t feel the responsibility to give.


company into co-ownership, refer to social investments rather than philanthropy, and believe that while over half the world’s wealth is owned by one per cent of the people, those of us who are wealthy should pay more tax. Otherwise, wealth will begin to engender hatred (as has certainly become the case in the USA). Wealth gave me choice. But its hidden power is influence.


ILLUSTRATION: JENNIE EDWARDS


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