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william clegg


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Should we view wealth hoarding as dysfunctional as any other form of hoarding?

We tend to view those who acquire and accumulate "stuff" endlessly as hoarders who are dysfunctional and requiring health care assistance. Therefore, those whose lives are an endless accumulation of wealth and who use that wealth for little more than acquiring ever more "stuff" and/or endlessly stimulating as many pleasure centers as they can as often as then can seem to fall into that dysfunctional category.


Closing Statement from william clegg

We had quite a lively debate ensued on this topic. The majority of comments suggest that hoarding wealth is, in fact, dysfunctional and many offered insightful ways in which they saw that dysfunction being played out in the real world. They also point out that the harm caused by a wealth hoarder is generally imposed upon their community while for other forms of hoarding it is the hoarder themselves who bears the brunt of that behaviour.

There were a few who were opposed to the hoarding label and who appeared to have no problem with the endless accumulation of wealth, largely because they seem to believe that the wealth was still being invested but offered no validation of this premise. As well that seems to be a rather specious argument if all the investing does is acquire more wealth.

It was pointed out a number of times that hoarding can have very real health issues involved, both psychological and physical. However, whether those health issues are as problematic for the wealth hoarder who has estates with lots of gates, security and staff to hide behind as they are in the poor and middle class who are far more visible is uncertain. Although the number of wealthy celebrities who have overdosed on drugs and/or alcohol abuse may be one indicator.

But the most humorous comments appeared to take real umbrage with the mere suggestion that wealth was being hoarded and even employed old 20th century commie fear mongering to make their - rather dull - point. .

It seems that for the majority of contributors hoarding is hoarding and as such is as dysfunctional as other forms of hoarding but that we all experience the consequences of that dysfunction. .

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    Oct 23 2013: envy is your sin
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      Oct 23 2013: Normally dysfunctionality is nothing to envy
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        Oct 23 2013: the fox and the grapes
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        Oct 23 2013: never too late
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        Oct 23 2013: if i'm your sole source of information, you are screwed. come on, learn to use google. you are young, you can learn new things!
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          Oct 23 2013: i am just not interested, thats all

          and what is a google?
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          Oct 23 2013: Every once in a while, I don't mind getting my hands dirty Krisztian.....shhh, don't tell anyone.
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          Oct 23 2013: Let me reply here again to your other comment below.....Yes, I agree with you. I did some light reading on hoarding.......and usually this kind of behavior has to do with keeping things even after they are no good. With money, it is a totally different thing.

          I know people who don't want to spend 5 cents on a piece of candy. They rather go without the candy because saving money is an obsession.

          With money hoarding, the kind of money that some regular 9-5 working class people might hoard, it is viewed as OCB....Obsessive Compulsive Behavior. Sadly, I know people like that........sometimes hoarding might be a sign of a dementia as well (in the elderly). I have friends who have dealt with this type of illness in their loved ones.

          I cannot state more, because I lack the knowledge.
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          Oct 23 2013: Thank you for getting me interested and for your explanation!

          Now I assume I am this fox in Krisztián's view, yet if I was unable to recognize that I can't get what I desire (grapes) any analogy wouldn't help my fox-wish either, would it? ;o)

          Or am I the grape? See, I am getting confused now! :o)

          But this is just the usual game between Krisztián and me. We confuse each other either on purpose or even without, which can be quite entertaining at times and thats what keeps us going. :o)

          Also Krisztián has a very very very long 'to do list', which does neither allow to read long comments, nor to write long comments, which makes me think he would probably be more happy on twitter than on TED, yet he might just not know about the paradise of the '140 characters' limit ... ;o)

          I don't know if there is another analogy within the animal kingdom regarding awareness of being contempt towards others, but from my experience, if there is any, it may well help to bring in another fox ... :o)

          And since I learned the following form Mary M. here on TED, I just can't help it to let the fox speak for himself:



          Thanks again, Carolyn, for your help!
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          Oct 23 2013: Carolyn, you might find it interesting to scam through my conversation of Knowledge being a Curse........a lot of insights have been brought out regarding what one does with knowledge.............

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        Oct 23 2013: Huh......foxes make their appearance again on TED.....well, wadda you know.

        Here.....a lesson on Aesop's Fables.........short and sweet:


        This story helped create the American saying...."sour grapes".
        Meaning that, when people show they don't care for something, it is usually because they cannot have it. The are really envious/jealous.

        I think that is why Krisztian gave his insightful comment above........Envy is your sin.

        He was alluding to the fact that some people might view wealthy people are hoarders of money. And, he is saying, with his short comment, that since you cannot possess the money yourself, you call them a name............."hoarder". But at the root of the name is a feeling........envy.
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          Oct 23 2013: the american saying is also a hungarian saying, if you encode it "savanyú a szőlő" :)

          thanks for doing the dirty work for me!
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          Oct 23 2013: And how does this analogy pair with dysfunctional behavior?

          As little I know about Krisztián's world view, it seems to me, that dysfunctional behavior in this context is rather promoted than ever questioned. Thus, and to diffuse any form of critical thinking, further investigations and reflections have to be branded and coined as 'bad' and this as soon as possible and wherever it happens.

          This is why he is using the terms 'envy' and 'sin', because by our cultural background nobody likes to be or to appear envy or sinful.

          This method is not new and often used to prevent uncomfortable questions, justifications or even worse.

          In some parts of the world one can even end in jail when certain 'taboos' are touched and all of them are in direct relation to the maintenance of power. Politically, economically and religious.

          The 'fox' is just a mild form of it, yet clever, as it comes with an auto-redirect protection mechanism who scares those who don't detect the mechanism.

          As our species has gatherers DNA, hording is almost part of our instincts and thereby prone to develop abnormalities and uncontrolled behavior, which I consider dysfunctional and this without any envy or sin attached to it.

          When someone is hoarding beer mats or stamps from all over the world, we call him/her a 'collector' and someone who smiles about it or finds it odd we wouldn't call a sinner, because it wouldn't make sense in the context, provided, he isn't interested in beer mats or stamps himself and thereby a collector as well.

          Yet when it is about money, as you rightly stated, it gets assumed, that all of us are collectors as well and we get therefore coined as sinful and enviousness the very moment we start asking questions about hording it.

          I agree that from a collectors perspective it might seem odd as well, that my use of beer mats is to save the table underneath my glass, yet hording beer mats usually doesn't hurt other people, so I don't mind him/her doing it.

          to be continued
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          Oct 23 2013: Yet if he/she would start to sell anything else to gain more and more beer-mats to satisfy an endless desire for more, than it would begin to hurt the family, and this would be the point were hording gets out of control and becomes a dysfunctional behavior. Would we consider it sinful or enviousness if the family would start to question this sort of destructive behavior, or would be rather consider it helpful to get professional help for the collector who got out of control?

          It is the extremes which turns normal and harmless behavior into destructive ones.

          Now why cant we raise the same question on money?

          Why is any criticism of destructive hording in this area immediately branded and coined?
          Why do we accept gambling as addictive yet never question its influence on the stock-market?

          To effectively block this sort of criticism, you present the critics as little envious characters filled to their ears with their sins, and while doing so it keeps others to think the same way and more importantly, to ever get the idea to call for professional help.

          Quite simple strategy, effective as well, yet try not to buy it.
        • Oct 24 2013: i think you're lumping all earning of money into one basket. hoarding money and having money are 2 very different things, and to dislike one doesn't mean you are envious of the other.
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        Oct 23 2013: Let me come back and say that hoarding is a dysfunctional behavior.
        We have watched many documentaries on this terrible illness.

        But never with money..........

        I do know that old timers, because of distrust, hid (hoarded) their money in the walls of their home.
        Some died and never told a soul where they kept it. Only to have it be discovered by the new home owners.
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          Oct 23 2013: if someone really wants to be super over precise, it is possible that someone is a pathologic hoarder of money. but that condition is rare, and probably nobody would open a conversation about them. maybe a psychiatrist, i don't know. i don't even know if it has been studied.

          when a layman talks about hoarders of money, he usually talks about CEOs and owners of huge companies. i doubt that anyone with a serious mental/behavioral condition of hoarding can become anything of the sort. the very essence of business is spending money. hoarders don't spend.
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          Oct 24 2013: ... shhh, don't tell anyone.

          I heard that! I mean, I read that! Which brings us back to the Entropy question ...

          lol ;o)
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        Oct 24 2013: Rats!!

        You know, people do hoard money. What is it about money that when you start to make lots of it you want more and more and more?

        I have seen this kind of obsession with all kinds of things......collectibles mostly......baseball caps, model airplanes, antique, perfume bottles, etc.......

        It is kind of an addiction..............Some people might just be addicted to money............or the things money can buy?

        What do you think of this?
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          Oct 24 2013: If hording money would be as harmless as hording beer mats for their beauty and fun, I wouldn't mind it much.

          Unfortunately, the hording of scarce items will consequently result in people who don't get to have them as well or to little to be of any real use.

          The problem of money is, that it is not only scares, yet only comes to live with its equivalent of dept. So ones it gets horded (or in this case increased), which is not as literally as Dagobert Duck does, than those who have it produce all of those who have to carry the dept of it.

          If goods and services were related to the time it takes to make them, and money just a medium for the exchange process, than hording would not be possible beyond anyones maximum time per day. So with little sleep one could hord a little more, yet never beyond the equivalent of 24 hours a day. So slightly more wealthy people would be slightly more tired. Thats it.

          But if you were to find this horded 1 million dollar in your drywall and would invest it in some company for interest, than you could cosily sleep on your sofa, while other people work for and in your interest. Some days later, you then have 1,05 million dollar while you were sleeping and the procedure goes on. This way, more and more people have to work more and more for your benefit and you are still in your pajamas. And this sort of hoarding creates a lot of tiered people, who get to work harder and harder and a view lucky people like you who 'found' the critical mass for the process to perpetuate itself for you by others.

          This sort of hording isn't just unfair, it also creates really difficult and even lethal conditions for the majority of people while a view get to decide if Monday is more suitable for a Ferrari or a Maserati ... :o)

          And no, I love my car and wouldn't change it, although I can't fix much on it on my own anymore ... lol :o)
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        Oct 24 2013: I appreciate the explanation of the million dollars. And all the cause and effect relationships.

        I think that the hoarding of money is going to get worse. And I also think that the hoarding of gold has begun.

        On the weekend I listened to a program on addiction.
        In one of the pieces inside the show they discussed "cereals". Specifically three types of cereals that are only manufactured in the month of October. Do you know what people do with the cereals when they show up in the market?
        Here, you can listen to the three minute piece yourself....


        Perhaps with money it is the same. People are afraid it will run out? So they hoard it?

        This hoarding of money and your explanation kind of reminded me of Hans Rosling's talk "The magic washing machine" Have you seen it?


        {forgive my jumping around a bit in my thoughts......it is the connections I made....hope you are not dizzy}
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          Oct 24 2013: Dizzy or not I jump my best to keep up with you or close behind.

          The change in hording gold rather than money is only a matter of trust and stability of both of their values, thats all. And today any metal outweighs the value of paper, which was different in the past, where paper was very scarce and high in value.

          The serials example is actually exemplary for the driving force for hording, which is scarcity.
          Scarcity is also a dominating figure on how 'value' gets defined, which thereby links both of them together. Artificial scarcity is one way to manipulate prices and markets.

          For some reason my brother is an unlucky fellow if it is about products he really likes. As if by some magical force, any product he tries and falls in love with is doomed to vanish off the shelfs because they didn't turn out to be profitable for their producers.

          Chocolate, soft drinks, toothpaste, you name it. As soon as my brother gets to know and like them, those products will have a maximal life cycle of about one year and then they are finished. This causes my brother at times to hoard what ever he can find left of it, so at least he has a little longer to enjoy them.

          This only happened once with me and Cherry Coke, which I liked, than it was not available anymore in Germany and when it returned many years later, I liked it again. But I didn't hord anything when I knew it would go.

          Maybe this is because I have no 'collectors' DNA which my brother has, I don't know.

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