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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.

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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 24 2013: I think we have two separate concepts here.

    1. Does excessive self-indulgence qualify as a dysfunction?
    2. Does excessive self-indulgence hinder the progress of others?

    Spending money on yourself isn't indicative of a dysfunction. However, when the behavior begins to have negative impacts on the person, and the person refuses to correct the problem it becomes a dysfunction.

    Let's look at the latter in a different way. Does the accumulation of wealth by a select group hinder the progress of others? We need to ask ourselves a couple questions.

    1. Does this accumulation of wealth inhibit others from achieving the same state?

    2. Does the system itself have the capacity for all people to achieve the same state.

    Let's look at it like this.

    (++++++++++) Total resources available.

    (Poor(+) ------------- Middle Class (++) --------- Upper Middle Class (+++) ------------------ Rich (++++))

    The resource distribution makes it difficult to achieve states that are too far away from our starting point.

    Resource distribution.

    ((Rich) -----+++-------> (Upper Middle Class) -----++--------> (Middle Class) ------+---------> + (Poor))

    Hoarding assets disrupts the supply chain. It narrows the funnel in which the rich should be supplying increased assets down the pipeline. This is not happening.

    I don't see it as a dysfunction for the individual. However, it does create a very dysfunctional society.

    The only viable argument is that this system increases innovation by providing companies increased assets to create new products and hire more people.

    This argument is flawed. An increase in the distribution of assets would allow more people to start new businesses, grow existing businesses, and progress as individuals. This would increase innovation and social progress across the board.
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      Oct 24 2013: thank you for clarifying and expanding upon the question I posed. Obviously you have thought this through and you have preesented an insightful and unique perspective to the discourse.

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