Wealth and Contributions to Society

By Phin Upham

Does the accumulation of wealth mean that you are positively contributing to society? There is a disconnect, even among the wealthy, that the amount of money one earns is directly related to the amount of good one does or is capable of doing in society.

Making money means that you either sell a product or service, or work for someone who does, that is desirable by a certain segment of the population. However, not all products and services are considered good or moral. There is a misconception that pay earned from work means that one is doing something to benefit society as a whole.

What if you work for a company with a byproduct of nuclear waste or vented toxic gases? The work you do, no matter how beneficial, still has very real consequences. Thus, your money may not be tied to the amount of moral good you do. Especially if you had no control over the business in the first place. You may lead an otherwise moral and virtuous life, so money is not necessarily a measure of who you are or what you are capable of doing.

However, money does have important social implications worth exploring. Money can change alliances within social groups and completely alter social structures. Money is the ultimate measure of rationality. It is impersonal in a way that no other form of barter can be.

Those who are honest with themselves about their reasoning for accumulating wealth are often able to do the most with it.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Facebook page.