Sunday, February 8, 2009

"To be rich is glorious" -- Deng Xiaoping

Lying in bed this morning, luxuriating in the glory of being alive, I listened to one of my favorite BBC podcasts: "Peter Day's World of Business." (Check it out here.) He was in China, in Shenzen, to be exact, visiting an Irish entrepreneur who is on the cutting edge of the New Economy, Chinese version. Their tour of the city began at the statue of the dead leader Deng Xiaoping that beams down from a mountaintop. The statue's inscription was one of Deng's most famous quotes: "To be rich is glorious." I couldn't help but pair this thought with the article I saw last night on Reuters, about 90-year-old Ian Thiermann having to go back to work as a grocery clerk because he had lost his life savings in the Bernard Madoff swindle (you can read his sad story -- and those of other elderly victims of Madoff -- here). And I couldn't help but wonder: Just how "glorious" is it to be rich? I know a lot of rich people -- and am related to several -- but their lives don't seem all that "glorious," especially now, in the wake of the worldwide financial collapse.

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