Money is a means to an end.

Instead of calling them billionaires, we should call them money-hoarders, and yes, that is meant as an insult. Yes, that does include the billionaires we like. They may have many fine qualities, but having accumulated that much money is not a point in anyone’s favor.

Rather than congratulating people for having money in the 10-figure range, we should instead praise them for how much they’ve given away. For example, JK Rowling gave money to charity until she was no longer a billionaire and no longer on the list of wealthiest people. This is a good thing! I’ll bet she still has much more dough than she’ll ever be able to use, but the point is, her having given a lot to charity reflects better on her than ranking on a Forbes list ever will. Another example is Bill Gates. He’d be richer than Jeff Bezos if not for his charitable donations? Cool! Let’s talk about how much money he’s put into making the world a better place!

Here’s a simple reality that capitalism would like us to forget: money is a means to an end. Money is not an end unto itself. You’re hungry, so you use money to get food, and you eat the food. You don’t eat the money itself. You use money to pay for housing and utilities, but money all by itself does not keep you warm and dry. You use money to see a movie, but money itself is not entertainment.

Up to a point, saving money is constructive. You build up wealth so you can have nice things, or in my case, to budget for a spell of unemployment. You might want to have some to pass on to your children so they can have some nice things. They should still pay estate taxes, though.

Beyond a certain threshold of accumulation, money stops being useful. Once you have more money than you will ever be able to spend on nice things for your family, what’s the point? That amount of money under the control of one person doesn’t achieve anything except to make sure that money isn’t available to other people. Having allowed that much dough to pile up in your liquid assets is nothing to be proud of. If the tax structure makes it impossible for anyone to become a billionaire, that’s a good thing.

Show off your wealth by spreading it around.

Eat the Rich.

I decided to look around the Hermes website earlier today for fun. And browsing through their products, I was actually more surprised when I saw some items that were sort-of-reasonably priced.

It’s not that I expect upscale design-house merch to be affordable to plebes like me. I expect some relationship between what the item costs and what it has to offer the consumer. And when I see an office wastebasket—doesn’t even have solid sides!—costing $8200, I just want to know: why does this shit even exist?

The question should not be: “Why does this apparently not-rich person want to buy a $395 belt?” A better question would be: “Why does a rich person want to buy a $395 belt?” Why does the $395 belt even exist? Why is anyone making a product that costs so much to do so little?

I don’t think it’s morally wrong to have lots of money. (Up to a point. There’s no good reason to be a billionaire in any currency approaching the value of USD.) I don’t think the emphasis should be on making sure no one is allowed to accumulate wealth. I just think, if it seems like a good idea to spend thousands of dollars on a thing of which the cheaper version works at least as well, and even the best version of the thing doesn’t do all that much? Then you’re doing something wrong. Pay your employees (especially including domestic help) more, or give more to charity, or your tax rate should be raised.

Come the revolution, the people in possession of $4500 desk blotters will be first against the wall.