Are the Rich Necessary – A Non Book Review

October 10, 2007

Do you ever drive through a neighborhood with million dollar homes and wonder what the people that own them do for a living?  Do you ever look at Berkshire Hathaway stock and think to yourself “how in the world did Warren Buffet make all that money”? 

Rich people are a bit of a mystery to many of us.  I’ve never viewed the world from their perspective and sometimes find myself begrudging them for their success and vast resources.  I mean come on, who isn’t jealous of rich people now and then?  But without them, how would our economy survive?  Despite our occasionally envy of them, are they necessary to make the financial world go round?

Hunter Lewis recently released a book that discusses the question Are the Rich Necessary? I was given an advance copy of the book by the publisher to read and review but simply ran out of time.  There is an interesting review of the book by Thomas Kostigen on MarketWatch and another by Lisa Von Ahn from Reuters.

If you’re interested in reading the book, I’m giving away my copy.  Leave a comment on whether you think the rich are necessary or not. I’ll randomly select one commenter and send them my copy.  You might check out the articles first for some food for thought. Rich people shouldn’t leave comments, they can afford to buy their own copy : ) Just kidding of course, I’d like to hear perspectives from all sides.  Maybe we can get the rich Millionaire Mommy Next Door to lend her thoughts.


Will this article help you save or earn more money? Get others like it simply by entering your email address below. Your email is used only for delivering daily money tips and you can opt out of delivery at any time. Click here to see all your free subscription options.


Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

All posts by


15 Responses to Are the Rich Necessary – A Non Book Review

  • bill

    Baring inheritance or winning the lottery, the so-called rich are rich because they took risks; they didn’t follow a pre-set formula laid out for them like employers have for their employees. Working for someone else is generally a recipe for mediocrity and making just a living.

  • Arlene

    There is no way, rhyme, nor reason that the rich are necessary. They are sort of in the way of everybody else, sucking it all up. I read somewhere that the if the whole world were a pizza with 6 slices, the richest 500 families would divide up 3 slices, the next richest group the next 2 slices, and then that last slice is for all the rest of us. Some day, please God, this will change.

  • Lazy Man

    I started reading this book and I liked it, but I got distracted by another book I was sent and didn’t get past page 50. Thanks for reminding me to go back to it.

  • The Happy Rock

    I think voluntary communism would be the most ideal solution, but I don’t think that could happen on a large scale with all of humanities foibles.

    I suspect the book is a dissection of the free market theory, but I wonder if there would be rich people without greed and selfish ambition?

  • Millionaire Mommy Next Door

    Interesting question. I think your previous commentors gave some great answers.

    Despite having enough money that I no longer need to work for a living, I’m not so rich that I live any differently than any average American. I live in a very ordinary house in a very ordinary neighborhood and drive a very ordinary 10-year-old car. Most of my friends and all of my neighbors would be surprised to learn that I’m a millionaire. But I’m rich enough that I can afford to spend my days doing what I choose to do.

    One of the things I choose to do now with my free time is serve as a volunteer. While I’ve always done this before, I now have the free time to offer more.

    Reading the articles you mentioned in your post, I think the author’s idea that the rich be given the option to give a portion of their taxes to non-profits directly is an intriguing one.

    Hmmm. I’ll have to think about this question some more and get back to you again.

  • JB

    Patrick summed up my sentiments. You have to look at how many of the rich got that way—through innovation and their contributions in growing some of the world’s biggest companies.

  • cash advance

    Everybody like to be rich, But I think a person who can fulfill all his needs is rich and it is necessary. But more then this give birth to the unnecessary tension.

  • electrical-storm

    Without the rich, there’d be no poor. Without the poor, there’d be no rich.

  • MoneyNing

    The rich is necessary just like the poor is. The rich drives the economy at a much bigger scale than the poor because they can buy one thing that cost the same as the poor buying 500 things so the economy without the rich would shrink to almost nothing (comparatively).

  • FinanceAndFat

    That is a really thought provoking title.

    Are the rich necessary? I don’t know. They are as necessary as the poor. Are the poor necessary? There has to be rich and poor in a capitalist system. Really I think the book is asking the wrong question. Either every part of the economy is necessary or none is.

  • Jeremie

    Damn right they are needed. I want to become one! Most millionaires are teachers. They don’t want to horde the wealth for themselves. People just need to realize that investing correctly goes a long way. Invest early and don’t diversify your profits are the ways that my richest friend became a millionaire.

  • Patrick

    I will pass on reading the other reviews first and go out on a limb with my opinion. Yes, the rich are necessary. I could list about 100 reasons (or write a book) about why… But I will limit it to 3:

    1. Rich people spend money. The money they spend provides jobs both directly for the services they provide them, and indirectly for the goods they purchase.
    2. Rich people are often get that way because they made innovations and took risk. Cars, computer technology, and other innovations have made hundreds of people rich and literally changed the way we live and our society functions.
    3. Rich people are often the people who give the most. Thousands of libraries, museums, concert halls, research centers, universities, and other programs have benefitted from rich benefactors. Their contributions have been able to accomplish things that would otherwise go undone. From Carnegie and Rockefeller, to Gates and Buffet, our nation (and the world) has gained a lot from rich philanthropists.

    Sorry that was so long… Maybe I should have written it as a post on my site!

  • Jim

    The rich are absolutely necessary. Who do you think are responsible for running most businesses? Granted, many people start small business on a shoestring and run them profitably, but the vast majority of mid-size and large business require substantial capital in order to successfully operate.

    Let’s not forget about the unbelievable philanthropy of the ultra rich – people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Granted, we could all probably survive without their generous contributions and donations, but it’s people like them who make the world a better place. I personally cannot wait until I’m in a similar position and have the resources and opportunities available to invest in charities and my community.


  • Personal Finance Review - Count Your Blessings Edition » Money Smart Life
  • Free Money Finance