Yes, Millionaires do Work

Where money comes from

August 17, 2022

I recently found myself observing friends playing a game of Codenames. Codenames is a word association game where there is a set of 25 words or so and one member of a team gives a one word hint to their teammates who are then supposed to guess which of the words on the board their teammate was referring to, it's a good game and you should play it if you get the chance.

In the game I was observing the word millionaire was on the board and the clue "work" was given and the team decided that millionaire couldn't have been the word that was being referred to because millionaires don't work and as someone who has crossed paths with some of the world's poorest people along with people who have done quite well for themselves, better than I probably will, and I can say that with that perspective the statement "millionaires don't work" is not representative of reality.

Probably the best way for you to understand this without having my lived experience would be to read Atlas Shrugged (which should be required reading for people wishing to know how the world works). But I recognize that you probably aren't going to read a 1200 page book just because I told you to so I'll simply point you to Francisco D'Anconia's monologue on the meaning of money (I'd quote the whole thing here but it is like twenty pages) where we learn that money is a representation of value gained by providing value to society through industry, or in other words work. In a healthy capitalist society it is to gain money outside of work.

Unfortunately we don't live in a healthy society of any sort so there are plenty of looters who gain money by, as D'Anconia puts it, exercising pull, profiting off of the work of others through manipulating people in backroom deals and other things like that. This is where people like Nancy Pelosi, Hunter Biden, Dick Cheney, and Jeffrey Epstein (who did not kill himself) amassed their fortunes. Then there are also people who get rich doing things other people don't see as real work like playing music or streaming video games, the Dire Straits song Money for Nothing communicates this quite well.

It is people like these that are most often pictured when the word millionaire is said because they are the ones who are the most visible. These millionaires who don't work are the ones who gave the rest of them a bad reputation, it is because of these looters that so many people in my generation believe that the rich don't contribute their mythical fair share to society. But these looters probably only represent less than one percent of millionaires, the rest of them gained their wealth the right way.

The richest man I know told me that he was able to do so well for himself because when it was a workday he got out of bed, put his pants on and went to work. In nearly all circumstances this simple habit is the most important part of being successful. Of course if you want to become wealthy you'll also have to take some risks, but in most cases risk taking is not necessary to live a good middle class life as long as you are willing to work.

I feel like the world would be a better place if more people had the opportunity to socially interact with the wealthy. If this were the case more people would understand that money comes from work and that there is no reason to vilify people that work.