Discuss: Is Hoarding Money A Mental Disease?

Hoarding anything beyond what you can possibly use under the most far-fetched assumptions is considered a mental disorder. We all know, and snicker at, people who hoard things.

So why do most people worship those who hoard money?

While anyone could use a few million, does your quality or duration of life improve if you have more money than that? In the world we live in, there is no objectively measurable or quantifiable parameter of good living that keeps on increasing after your net worth exceeds a few million dollars in usable money.

Even a Saudi prince uses the same iPhone 4 that I do, the fastest usable cars max out at 3-something seconds for a 0-60mph (0-100 kmph) acceleration, billionaires get old.. take the same drugs and do not outlive your typical upper middle-class person.

It made some sense to be filthy rich and powerful in previous eras when peasants had harsh, insecure and dirt poor lives. Being a feudal lord, nobility, king etc did allow you to enjoy things, conveniences and lifestyles few others had.

But that was then..

In our age, technology has caused massive deflation in the relative cost of things and services. There is no rational reason to do what was once custom- other than tradition or habit. It is obvious that human behavior and customs have not adjusted to this new reality.

Some of you might say that rich people use money as a counter of their self-worth. But then again, serial killers also use their victim count as a counter of their self-worth. We do not condone and forgive serial killers for doing something that is disruptive to everyone else- so why not apply that same standard to the rich.

PS: The rich and businesses do not create jobs- link 1, link 2.

Comments?

  1. April 1, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I think several studies have you shown that once you earn beyond a certain amount, roughly twice the average wage if I remember anything beyond that does bring more happiness or satisfaction.

    It’s hard to quantify happiness of course but it seems that, as with many other things, the law of diminishing returns applies.

  2. Ted
    April 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    There are two points to accumulating absurd wealth: Ego, and reproductive success.

    Most of us want to be the best at something. For a long time, Bill Gates was the best in the world at making money. That likely brought him far more joy than actually having that much money.

    The second one is a bit of an abstraction. No, having $10 billion won’t get you laid any more than having $1 billion. But it does provide more of a safety net for your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren… ad infinitum. If you have 5 kids, and none of them have the sense God gave a turnip, combined with a constant devaluation of currency, (and occasional complete crashes) your heirs could easily be broke within a generation or two. Sam Walton’s entire family today is worth less than his personal fortune before he died. As I recall, that’s not even adjusted for inflation. I could easily see some of his decedents being broke in 50 years, maybe less. If he’d stopped accumulating wealth at a “mere” half billion, he’d already have a few penniless grandchildren.

    I’m not arguing the moralistic correctness/incorrectness of the above. I’m only stating the way I see it.

    As for why others “worship” the filthy rich, I have far less insight. I really don’t envy them.

  3. April 2, 2011 at 3:52 am

    Who’s happier: a billionaire who suddenly loses it all and becomes a “mere” millionaire… or a poor working class man who suddenly inherits a hundred grand?

  4. April 2, 2011 at 3:59 am

    AdvoCUNTus, I have lost tens of thousands in health care expenses even though I live in a country with a nominally ‘socialized’ health care system. If you truly believe saving money is bad, I challenge you to put your money where your mouth is, and transfer your surplus to me (I will set up a PayPal account). Either pay up or shut up.

  5. Webe
    April 2, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Throughout human history, it has been proved that power simply whets the appetite for more, like drinking sea water. Money and power are interchangeable today.
    In America there is the quixotic ideology that you can have political equality and liberty without any concommitant economic equitabaility. This is plainly nuts.

    Precisely.. political equality requires less economic inequality.

    Most societies tend to be more vigorous and prosperous the more equitable they are.
    In early/primitive societies, hoarding wealth instead of sharing it with others to have a good time was usually considered evidence that somebody was up to no good, possibly a witch, surely in cahoots with the dark side, complotting against the rest.

  6. PT Barnum
    April 2, 2011 at 9:46 am

    While anyone could use a few million, does your quality or duration of life improve if you have more money than that? In the world we live in, there is no objectively measurable or quantifiable parameter of good living that keeps on increasing after your net worth exceeds a few million dollars in usable money.

    That’s why the majority of truly rich people are mentally ill. Because only the mentally ill would continue to seek wealth after a certain point.

    • April 2, 2011 at 10:21 pm

      Behold the socialist definition of “rich”: “Someone who has more money than I do”

      • FalconFour
        February 20, 2012 at 7:28 am

        Oh, that old, pathetic argument of “envy”. It’s tired, pointless, and I’m sick of hearing it. No, the point here is that it’s far more money than anyone can reasonably put to any use whatsoever. Socialist? No. That’s a term waved around by unintelligent wingnuts to bash a category of thought that your type likes to “line up and shoot” with an umbrella term that you snap into play with the drop of a hat. Grow up an learn the meaning of “socialism”. Hint: it’s not looking at someone that caused the financial meltdown with their greed that walked away unscathed, and saying there’s something wrong in their heads that despite destroying thousands of lives, they still want more money…

  7. PT Barnum
    April 2, 2011 at 9:50 am

    AdvoCUNTus, I have lost tens of thousands in health care expenses even though I live in a country with a nominally ‘socialized’ health care system. If you truly believe saving money is bad, I challenge you to put your money where your mouth is, and transfer your surplus to me (I will set up a PayPal account). Either pay up or shut up.

    Did you seriously just compare 20,000 dollars with 10,000,000 dollars?

    I understand people who want 10,000 dollars in the bank. Or 100,000 dollars in the bank. After that point, you need to begin weighing what you are giving up to get 200,000 dollars or 300,000 dollars.

    In any case, in a post where he started with “if you have 1,000,000 dollars, how does more money increase your quality of life”…. talking about 10,000 is trash.

    • April 2, 2011 at 10:23 pm

      See my comment above. Why do YOU not donate your suprlus wealth to those impoverished millions who life off of $1 per day? Oh wait, you are not “truly rich”; only those who have X amount of dollars (number pulled out of your ass), where X is greater than your wealth, are “truly rich”.

      • PT Barnum
        April 2, 2011 at 10:45 pm

        If you have enough money that you will never have to work again in your entire life and can travel around and have fun to a reasonable point, then that is a big, massive difference than 99% of the population.

        If you have 10x that amount…. then I guess you have a bigger house and a slightly better car.

        The improvement in quality of life in the first step is way larger than in the second.

        Of course, who am I to point out objective reality to a delusional crazy animal.

        I don’t know, who am I to do that?

      • April 2, 2011 at 11:05 pm

        You are describing the law of diminishing returns. However, the exact same reasoning applies to your own wealth: your probably have it much better than those billions living in squalor.

        to a reasonable point
        Who are you to decide what is a “reasonable point”?

        If you have 10x that amount…. then I guess you have a bigger house and a slightly better car.
        If you spend it on houses and cars, then you are not really “hoarding” it (which was the topic of this post).

      • PT Barnum
        April 2, 2011 at 11:23 pm

        You are describing the law of diminishing returns. However, the exact same reasoning applies to your own wealth: your probably have it much better than those billions living in squalor.

        First, there are at least one billion people that have it as good or better than the median American quality of life.

        Basically, everyone living in Europe. So spare me the “privilege” non-sense.

        It is also self-evident that people don’t want to live in conditions where they could die. So everyone would draw the line above poverty.

        It is also self-evident that everyone doesn’t like work… that much. However, many people work even though they don’t have to. So people with enough money to never work again have already got it better than some people “really” want.

        However, you have gotten me curious.

        What gain in comfort, or even gross excess, want actual improvement is gained in the persons life after the first 10,000,000 dollars?

        If you spend it on houses and cars, then you are not really “hoarding” it (which was the topic of this post).

        In any case, you have pointed out that what you are actually defending is gaining money solely to bury it in the ground. To never actually do anything with it. Getting money for the sake of getting money and no other reason at all.

        That’s isn’t diminishing marginal returns, that is no returns. And when someone does something that doesn’t benefit himself in any way, solely to do it, then that is called Obsessive-Compulsive and is indeed a mental disorder. There is no “line” when the value of the additional money is ZERO.

      • April 3, 2011 at 12:09 am

        “there are at least one billion people that have it as good or better than the median American quality of life.

        Exactly, you have not explained why those should people be allowed to keep their wealth, and people richer than them should not.

        “So everyone would draw the line above poverty.”

        What is poverty? You have still not provided OBJECTIVE reasons why the line should be drawn ABOVE your own wealth, other than your own envy.

        The following are facts about persons defined as “poor” by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:
        * Forty-six percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
        * Seventy-six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
        * Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
        * The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
        * Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.
        * Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
        * Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
        * Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.

        So people with enough money to never work again have already got it better than some people “really” want.

        If you were to move to a slum with the money you currenly own, you too would not have to work again.

        “What gain in comfort, or even gross excess, want actual improvement is gained in the persons life after the first 10,000,000 dollars?” [...] what you are actually defending is gaining money solely to bury it in the ground. To never actually do anything with it. Getting money for the sake of getting money and no other reason at all.”

        Wealth is NOT determined by the amount of money people own, but by its purchasting power. Purchasing power is determined by the ratio between the total amount of products (goods and services) in society and the total amount of money. Wealth (the purchasing power of money) can ONLY be increased in two ways, either by (1) decreasing the amount of money or (2) increasing the number of goods and services.

        Rich people can hoard money, which removes money from circulation, thereby increasing the wealth of the remaining population. This counterintuitive economic fact is opposed to the evolutionery-psychological intuition that not sharing stuff with the rest of the tribe impoverishes them — which is why it is totally ironic that A.D. keeps using the term “zero sum”; he needs to loop up what it means: wanting to confiscate rich people wealth is based on the ZERO SUM notion that one person’s gain is another person’s loss. On the contrary, distributing hoarded (unused) money over the rest of the population would merely cause price inflation.

        If, on the otehr hand, rich people do not hoard the money but use it for saving and investing, than this increases the number of goods and services. Increasing productivity of a population can ONLY be accomplished in two ways: (a) division of labor, and (b) capital accumulation (saving and investing). Taxing wealth necessarily decreases the division of labor and necessarily decreases capital accumulation.

        And besides, there is no such this as mental illness, because there is no such thing as health.

  8. April 2, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    A mental disease? Let’s talk about mental diseases…
    You always have the rich in your crosshairs.
    “How dare they make money and not share it with me!”
    Instead of being so angry, take some initiative and go out and make your own money.
    To answer your question, though…
    Not a mental disease. It’s called survival of the fittest. Money goes a long way toward that. That’s why everyone wants it. The people that say it’s a bad thing believe they do not intrinsically possess the power to get it for themselves.
    Sour Grapes. Yet again.

    • PT Barnum
      April 2, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      Even your base sentences and grammar are the delusional ravings of a madman.

      Like this:
      “How dare they make money and not share it with me!””

      They “make” “money”. No a printing press “makes” money. Did you mean wealth? As in tangible value? Oh oh, we are approaching reality, and thus dangerous ground here, aren’t we?

      And you don’t mean “make” either. A scientist who makes an invention and receives 0.001% of the profits makes wealth. An artist, who receives 0.1% of the real profits from his song makes wealth.

      You mean those who acquire wealth. Notice how the word acquire doesn’t assume that they “made” the wealth, or stole it, or found it lying on the ground.

      That makes it an unbiased statement, as compared to your delusional raving.

      Now, if they happened to have acquired their wealth from, for example, me, say through government bailouts, as a wild an implausible example, then I might wonder why they deserve ONE SINGLE PENNY of the money they have acquired. I might even imagine that they should be in jail for the acquisition of wealth.

      Did reality give you a boo-boo?

    • April 19, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      that’s ASSuming wealth is EARNED in one lifetime, much wealth is in the family for ages. If the wealth comes from, say, slavetraders, is that really ethical?

      Yes, Advipoops is a jealous person but still, it really isn’t “an equal playingfeild.”

  9. PT Barnum
    April 3, 2011 at 8:44 am

    For example, if a wealthy person invests his money in US Senators in order to gain a monopoly, driving more efficient competitor out of business, then he has improved the wealth of everyone else.

    You still haven’t explained why hoarding money without any intent to use it for anything isn’t a mental disease. And while the hoarding itself, if only and entirely paper money, may in theory not cause problems, the actions taken in order to hoard the precious most certainly can cause problems. See buying Senator example.

    You are also lying why you say “poor people own their own homes”. First, your numbers are made up lies. Second, they “own” a mortgage. That is a debt note that may very well be greater than the value of the home.

    • April 3, 2011 at 9:07 am

      If a wealthy person gives his money to US Senators in order to gain a monopoly, than this is not an “investment” in the sense economists use, but bribery, and obviously I am opposed to that. I am in no way defending wealth that was acquired though bribery, bailouts, and other forms of corruption.

      You still haven’t explained why hoarding money without any intent to use it for anything isn’t a mental disease.
      Like I said, because there is no such thing as mental illness. The mistaken notion of illness is based on the mistaken notion of health, which in turn is based on the mistaken idea that humans have some kind of Aristotelian teleology. “Mental illness” is just another term people abuse for behaviors, thoughs and emotions they do not approve of.

      In any case, who cares? Even if someone has such a thing as a “mental illness”, this does not justify punishing them by taxation.

      First, your numbers are made up lies.
      I resent that claim, and will no longer continue this conversation.

      Second, they “own” a mortgage. That is a debt note that may very well be greater than the value of the home.
      So what?

      • PT Barnum
        April 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm

        If a wealthy person gives his money to US Senators in order to gain a monopoly, than this is not an “investment” in the sense economists use, but bribery, and obviously I am opposed to that. I am in no way defending wealth that was acquired though bribery, bailouts, and other forms of corruption.

        And yet you are in every way defending them. You are so aggressive in your defense that you refuse to even acknowledge the existence of criminal behavior until called on it.

        Then, you simply make some jackass declaration, with no solutions offered, and expect that to be “good enough”.

        Well, doing a little dance and then going right back to defending the criminals is NOT good enough.

        “First, your numbers are made up lies.”

        I resent that claim, and will no longer continue this conversation.

        The proud liar who grows angry at his stupid lies being questioned?

        I’ve seen that before.

        “Second, they “own” a mortgage. That is a debt note that may very well be greater than the value of the home.”

        So what?

        And yet more lies and pretended stupidity.

      • April 4, 2011 at 8:18 am

        Take your ad hominems somewhere else, jackass.

      • FalconFour
        February 20, 2012 at 7:33 am

        Plague Doctor: reading over your comments, it’s clear you are a politically brainwashed fool. Just thought you might want a third party perspective on that matter.

  10. andros
    April 12, 2011 at 7:22 am

    I’d be extremely careful talking about money on the Internet, and especially about taking claims from anons seriously. Statistically speaking, these men with six-figure incomes to lavishly throw around cannot possibly congregate all in one place; they are an extremely small subset of the American population. Always keep that fact in mind.

  11. Peter
    October 5, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    People who have made a fortune of billions of dollars or mansions with 24 rooms… They always cause a smile in other people. Didn’t they ever say, after the first million, “it’s enough”? and retire? Do they rather spend their time at the office than be with their families? Then consider the insecurity and anxiety of loosing it all at a mouse-click or a bad decision. Or, those with the mansion, have so many visiting family or friends? Why don’t they just buy a hotel? Now, as we have all seen, if you have so much money you get bored with much free time on your hands so you take up boozing, sniffing and injecting and simply die from an overdose. And they all look extremely unhappy.

  12. April 19, 2013 at 6:35 am

    Rich people hoard 99% of their wealth just to siphon off 3-5% interest.
    How much do they need?!
    How much is enough?!
    Instead of income tax, or sales tax, how about a 50% hoard tax, or holding tax, over $100,000.00,
    If you invest your wealth in stocks, bonds, land, art, gold, etc…, you get taxed annually, on your wealth. Every one would be exempt from paying on one home, car, and cash under $100,000.00 the ultra rich would soon give away much of their wealth, rather than pay 50% tax on millions of invested dollars, and then they would stop chasing after more.
    There is plenty of wealth for everyone on our planet, when the top 5% stop hoarding it.
    Peace.

  13. Sajjad Khan
    March 9, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    i say this with utmost sincerity. Not imposing any morality or right/wrong about the debate of what is enough with respect to monetary wealth, but from reading many of the comments it is wonderful to see the thought and rationality of both sides that many of you have displayed.

  1. April 3, 2011 at 1:25 am

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