Billionaire Charlie Munger thinks we must always all be rather a lot happier.
Munger, the longtime investment partner and friend of fellow billionaire Warren Buffett, says he doesn’t understand why people today aren’t more content with what they’ve, especially in comparison with harder times throughout history.
“Individuals are less completely satisfied in regards to the state of affairs than they were when things were way tougher,” Munger said earlier this 12 months at the annual meeting of the Each day Journal, the newspaper company where he’s a director.
The 98-year-old noted that he got here of age within the Thirties, when Americans in every single place were struggling: “It’s weird for any individual my age, because I used to be in the midst of the Great Depression when the hardship was unbelievable.”
During that annual meeting, Munger complained that envy is a driving factor for too many individuals today. Before the early 1800s, there have been 1000’s of years where “life was pretty brutal, short, limited and what have you ever. [There was] no printing press, no air con, no modern medicine,” he said.
If nothing else, Munger’s sense of widespread envy in today’s world is likely to be right on the cash: Recent studies show that roughly 75% of persons are envious of another person in any given 12 months.
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Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are especially effective at sparking feelings of envy or jealousy, often connecting us with individuals who only offer highly curated peeks into the positive developments of their lives.
On the meeting, Munger pointed to the work of Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, who has argued that the standard of life around the globe has improved dramatically over the past century or two, citing evidence corresponding to longer life expectancies and reduced global poverty.
Critics of Pinker’s work say his views are overly simplified and blind to negative facets of contemporary life, from growing wealth inequality to the continuing existence of violence and political instability — aspects that may still cause real suffering.
In 2019, Munger downplayed the results of wealth and income inequality, and claimed that the politicians who were “screaming about it are idiots.”
Some politicians, like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have called for tax increases on the ultra-wealthy in recent times. Munger and his estimated net price of $2.2 billion would likely be subject to those increases.
The billionaire has expressed skepticism about higher taxes on the rich up to now, even arguing last 12 months that some inequality is a crucial aspect of a free market economy. On the Each day Journal’s annual meeting this 12 months, he added that almost all people’s concerns over wealth inequality and criticisms of the extremely wealthy were “motivated” by envy.
“I am unable to change the proven fact that a whole lot of persons are very unhappy and feel very abused after every part’s improved by about 600%, because there’s still any individual else who has more,” Munger said.
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Don’t miss: Billionaire investor Charlie Munger: ‘The world isn’t driven by greed, it’s driven by envy’