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World is ‘driven by envy,’ not ‘greed’

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Billionaire investor Charlie Munger says he’s never cared about comparing his riches to the cash of others.

Quite, he says his motivation in accumulating wealth has all the time been about securing independence, the liberty to do what he wishes in business and in life — and he wishes more people would follow his example.

“The world just isn’t driven by greed. It’s driven by envy,” Munger said on the annual meeting of the Every day Journal, the newspaper company where he’s a director, earlier this yr.

The 98-year-old, who has amassed a fortune that Forbes estimates at $2.2 billion, added that it is simple, and customary, for people to develop into envious. Irrespective of how much some people have, another person will all the time have more, he noted.

It is a sentiment that Munger has expressed previously, and one he’s previously attributed to his longtime friend and investment partner, Warren Buffett. But Munger seems confident that he’s overcome the tendency himself.

“I actually have conquered envy in my very own life. I do not envy anybody,” Munger said. “I do not give a rattling what another person has. But other individuals are driven crazy by it.”

After all, it’s easier to say that while you’re a billionaire. Forbes lists greater than 1,300 other billionaires with larger fortunes than his — including Buffett, who has an estimated net price of $106 billion — but Munger’s wealth remains to be good enough to make sure he would want for nothing.

In 2017, Munger said in an interview that he all the time tries to avoid feelings of “envy and jealousy” in business. Those sorts of thoughts can hurt your profession, because you will be more prone to make biased decisions that might end up poorly, he added.

In 2019, he spoke out against envy again, telling CNBC that avoiding envy is one in every of the “easy” secrets to living a protracted and glad life.

Indeed, a 2018 study that found people driven by envy usually tend to experience poorer mental health and well-being. The rise of social media has also been criticized for feeding into people’s feelings of envy and materialism — by continuously offering windows into the lives of people that either have, or appear to have, particularly luxurious lives.

Envy is solely “built into the character of things,” Munger said on the Every day Journal’s meeting. The billionaire added that he cannot understand why people today aren’t more content with what they’ve, especially compared to hard times previous generations endured.

Munger himself lived through the Great Depression, and cited poorer living conditions and shorter lifespans way back to the 1800s as examples of how far humanity has come.

“The incontrovertible fact that everybody’s five times higher off than they was once, they take that with no consideration,” Munger said. “All they consider is any individual else [has] more now, and it isn’t fair that he must have it and so they don’t.”

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