Wealth and luxury through the ages

Kingdoms have given way to governments, societal rules have changed over time. Traditions slowly lost upon our modern world. However, wealth has always been a constant. The rich want to stay rich and those who have not made their riches, seek them. It has become the universal goal of humankind. From fables born of the past, to the news of today, everyone loves a good rags to riches story. It allows people from all walks of like to believe that perhaps such luck might one day befall them too.

Perhaps it has to do with the association of power through wealth. History proves that one may be powerful without great riches, but with great riches comes substantial power. Money can buy access, convenience, it can even buy loyalties – which is why corruption runs rampant.

Let us take a look at the commercial success of Forbes, an American magazine which was once valued at several billion dollars and tells us exactly how much stock is put into wealth. We not only want to gain it, we want to read about it, we want to know who is the richest. True to form, Forbes has continued to publish its Richest List online and is still actively sharing reports on financing, investing and other marketing topics. But even they are not invulnerable to using underhanded tactics in order to make a quick buck.

However, according to USA Today, after being digitalized, Forbes has operated as a contributor platform, open for laudatory articles to be circulated about brands or companies which are working together with them. Even banks are not above employing certain sneakiness when it comes to money managing. However, nobody in the industry does it better than retailers.

In reports shown on Business Insider, the many tricks used to force consumers to spend, are apparent in the trends set by giant corporations. One example of this is Apple and its introduction of the eight-pin Lightning connector. This forced consumers to re-accessorize, and in turn, replenish their funds. Another subtle way of ensuring that sales remain high even with a drop in the interest, is replacing fewer amounts such as Kellogg’s cereal, which has been losing ounce after ounce of product and when confronted, replied with, “Some package sizes have been reduced due to high commodity prices and other related costs. We do this instead of raising the price of our products, as it allows us to keep our food available to more people.” However, the packaging has remained the same, it was the contents that shrunk.

Money has a tendency to bring out the worst. In the previous generation, there were fewer swindlers and more people who would be paid for an honest day’s work. However, the current situation has big developers cutting corners, manufacturers using lower cost substitutes and in effect, producing less quality. Perhaps there were more thieves in the past, but now, the thieves have evolved from robbing one in the dead of the night, in an abandoned alley, to blatant daylight robbery.

The thieving life has been portrayed by many movies from the exciting and ostentatious Ocean’s Eleven, about a group of criminals that perform heists with a moral code – do not hurt, do not steal from the worthy and have fun, to light-hearted Fun with Dick and Jane. The motivation is always crystal clear: attain riches and live happily with little to no consequences.

However, in the real world, most thieves steal to sell, not perform one heist in order to live comfortably for the rest of their lives. It becomes a way of life. The honest man goes to office to work while a dishonest one finds ways so he does not need to put in the hours, with higher risks and a bigger payout. While they used to operate in shady locales, melting jewelry on the stop to avoid being caught, the internet has opened a world of possibilities for them and allowed them to sell online.

There are plenty of marketplaces that do not require identification in order to sell. To be truly anonymous, one could go on a site that only handle transactions through cryptocurrency. There have been instances of cars, jewelry, antiques and the like being tracked down through pawn shops as they likely have a working relationship with the police act as a buffer against stolen goods.

Rings, such as the one stolen from celebrity Kim Kardashian, are hard to offload – especially due to the attention it has received, being the property of someone famous would make it highly recognizable. However, there are theories that the ring was stolen on orders. Moreover, if the thieves had truly wanted to sell it, they would have the break it into smaller pieces and therefore lower its value.

While there are those who live simple and happy lives, far from the reaches of monetary greed, there are much more struggling to make a comfortable difference, to afford luxuries and vacations all year round. We fight hard for money because we want things we do not have. We spend our lives chasing paper, just so that we may lead the lives we dream of and many will never achieve. Unless you marry it.


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