Rich people are always a worry to me. No matter how you look at them many are basically grabbing as much for themselves, regardless of the circumstances of those they take the money from. A recent example of this is the behaviour of a rich Australian who used money from one of his companies to set up his own electoral party about 3 years ago. After he was elected to Parliament he got out of the company, except apparently as a share holder, and it has now been put into administration, leaving many of his workers with unpaid wages and families to support. In spite of his wealth from his other companies and his Parliamentary salary he feels no compulsion to pay the money they are owed.

This is in huge contrast to many others who quietly give often large amounts of their money to help others in a variety of fields. Some do it not very quietly, seeking public adulation, and others keep quite a large part of their money for themselves, continuing to lead lavish lifestyles, with large houses, large boats and private planes.

I was reminded of all this when I recently watched a documentary on the development of the British rail system. Because of the economic development this presented, so many of the builders accrued wealth. From this they seemed to feel it necessary to leave their creations as a legacy to the country for the future. Train stations, which today we regard as mere necessities, were frequently magnificent architectural structures which has left a lasting legacy to the ensuing generations for centuries to come. We often don’t know the names of those who built them, we can just enjoy and admire this legacy they left us.

With so much of the world living in poverty and the rich getting richer, are today’s rich people changing their attitude towards what they could/should do with their money? Are they more concerned with their own comfort, spending their money on transient objects such as planes or boats, rather than leaving a more lasting legacy? Are we moving into a world where ‘I’ is the most important commodity. Maybe today’s rich people are not so different from those who invested their money in expensive tombs and other artefacts to help them in the next life. If only we knew if there is a next life and what it is like. Will we all be called to account for what we have and what we spend our money on? Are we really our brother’s keepers and should we be helping them, and the rest of humanity? I suspect this would be a very different world if we knew!