Do you know where wealth comes from

Where does wealth come from? Is it doled out from the government? Does it begin with entrepeneurs? Does it originate in the hearts and minds of enterprising people? Does it grow up from the ground, to be harvested by farmers? Does it lie inside the earth, to be uncovered by miners? Is it flowing in the rivers and tides, to be captured by engineers? Is wealth residing in the gray matter between your ears? Is it somewhere between your legs? Does it arrive as a monthly check in your mailbox? Does wealth await you in a golden bowl at the end of a rainbow?

This wintry morning, I ponder these questions while caught up in the current philosophical conundrum that seeks to discover the key to a productive life. Glimpsing into the lives of a few different people whom I know or have known, I find:
Person #1: “Jan” has had some bad luck. Jan is single, but was once married. Jan has kids, but sees them only occasionally. Jan has a disability, and collects money from monthly checks that come in the mailbox. Jan enjoys smoking cigarettes and watching TV.
Person #2: “Pat” has made some constructive choices. Pat has had a faithful spouse for many years, and a few children who are now grown. Pat has operated a small business for many years, employing an average of five or so people for most of those years, although the business is now quite slow. Pat also has a home-based craft/hobby which may contain some income-generating potential.
Person #3: “Michel” works as a dishwasher at a restaurant, and has done so for many years. Michel was married for a long time, and helped to raise spouse’s kids from a previous union. In the spare time, Michel enjoys smoking cigarettes and watching TV.
Person #4: “Yves” is a professor, teaching business courses at a large university. Yves has tenure, and is generally well-regarded by students and faculty. Yves is divorced, has no children. But Yves always has some hot prospects. Yves enjoys skiing in winter and boating in summer, and appreciates wines.
Person #6: “Jo” has been a shift supervisor for many years with a large apparel-manufacturing company, but Jo was laid-off about a year ago. Being on extended unemployment benefits has been an ordeal for Jo because Jo’s identity was all tied up in the position at work. Jo has never married, but enjoys fooling around and likes beer.

Which one of these individuals has the best chances of producing wealth and enjoying it? Why?
I’m wondering about this as I prepare to go and dig the car out of the snow.
Perhaps wealth is like a loaf of bread that you can break or slice and pass among friends. It may be a fine wine that is savored from the brim to the dregs. Wealth could be like, you know, dessert–you can have your cake and eat it too.
Who knows, wealth may be just a state of mind. If you have any thoughts to share about this situation, please let me know.


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