Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Investing your surplus

An important concept for those with middle class upbringing to remember. Someone in the comments mentions that one reason for lower levels of savings among poorer people is that relatives "come out of the woodwork" looking for money. That's one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at this behavior, which is common among people living in subsistence, is as an investment in social capital. From the middle class point of view, when you have surplus, the best thing to do is make a personal investment--buy stocks or a house. From a lower class perspective, the best use of surplus is to give it away to those around you who need it. You act as a safety net for others, and they in turn will act as a safety net for you in the future (ideally).

I once heard a professor say that according to the Gospel of Luke, the only legitimate use for surplus is giving it away. It's easy to believe that when you read a passage like this.

1 comment:

Special K said...

Wow, these were great ideas (well, all but a few that just enraged me at their ignorance or apathy)!