Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Brooke Astor Noblesse Oblige Personified

Brooke Astor Used Her Millions To Help Society

We live in a time of self interest. Everyone trying to make a living, trying to make as much money as possible. For most it means just making ends meet, but for a small percentage it means keeping score.

No one has to mention the degree of disparity of wealth in the United States, or the world. A small percentage of people are rich beyond imagination while most are just getting by. In decades past that may have created a smidgen of guilt in those well to do, and perhaps inspired them to do good deeds. Easier it is to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the gates of heaven. It is difficult to serve two masters.

Gordon Gekko's Greed Is Good Philosophy Appeals To Many

"The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed -- for lack of a better word -- is good.

Greed is right.

Greed works.

Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

Greed, in all of its forms -- greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind.

And greed -- you mark my words -- will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA".

YouTube: Gordon Gekko Exemplifies Self Interest Above All Else

As the American economic empire of the late nineteenth, and twentieth centuries grew so too did the accumulated fortunes of the elite families. Fabulous fortunes were passed down one generation to another. Most inheriting this amount of wealth came to conclude that they deserved their riches simply because they were born into a well to do family. However, some came to the conclusion that they were just lucky.

It was the combination of a sense of good fortune paired with the twinge of guilt that led many of these more enlightened elites onto the path of Noblesse Oblige. These individuals decided that they wanted to do something with their money other than buy another Mansion.

Brooke Astor married into money, however she could have wasted her good fortune believing that she was somehow special for having hundreds of millions of dollars. Instead she chose to spend her fortune on helping cultural institutions, as well as smaller projects, in New York City.

I haven't been to New York in decades, and I'll probably not return, but just knowing of the good Brooke Astor has done for the people of New York gives me hope that people do indeed have a chance after all.

Brooke Astor passed away yesterday at age 105. For having dedicated your golden years, and your hundreds of millions of dollars to the betterment of mankind I dedicate this post to your memory.

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