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From: Kragen Sitaker (
Date: Wed Aug 16 2000 - 14:10:13 PDT

Dave Long writes:
> Get enough beyond FUM, and it's merely Nice To Have Money.

Great quote.

> I'd bet many on FoRK have at least experienced the few orders
> of magnitude between 3 and 5 digits; that experience should
> show that life involves many activities for which time and
> attention matter more than money.

Going from earning five bucks an hour in a factory to earning several
times that as a sysadmin was quite significant to me, but I'm not sure
it was an improvement. The job was definitely an improvement.

Having more money gave me more choices. For example, I could eat
whenever I wanted, whatever I wanted, however much I wanted, even
outrageously uneconomic things like Twinkies from vending machines.
Consequently (and also as a result of sitting down all day, and eating
out and at vending machines at odd hours after not having eaten all
day) I expanded by 25%, to about 250 pounds, going from being somewhat
ectomorphic to being rather pot-bellied.

More choices is not always a good thing.

On the other hand, I could afford to travel by taxi; to buy new
bicycles; had I been injured or sick, I could have afforded health care
(although I also had medical insurance); I could afford to travel by
plane, although I didn't have as much spare time as before.

> . . . but we all get the same amount of time in our day, . . .

Money extends your life expectancy. Stephen Hawking would have been
dead for several years if he hadn't been able to afford the elaborate
medical care.

Money may or may not extend your actual life; anyone is vulnerable to
accidents, for example. I understand that transhumanists are trying to
fix this bug in reality. :)

> I doubt you'll find many billionaires (beyond those who have
> cause to believe they stand a good chance of soon needing to
> get into heaven) who would defend the statement that "there
> is a disutility to great wealth", but you probably will find
> several defending of "there's more to life than money".

I don't know about great wealth, but I can attest that there is a
downside to great intelligence. You never know whether people like you
because you're smart or because they actually like you as a human
being. They may not know either, and it's a complicated question in
any event.

I have heard that some wealthy people have the same problem, although I
don't know any billionaires personally.

<>       Kragen Sitaker     <>
Perilous to all of us are the devices of an art deeper than we ourselves
                -- Gandalf the Grey [J.R.R. Tolkien, "Lord of the Rings"]

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