Global Inequality or the Richest Houses in the DC Suburbs?

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Sometimes I just feel so much tension about the reality that I am as rich as I am.

Yes, although I drive a scrapped up, clanking 1999 Dodge mini van I am still rich. After all, I have TWO cars. I have a 1996 Honda too. Both just shy of 200,000 miles.

I am rich. In fact, I am in the top 1% of richest people on the earth.

Don’t get so worked up at the top 1%, guys. Although you might be a middle class American, you just might also be close to one of the richest people in the earth.

Where are you? Check yourself out here: http://globalrichlist.com/

I don’t think I feel tension as much because I am in the top one percent as I do about the fact that our wealth is sometimes squandered and it is so very unequally distributed.

For example, considering the squandering (yes, that just sounded so cool I had to use that phrase) . . .

I read this article recently, which again reminded me (as I am reminded every year when these studies come out) that, hey, I live in one of the most expensive areas of my country. Mine are the suburbs of Washington DC, which is also the least affordable city the United States (yes, of one of the richest countries in the world). Personally, I live in a lovely little older townhouse we are steadfastly trying to pay-off. But, you can’t be fooled by people living in townhouses. Some townhouses cost over half a million dollars! Actually, some of my friends who might even be reading this live in homes that cost over a million dollars.

Currently, the median home price in DC metro area is a whopping $345,000 (and $460,000 in DC itself). And some houses are just insanely expensive. Like Chateau La Vie, or what we affectionately call the “other white house,” is being sold for 32 million. We drive by both this private property and the real White House regularly, but I feel one is a little more accessible- even with the sequester going on- than the other.

 Here is another, which also resides up the Potomac from me, going for mere 45 million and is based on Paris’ Palace of Versailles:

I will not bore you with more expensive homes, but I wonder if the owners of these homes, which are undoubtedly in the U.S.’s top 1% even are aware of how rich they are in comparison to the impoverished around the corner, say, in the DC ghetto. Maybe they don’t think they are all that rich. Maybe they don’t understand how much more they can give.  Afterall, if you won a 45 million dollar home (and the ability to maintain it), would you keep it? Would you downgrade? Maybe whomever is selling it now is downgrading so he/she can buy the townhouse next door and be an example to me, giving away their money.

I guess what I am trying to say is, is that although it is so fun to judge the rich, I know people are judging me. In fact, 99% of the world is judging me, wondering why I am not sharing what I have with them.

But I am. At least I am trying. I am trying to be a person who becomes more and more generous while trying to figure out how to survive in the life I have found myself in.

Trust me, I am not trying to be all socialist. Please watch the 3 minute video before to help you understand how drastically the gap between the rich and the poor has become, especially as I know you will find yourself at the top of the gap.

I am not trying to change you and I am not telling you to sell everything (though Jesus, the guy I follow, actually said to do just that- to sell everything and give it to the poor).

I am just saying “Hey, this is the TRUTH. These statistics are telling the truth. We are all freaking rich. So, let’s share the tension we might have with this together. Then, in this context, we can challenge each other to live more generous lives.”

Are you willing to face the truth with me?

 Ideas for Action:

Comment on this post with your reaction to knowing how wealthy you or our country is.

Consider your own finances. Is this you? What Had I Done With All My Money?

Give generously to someone/something asking for something today, even if you are just starting with $5. Or if you feel more challenged, take on the Generosity Experiment.

Learn more from some organizations who really care about this, poverty in relationship to our wealth, in which you can learn more about the inequality which is the reality of our world:

Micah Challenge

Compassion International

 

Related Posts:

The Foreign Aid Myth (And Other Budget Stuff)

Awareness Resource On Poverty: Survive125

Understanding Terms for Poor Nations vs. Rich Nations

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2 Comments

  1. Comment by SusanNo Gravatar:

    It is easy forget how rich we are when we compare ourselves to our neighbors, or HGTV, or when the news is saying how badly things are going. And it is hard to take a look at yourself, your own spending, and think about what else we could be doing with that money. Thank you for opening our eyes!

  2. Comment by SarahNo Gravatar:

    I regularly battle the tension between “but everyone around me has more” and “I can’t beleive I am so rich when so many people don’t even have the basics. Education is important. This is such a pertinent post. Thanks for sharing.

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