Types of Rich People

There are gradations in between, but I think it’s helpful to consider that there are three basic types of rich people:

A. There are the greedy rich — people who may be extremely rich but are more interested in wielding power and showing off how rich they are and getting even richer, and care little or nothing for the common good. Trump is an example of this type, and, sadly, so are many — probably most –- billionaires and multi-billionaires.

B. There are rich people who aren’t in thrall to the trappings of wealth and feel an obligation to shed much of their fortune to benefit society. Mackenzie Scott, Jeff Bezos’s ex-wife, is an example of this type. When she found herself possessed many tens of billions of dollars after her divorce settlement, she set about at once distributing very large amounts of money to good causes and is still at it.

C. There are rich people who are even more sensitive to the appalling disparity in income and wealth between the rich and the poor. An example of this type is Madeline Engelhorn, a Dutch woman, who, The New York Times reports, is an activist in urging governments to adopt a much more progressive tax systems. She wants higher taxes levied on rich people like herself. The problem with philanthropy, Ms. Engelhorn says, is that much of it serves to elevate the status and power of the donor.