How important is sharing? This summer, I have been teaching U.S. History at Summer School. Now, though the students are learning, I too, am learning and gaining insight as to how I may live my life. Focusing strictly on wealth; I have heard arguments from those who are wealthy of "why they should share something they worked hard for?" It is a very good argument, but let us look at the Great Depression.
There are many causes of the Great Depression, but one was a uneven distribution of wealth. In a capitalist economy, there will be some uneven distribution of wealth, however if it is too great, then there will be less money in circulation. If a small percentage of people hold the majority of the wealth there are less people buying basic things. Now, again, this wasn't the sole cause of the Great Depression, other factors did play in. In any case, once we hit the Great Depression, we raised tariffs, taxes on imported goods. This was thought to help protect domestic businesses from competition from foreign products. This actually caused the other countries to raise theirs as well. This hurt the US economy more, because we couldn't get foreign countries to buy our products as well. We needed the foreign market to buy our stuff. This tariff war eventually spread the Great Depression in the US worldwide, and it causes conflict and revolutions, and eventually WWII.
This is the worst case scenario, of course, but there are many cases of people not helping each other during this time, that may have help. For example, President Hoover gave federal money to banks, in hopes that they will voluntarily give loans to businesses; businesses will voluntarily use these loans to keep employees, and keep their wages and keep production up. But very little of this was happening. At each level, people used the funds to "save themselves" and nothing was given to the laborers.
As much as the wealthy people feel they work hard for their wealth, unless they are running a one-man store, and they are the one-man, there are many others under them that work hard making their wealth. This is something we shouldn't forget.
But let's not focus on money alone. In whatever position we're in, there are others that are supporting us. We should remember that.
My friend teaches a 90 year old gentleman how to play the `ukulele. A little history of this man: he was poor as a child, but his parents instilled in him to work hard, even when no one is looking. It is the mantra he lives by. When he got a job as a laborer at a distribution company, he worked a 110% each day. His boss calls him in one day, and he thought he was in trouble. But, instead, the boss mentioned that he kept watching his hard work each day, and wanted to give the company to someone trustworthy before retiring. Long story short, he became successful and expanded this company based in Seattle. He is now retired himself and is able to live some months in Hawai`i, some in Seattle. He lives simply, gives greatly to charity, but does have rich neighbors. Each week, he dines with one couple and the wife, with no expression, when finished drinking her wine, raises her glass, and her husband immediately runs to fill it up. This gentlemen told my friend, "how sad that must be. To be unhappy. If you have that much wealth, and are unhappy, where do you go from there?"
So my friend asks him, what is the secret to his happiness. The gentleman points out 1) work 110% whether or not someone is watching. I think this puts pride in your work, and helps your company to succeed, thus, hopefully, giving you success as well. 2) If you find something that gives you passion, go get it and go do it, life is too short. This can be your job, or something outside your job, but by finding this, it gives that spark in your life. 3) Smile at others. We never know what situation others are in, smile at them, be kind and help others.
In Tenrikyo, we have a word called Hinokishin. This is an act that we physically do to show our gratitude to God. In every sense, it is something we do for ourselves, but the action should be helpful to others. A kind word, even a smile can be hinokishin. By saving others we, in turn, will be saved.
I will do my best to practice this too; let's smile at others. Let's share our wealth.
Let us also lend our prayers that the members of HBH have a safe trip to Jiba this month.