Doesn’t it sound, well, anachronistic to have to start calling Charles, “King” Charles? With the suffix “III” no less? Will he have knights and armor to protect him?
It reminds me of the sportscaster for the PGA golf tournaments who broadcasts with former British golfer, Nick Faldo. He sometimes addresses Nick by his new title, “Sir Nick.” Nick got “knighted” or something and was given a title. I wonder if he got horses and armor too. Maybe that’s where the concept of “entitlement” comes from!
I suppose many Brits would be upset with my making fun of their traditions. Traditions are valuable when they represent values. Many traditions give pleasant memories to people. That’s why we, for instance, still might have our kids or grandkids search for Easter eggs. However, do you personally still search for Easter eggs? Being a “grown-up” means we don’t take traditions for granted, but we ask: Why? What are the underlying values these traditions hold? Which of my values do they support — or violate?”
I understand Charlie (I still can’t call him “King”) inherited about $750 million — tax-free no less.
Inheritances or wealth or money is the spigot that controls the waters of life. The accumulation of it controls the resources of the earth. You can’t eat 1,000 pork bellies, but you surely can control that many in the commodities market.
We are lucky, by the way, to have received real heroes in our own neighborhood — Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. No Roman numerals after their name. Harry, who lives in Montecito with Meghan and their son and daughter, had the courage to say, “I am tired of all this king stuff and these traditions that dehumanize us. I don’t want any titles and inheritances.” (I am not totally sure about the “inheritance” part.) Perhaps he is following the lead of his mother, Princess Diana, who said: “Let’s use some of this money to empower the poor.”
Another real hero from our neighborhood in Ventura, Yvon Chouinard, just gave away 98% of his shares in Patagonia — $3 billion worth — to fight climate change. Imagine that! Yes, it does take imagination. But it can be done!
Along another line, a recent U.N. statement says, “Each day, 25,000 people, including more than 10,000 children, die from hunger and related causes.” A good question to ask might be: “What can I do about this?” That is the kind of question Bill Gates asks himself, and he pursues resolving it through his foundation. He recently said that he is committing most of his wealth to deal with these human issues, which is what his foundation is doing.
To get to the point: What is the point of wealth — inherited or accumulated? What is the role that it plays in my life? How much time do I spend in investing, in managing investments, in growing investments, in protecting them, in making sure they get passed on to my children? Is passing them on a sacred trust or a sacred mistake?
Financial wealth is not worth living for — or fighting for. That is what the killing wars on the planet are about. It is what controls the resources of the world, which none of us earn or have a right to. They are only on loan to us to use in our lifetime. Then they revert to those who continue on after us.
What are the values that underlie our pursuit and protection of wealth? Certainly, “security” or“ play” or “excitement” have a value. However, where do the values of “kindness” and “justice” come in?
Ultimately, what are my values and how does accumulation of money fit into them or negate them?
That is the question Charlie, Nick, Harry, Meghan, Yvon, Bill, you and I have to answer.