Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

We Should Foster Richness Rather Than Poverty As a State of Mind

If we accept that aspiration drives growth, higher aspiration should drive faster progress

Published: Oct 4, 2013 06:40:47 AM IST
Updated: Oct 3, 2013 05:30:58 PM IST

Rahul Gandhi was perhaps on to something when he said some time back that poverty is a state of mind. What he did not elaborate on was how this state of mind has become the guiding principle in Indian political discourse. Politicians love poverty, since it gives them endless opportunities to tax everybody and everything and focus on pork-barrel schemes to “alleviate” this condition.

We Should Foster Richness Rather Than Poverty As a State of Mind
Sorry, we don’t buy this. We think it is glorious to be rich, especially when it is the result of our own efforts. It is time to rekindle the spirit of human aspiration by changing our thinking. We should foster richness rather than poverty as a state of mind. It requires no genius to tell us that it is aspiration that creates growth and wealth. It is in the process of aspiring for something and making efforts to meet our desires that we collectively end up pushing growth. In the process, we also pull everybody up to a better life.

It is with this attitude in mind that we present this luxury special where we focus on The Best Things Money Can Buy, among other things. For what is the purpose of being rich if we can’t aspire for something? If we accept the reality that aspiration drives growth, higher aspiration should drive faster progress. Striving for the best things in life creates a hierarchy of material and non-material needs that, ultimately, delivers a virtuous cycle of continuing progress. But here’s the surprise: While looking for luxury and richness, we found less vulgarity than we expected to find. Even for those who can afford to spend and splurge on the priciest things in the world, the driving force is not just the desire to own things, but to be who they really are. As we said, rich is a state of mind.

And while we are on the subject of richness and wealth, this issue also brings you the Forbes 400—a listing of the wealthiest billionaires in the US, many of whom have joined Warren Buffett in the Giving Pledge. The truly evolved Super Rich believe not only in splurging but also in giving it away.

R Jagannathan
Editor-in-Chief, Forbes India
Twitter id: @TheJaggi

(This story appears in the 18 October, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)