Investing a portion of income has too commonly been treated as synonymous with both hoarding and gambling. While in nearly every other area of life, the concept of risk is seen as concurrent with opportunity, when there is talk of investing money, one is often subject to accusations of everything from “explotation” to “irresponsibility” to “materialism.” But let’s examine the facts.
Research into the etymology of the word ‘hoard’ reveals it’s German roots. The word simply means to save away in reserve. The Germans, having an industrious streak, probably irritated others with generally being well prepared for contingencies. Remember the grasshopper and the ants? Describing someone as “hoarding” is always done with a negative sneer, but who has the moral right to define how another person or family is allowed to prepare or save for the future? Who gets to decide the “appropriate” standards of living?
The charge of ‘gambling’ is only correct if we are also “gambling” with our health when we try to make informed decisions about food and exercise; or if we are “gambling” with our friendships. In each case, an attempt is made at a wise choice, but there are no guarantees in life. We may get sick or injured. Our friends may disappoint us. Should we have not eaten or exercised? Should we have remained isolated?
Those who discourage investment fall into categories. First, there are those who are in it for power. If people neglect planning, there is increased opportunity to gain power over them, through manipulation or oppression. Secondly, there are the ignorant. We have all fallen into this group at one time or another. The propaganda and social pressure can be blinding. Thirdly, there are the lazy. Why plan when you will be given what someone else has worked for? Just whine loudly enough. Unfortunately, the world is full of lazy people.
Notice that none of these categories addresses resources. There are some in the world who are truly destitute, usually for various political reasons, but almost everyone has the potential to save some amount regularly. In fact, when real people are followed instead of so-called income brackets there is significant process made in (gasp) accumulating wealth. The well being of all those in the community, far and wide, is upgraded.
There is no utopia of investment. Not every investment opportunity works out right. Sometimes we need to learn more. Other times the government gets in the way. Not to mention the weather or the fickle customer in the marketplace. But, no matter what the snake-oil communist tries to sell you, there is no utopia of any healthy kind on this present earth. There is work and learning involved. Ownership and freedom generate those. If any of these things are discouraged or hindered, then we can all be destitute together.