Is immorally rich


With just two sentences, Joachim Gauck subtly differentiates between morality and wealth in connection with personal action. And of course he's right with what he's saying. But where do you draw the line between poverty and wealth, as well as the line between morality and immorality? It will be exciting for almost everyone here.

From the point of view of all the hundreds of millions of people from poor and emerging countries, ordinary German citizens are rich. From the point of view of ordinary German citizens, however, they do not feel rich, but average ... normal. Rich people by our standards live very differently. You don't have a car or a second car, you have an impressive fleet of vehicles, perhaps a jet and a yacht as well. They not only own a single-family home, but in addition to their personal villa they also own a street in Düsseldorf or Munich, owners in Hawaii or Tahiti.

From these little examples alone one can see that the affair of wealth and poverty quickly becomes relative. Even if you agree on the rule of thumb that you are no longer poor when you own small luxury goods (such as your smartphone, television, computer, car) beyond your livelihood, the term in connection with moral action is still difficult. Because the latter group of people, who presumably already includes most Europeans in 28 countries, can be “poor” despite this list if they then no longer have a further cent a month for old-age security beyond this livelihood security.

So only those who are "really" rich according to the feeling of the majority have a moral duty to donate and to be generous? "Right" rich then probably means a million fortunes and more ?! There are still many of them in Europe too. No statistics tell us whether and how generously they deal with the wealth they have earned or inherited. But we do know from enough examples of how people from very modest backgrounds let their hearts speak again and again when it comes to sharing something with those in need. Even if it is from the least that they still own.

Perhaps wealth and poverty are not necessarily a question of the sum, but a question of the size of the heart, which is a possibility in every person. And then it is not the amount of the sum that decides whether and how someone treats one's property morally or not, but solely the attitude of mind, including the gesture. We can only dream of how prosperous the world would be in front of all of us, if the well-secured right up to the super-rich, if no donations, but at least paying their taxes. Because even that is a long way off, as the latest revelations from the Panama Papers show.