America’s Sovereignty is Virtue

The Principle Governing the Lasting Wealth of Individuals and Nations

– Samuel Castor 2024


I. Sovereignty in Virtue

There have been times and seasons when it would be natural to declare that no other country has had a more profound impact on the wealth of the world than America. From ending World War II with the infamous nuclear bomb1, to landing the first men on the moon2, to fueling the largest global economies the world has ever seen, America’s superpower status and sovereignty have been consistently reaffirmed – for over two hundred years. While this is a short span in the terms of world history, it can feel like an eternity to the present generation. So much so that many seem to believe our sovereignty, superiority, and legacy are uninterruptible.3 Some have even suggested that America’s geography alone gives it an insurmountable military advantage, suggesting America is here to stay, for good and for bad, regardless of individual choice or policy.4

However great America’s technological, geographical, governmental, and historical powers are, one thing is clear, America has had its ups and downs. And America’s financial prowess, stability and sovereignty are inexorably tied to the predictability (and goodness) of its people, not simply its iconic status in the world. As the American Hymn, “America the Beautiful” reminds all citizens, America’s greatness comes from “brotherhood from sea to shining sea” where “God mend[s] every flaw”, and souls are confirmed in “self-control” which enables “liberty in law!”5

It is these foundational principles, these virtues of American society, have allowed for some of the greatest innovations, economies, and wealth generation in the history of the world. They have encouraged and incentivized investors from across the globe to invest in America because of the stability and predictability of its government, legal system, and people.6 But can America’s gold be refined without societal virtue? And can the wealth of nations and individuals flourishing in American sovereignty exist without these same principles?

II. Virtue – America’s Wealth?

When speaking of wealth, individuals and nations often struggle between two opposing “golden rules” that govern that wealth. On the one hand, the Christian “golden rule” to “do unto others as you would have others do to you”7 versus the more self-serving “golden rule” that “he who has the gold makes the rules”8. One rule is focused love of others, the other, the love of self. These juxtaposed philosophies – governing the purpose and value of wealth – have influenced individuals and nations, for thousands of years. As a result, the debate of what makes up true “gold” and what rules govern that “gold” are at the heart of individual and national wealth.

The definitional distinction between these two philosophies can be summarized in one word: virtue. The word virtue is designed to capture the most noble of human characteristics; noble characteristics foundational to society and all humanity. It is virtue that inspires humans to pursue and use wealth to benefit others – not just themselves. This paper explains how virtue, especially the principal virtue of charity – or what we will refer to as love of others and love of God9 – directly impacts the wealth of individuals and nations. Without virtue or this leading characteristic of charity, wealth is taken not earned, hoarded not shared, or squandered not grown. But with virtue and charity, wealth can abound.

This is especially true in capitalism. Capitalistic free markets are designed to allow citizens to generate individual (and national) wealth, as opposed to simply enriching monarchies and dictatorships which are designed to grow leadership wealth. In essence, capitalism allows for individual wealth to empower virtue and change nations, like no other system before it.

Capitalism’s virtue was praised by 20th century Indian philosopher, Osho. Following World War II, Osho gave a speech attempting to persuade India to embrace the wealth of capitalism to erase the poverty of other systems:

Capitalism is the first system in the world which creates capital, wealth… because this is the first time in the history of man that a system is there which creates wealth and can create so much wealth that with science and scientific technology added to it, there is no need for poverty.10

Osho’s premise is fascinating: if wealth and the liberty necessary to create it are properly protected, true wealth will naturally lead to the amelioration of all poverty. This type of individually created wealth – only possible in capitalism – enriches society overall and erases poverty – or at least redefines what it means to be “poor” by lifting those struggling with it to a higher standard of living. This transformation has happened again and again the world over, as the poor were once defined by their lack of services, like shelter, running water, food, or sanitation, but now those living in poverty are defined by what they lack compared to the wealthy.

Just over one hundred years ago, when the wealth of the “roaring twenties” seemed more abundant that air itself, Calvin Coolidge America’s 30th president pointed to this principle of virtue when he stated:

Patriotism is easy to understand [because it] means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country. In no other nation on earth does this principle have such complete application. It comes most naturally from the fundamental doctrine of our land that the people are supreme. Lincoln stated the substance of the whole matter in his famous phrase, “government of the people; by the people, and for the people.”11

The great depression hit a year later. Even so, this patriotism fueled unity, this dichotomy of enriching self by enriching the nation, has transformed America’s definition of poverty radically over the last 100 years alone. So much so, that even the “poor” in the 2020s have luxuries that the “poor” in the 1920s would never have dreamed of, like healthcare, televisions and cell phones.

But Osho’s assumption that capitalism is the only societal vehicle capable of creating individual wealth (and eradicating poverty), assumes at least some will use their wealth virtuously following the golden rule to love others as yourself. And it makes sense. America’s capitalistic engine is uniquely designed to incentivize the entrepreneur, innovator, and inventor, to create things that benefit all of society – not just themselves – by telling all citizens, that if they enrich the world with inventions, innovations, and solutions, then they themselves can become rich. In doing so, America’s capitalism harnesses the fundamental Judeo-Christian belief of loving your neighbor by doing unto others as you would have others do to you – to also love yourself – and get rich.

However, if unchecked by virtue, these incentives also inspire the vices that destroy society and expose individuals, businesses, and nations to almost unlimited liability. As individuals and nations focus on the symbol of wealth – material possession – to the point where matters more than love of others, the obsession destroys the wealth they seek. By loving things more than people, society buries the seeds of lasting wealth beneath a pile of last year’s trinkets, toys, and temptations. And when nations and their citizens become consumed with possession, instead of societal connection, they overlook the wealth of the humans around them, rationalize covetousness, envy, theft, fraud and villainy – evil.

Just look at the theft and decay plaguing “wealthy” cities, like New York12, Oakland13, Sacramento14, Seattle15, Los Angeles16, and San Francisco17. All have seen rising crime and loss causing economic instability iconically symbolized by the closing of Nordstrom’s flagship store in San Francisco due to shoplifting18, and the widespread theft of manhole covers19 and fire hydrants.20 All such symptoms follow an erosion of virtue, destroying wealth.

Wealth cannot exist without a society facilitating an exchange of value. What good is a pile of gold if you cannot trade that gold for something else you seek? What good is a million dollars if no one is willing (or able) to do business with you (or you with them) because society has abandoned all virtue, and no trust or free trade remains? What good is prime real estate if it resides in a city where people have abandoned building and businesses because theft, vandalism, and violence are a universal cancer.

My wife and I visited California for a business and shopping trip and spent the night in downtown Oakland in September of 2023. We had planned to park our rental car on the street in front of a Marriott in downtown Oakland, but the hotel valet urged us not to, with a quick and nervous look at loiterers across the street. He said the car might not be there when we woke up in the morning. As we slept that night, even though we were 20 stories above the streets, we could hear the howls and roars of people roaming the streets, that had become unhinged – lawless. We got up at 5:30 AM the next morning to head to the airport. We retrieved the rental car from the valet, and turned the corner to see a Lamborghini burning, covered in spray paint and trash. Lawlessness, the absence of virtue, had robed Oakland of the safety necessary for the enjoyment of wealth.

As Founding Father Benjamin Franklin warned, true freedom, including freedom to create wealth, requires a virtuous people because, “[o]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”21 And as Harvard Business Professor icon, Clayton Christiansen, warned about the consequences of a virtue-less society, “if you take away religion, you cannot hire enough police.”22 Without freedom, those masters, like the dictators and monarchies of the past, take and prevent individual wealth. Only virtuous societies, that honor each citizen as a human worthy of individual freedom, rather than an object to be pilfered, plundered, or possessed, are capable of the connection and economic freedom necessary to allow individual (and national) wealth.

Virtue is the foundational principle of wealth. Without virtue, true wealth is impossible. With virtue, individuals, communities and nations can become wealthier than we can possibly imagine.

What is Virtue?

Life has taught me that there are two types of people in the world: those who treat people like people, and those who treat people like objects. The key difference between the two is the presence of absence of virtue. What is virtue?

One definition of the word virtue is the “power of a thing”, its potency, and ability to act.23 When it comes to society and its wealth, virtue is the noble power to treat others as fellow citizens, not just as objects. This is not just an English or American notion, but is a key theme found across time and space. For example, the African Ubuntu people have a proverb which holds “a person is a person, because of other people.”24 Similarly, the Zulu word “hello” literally means, “I see you” and honors the premise that we as humans must honor each other as humans. This recognition of another as a human, is what the Catholics refer to as human dignity.25 The Islamic concept of human dignity is “Karāmah al-Insān”, an Arabic word that literally means “honor, dignity, respect, esteem”. It’s a fundamental part of Islamic teachings found in the Qur’an and holds that all people are inherently worthy and should be respected.26

Likewise, the Iroquois honored this principle of “seeing” others including the unborn in their constitution, which has been praised one of the key inspirations of the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, it noted that “[i]n every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation…” suggesting that their search for virtue reached to love even those yet to be born, up to the seventh generation.27 I believe that nations that honor these principles harness the power of virtue and open the door to wealth. And whenever individuals or nations abandon these principles, they open themselves up to liability, decay, darkness and death.

When people treat people like people, honor their rights, respect their individual needs and existence, when they see them as humans, it unlocks the virtue or power of society – and it creates light. This light, trust, openness, allows for commerce and wealth.28 Trade occurs. Economies develop. Individuals become wealthy. Nations rise. In short, respecting others is the foundation of economic virtue – or power.

But alternatively, when people treat people like objects, they generate darkness, impaired trade, erode societal confidence and wealth vanishes. All theft, violence, war, evil in the world comes when people treat people like objects. The wealth of individuals and entire nations decays when people are no longer governed by this fundamental virtue. That citizens can honor other humans as humans, not objects.29

Objectification, and all of its related vices (fraud, theft, murder, crime, war – evil) come as humans honor and value (love) things more than people, or treat themselves or others as things, and not people. It is fine to love possessions like a shiny new car, a new home, or even a land.30 The evil comes when we love these things more than others around us – and convince ourselves that our possessions are more valuable than humans. This objectification destroys wealth, at the individual, corporate and national level.

This objectification – unchecked by virtue – also allows for the greatest frauds, disasters and liabilities in American history.

For example, in the early 2000s, tobacco companies came under fire for selling cancerous cigarettes to people, and specifically targeting children. The deceptive marketing practices resulted in several landmark decisions31 and current cost over $300 billion annually in health care costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)32, which reported that for each pack of cigarettes sold in the United States, the nation incurred an estimated $35 in medical care costs and lost productivity.33 The foundational principle violated here was the objectification of children to justify profit. The loss of virtue, respecting each individual as a human more valuable than a dollar or a profit margin, costs America over $300 billion annually! $300 billion. Let that sink in.

It is hard to talk of individual and national wealth, when objectification – and the lack of virtue – have robbed wealth through addictive substances like tobacco from so many Americans. In tallying the total cost of these damages, the total health care cost of tobacco related illness just in the 2000s was $1.7 trillion, plus $1.56 trillion in lost productivity, totaling $3.26 trillion. And this doesn’t count the liability damages awarded in court payments and settlements totaling $83 billion. The damage to individual and national wealth caused by that corporate objectification was not just a thing of yesteryear. It’s still happening.

In June of 2024, the U.S. Surgeon General announced that social media addiction and its effects on younger minds is now the smoking.34 Over the last 20 years, social media has had profound (and devastating) effects on society–particularly on children and adolescents. Numerous studies document a correlation (if not direct causal link) between social media use and mental health issues among young users. For instance, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that excessive social media increases the likelihood of depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances in adolescents.35 The immersive nature of these platforms, combined with the pressures of social comparison and cyberbullying, has exacerbated mental health issues in this vulnerable population.

These consequences are not shocking as recent congressional investigations have exposed how Facebook36, and TikTok37 have been intentionally exploiting the minds of youth and adults with algorithms that amplify contention and other negative and destructive emotions because those types of digital activities generate more user interaction (aka more revenue for Facebook), with even more harmful effects forecasted on the horizon.38

The incessant exposure to “picture perfect” images that create a false reality, and the constant pursuit of online validation and connection from “likes” and “followers” have created an environment teeming with mental health stresses and struggles. What’s worse, cyberbullying incidents have surged, as the anonymity of online activity allows for keyboard cowards, to shout from the side lines, destroy the confidence of their peers, and cause devastating consequences for many families and youth. Especially as many turned to social media platforms to find societal connection during the quarantines of the pandemic social distancing.




The cost has been substantial. The rising need for mental health treatment for adolescents in Utah alone has become a significant burden on Utah’s healthcare system.39 The Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health reports escalating costs associated with treating depression, anxiety, and other social media-related disorders. This is not alone to Utah. These trends indicate a national crisis, where the cost of treating social media induced mental health trauma is estimated to be in the billions of dollars annually.40

Like the Big Tabacco billion-dollar damages awards of the early 2000s41, social media platforms like TikTok and Facebook seem poised for similar liability with many declaring that social media is the new smoking.42 Even the New York Times declares that “scrolling is the new smoking.”43 This liability has grown in light of social media’s undeniable impact on young users. TikTok, with its algorithmically curated content, often exposes children to potentially harmful material, ranging from dangerous challenges to inappropriate content. Facebook (Meta), has faced criticism for its misinformation spreading, cyberbullying enabling, and unhealthy comparison fostering algorithms – geared toward causing harm to create revenue.

Interestingly, even tech leaders like Steve Jobs recognized the potential harm of these technologies. Jobs famously restricted his own children’s use of iPhones and iPads, highlighting the irony that the creators of these platforms were wary of their effects on young minds.44 If a businessperson does not let their own children use the thing they are selling other children, then that business leaders his engaged in objectification – treating other children like objects to enrich themselves at the expense of others. This villainy creates liability.

The cost of social media giants’ efforts to profit from treating people like objects is still unknown, but currently estimated at a staggering $225 billion – annually.45 Moreover, “research from San Diego State University revealed that 7 in 10 teens who use social media for over 5 hours are at higher risk of committing suicide.”46 This is troubling as some studies noted that “teens average 7 hours and 22 minutes of screen time per day.”47 Is it any wonder youth suicide rates have risen 62% from 2007 to 2021?48

These two examples demonstrate a chilling reality: when corporations objectify and manipulate humans, it not only exposes the corporation to untold liability – it destroys society. In fact, all liability in the world comes from objectification, and the pursuit of wealth without virtue. This is not to say wealth itself is causing the harm or cost. Rather, the elevation of wealth over others, instead of the use of wealth to benefit society and others – is what leads to these evils. So, what is true wealth?

IV. What is True Wealth?

America at times, seems a nation awash in and obsessed with wealth. From the Wall Street tycoon to the small business owner, the pursuit of financial success is a driving force. However, what is true wealth? Is it merely the accumulation of money, trappings, and possessions, or is contentment, happiness and fulfillment something deeper, beyond physical possession?

True wealth is not just about having more money; it’s about living a life of purpose, connection, happiness, and fulfillment. It involves building strong relationships, contributing to the community, and finding joy in everyday life. According to Harvard professor and New York Times best-selling author, Arthur C. Brooks, happiness is in relationships.49 It comes from human connection – not possession.

This understanding of wealth contrasts sharply with the modern-day focus on financial success. As Arthur C. Brooks emphasizes “[w]ealth is only as valuable as the happiness and well-being it brings.” Wealth, he notes, “cannot increase happiness, it can only reduce unhappiness.”50 This holistic view of wealth encourages us to reconsider our priorities and focus on what truly matters.

V. The Billionaire Dilemma – “Have you ever met a happy billionaire?”

The tense paradox of wealth and happiness is well-documented.51 Many of the world’s richest individuals, despite their immense wealth, struggle to find contentment, let alone happiness. The relentless pursuit of more can lead to a never-ending cycle of dissatisfaction and emptiness.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Money has never made man happy, nor will it; there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has, the more one wants.” This observation rings true in the lives of many billionaires who, despite their fortunes, often grapple with feelings of isolation and discontent. Their experiences raise an important question: can true happiness be found in wealth alone?

Research supports this paradox. Studies have shown that after a certain income level, additional wealth has little to no effect on an individual’s overall happiness. According to Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, “High income improves evaluation of life but not emotional wellbeing”. This finding suggests that the key to happiness lies not in accumulating more wealth but in finding fulfillment and meaning in other aspects of life.

The ability to tap into the true virtue or power of a society, comes from the ability to see others as fellow citizens, not merely numbers on a balance sheet. One the one hand the creation of the legal fiction of a business has allowed for some of the world’s greatest inventions, break throughs and discoveries. By limiting the personal liability of inventors, trailblazers and entrepreneurs, American’ ingenuity has blazed bright.52

But the limited liability of the corporate and business fictions America allows, risks dehumanizing the clients those businesses seek to serve. Corporate practices often reduce people to mere numbers on a balance sheet. This dehumanization can lead to significant ethical and moral consequences. The tension between treating corporations as legal fictions and the reality of their impact on human lives is a critical issue that needs addressing.

The concept of limited liability has been a cornerstone of modern capitalism, enabling corporations to take risks and drive innovation. It has led to remarkable achievements, from technological advancements to global trade. By protecting individual investors from personal liability, limited liability encourages entrepreneurship and economic growth.

As Adam Smith noted, “The invisible hand of the market drives economic prosperity.”53 This principle has allowed corporations to innovate and expand, creating wealth and improving living standards globally. However, this legal fiction also comes with severe consequences. When corporations are treated as separate entities, distinct from their human constituents, it becomes easier to prioritize profits over people. This can lead to unethical practices, such as exploitative labor conditions, environmental degradation, and the erosion of employee rights.

The Australian philosopher Peter Singer argues, “The ethical stance of companies is critical because they wield so much power over the lives of individuals.” This power must be wielded responsibly to avoid harming those who contribute to corporate success.

The tabaco and social media case studies illustrate the severe impacts of corporate objectification. So how do we harness the power of the corporate engines without destroying the wealth of individuals and nations in the process? What is the solution to ensure that in all our economic development, we develop sustainable, lasting, true wealth? And the happiness it can foster? In a word, the solution is virtue.

VI. The Solution: Virtue

Combatting objectification requires a return to personal virtue. The kind of virtue taught in families, churches and communities – where individuals are inspired to a nobler way of living that simple consumption or self-satisfaction. The kind of virtue exemplified by community heroes and reverenced in memorials, not just given lip service in corporate mission statements and profit driven platitudes. Even Enron had a well penned corporate mission statement to “treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves”54 as it broiled people in their homes in the heat waves of California, by manipulating power markets, all to make more profit. But these statements cannot be words. Valuing each person’s humanity fosters the cohesive society necessary for true wealth. And, only he who (in fact) treats others as he would be treated will enjoy the gold he earns. When we see others as humans with their own experiences, dreams, and struggles, we are more likely to act with compassion and fairness. We build the society necessary to allow for wealth.

One of the greatest philanthropists of modern America, Charles Feeney, founded the duty-free stores in airports across the world and made billions. But he altered his course later in life and decided to enjoy his wealth by giving it away.55 His philanthropy serves as an inspiring example of virtue based, purposeful wealth. His mission to give away his fortune for the greater good demonstrates the profound impact of using wealth with purpose.

Feeney’s mission was to die broke, and he did.56 He gave away over $8 billion dollars. Feeney’s generosity funded numerous educational and medical initiatives, benefiting countless individuals and communities. His legacy exemplifies how wealth can be used to create legacy while one is living.

Feeney’s approach aligns with the philosophy of effective altruism, which advocates for using resources to achieve the greatest possible positive impact.57 This approach to wealth management (and wealth enjoyment) emphasizes the importance of intentional and impactful giving, while one is alive. In essence, living legacy, not simply planning for a sunset that only those who remain after we pass will enjoy.

This type of virtue-anchored wealth allows us to balance capitalism with love for others and spiritual devotion – a balance essential to true happiness – and true wealth. This philosophy encourages us to prioritize relationships and spiritual fulfillment over material possessions, fostering a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

VII. Conclusion – Virtue Governs the Wealth of Nations and Individuals

The principle governing the wealth of individuals and nations is virtue. Virtue helps individuals and nations treat each other humanely and is essential for any society. Without virtue wealth vanishes. With virtue, wealth become legacy.

By embracing virtues such as lawfulness, self-control, integrity, empathy, and responsibility, and above all charity, we can create a society that values true wealth—one that goes beyond material success to encompass well-being, happiness, and community strength. By prioritizing virtue, we can ensure a prosperous future for ourselves and generations to come. The principles of personal virtue, corporate responsibility, and governmental integrity are essential for building a just and prosperous society. Let us strive to see others as human beings deserving of dignity and respect and use our wealth and resources to create a better world for all.

Virtue, this fundamental principal to society, is the foundation of America’s wealth. Without it, society crumbles into hedonistic, base appetites, lacking connection and harmony. Without virtue, individual wealth is meaningless. Without virtue, men devolve to objects defined by their environments, instead of actors improving their environments.

But with virtue, the chief virtue being charity –love of others – America can reclaim its global dominance not through might, but through what is right. As Arthur C. Brooks notes, the key to true happiness – and I might add true wealth – is to “worship God, love people, and use things.”58 This proper order, and these principles and morals are not simply philosophical, but practical. Without them Enron like weeds disrupt the stability and wealth of America. With them, we protect the goodness of America, we protect is sovereignty, its leadership in fostering the wealth of individuals and nations, and we enrich ourselves.

  1. See “How Did World War II End?” available at (last visited June 28, 2024).
  2. See “July 20, 1969: One Giant Leap For Mankind” available at (last visited June 28, 2024).
  3. See “Why the U.S. may extend its run as the world’s leading economy”, CNBC, January 10, 2024, available at
  4. “5 Reasons Why Geography Is America’s Greatest Weapon Against an Invasion”, Blake Stillwell (2022), available at: (last visited on June 27, 2024).
  5. American Hymn, “America the Beautiful,” by Katherine Lee Bates; (1859-1929) Inspired by a trip to Pikes Peak in 1893, Katherine Lee Bates wrote the poem America the Beautiful. Her poem first appeared in print on July 4, 1895 in “The Congregationalist”, a weekly journal. Ms. Bates revised the lyrics in 1904 and again in 1913, available at (last visited on June 27, 2024)
  6. See “Why Invest in the United States”, LCR Capital Partners, January 21, 2020 blog, available at: the-united-states/ (last visited June 28, 2024).
  7. As discussed in “The Golden Rule” posted on the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy available at (last visited on June 7, 2024). (noting, “‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ This seems the most familiar version of the golden rule, highlighting its helpful and proactive gold standard…The golden rule is closely associated with Christian ethics though its origins go further back and graces Asian culture as well. Normally we interpret the golden rule as telling us how to act. But in practice its greater role may be psychological, alerting us to everyday self-absorption, and the failure to consider our impacts on others. The rule reminds us also that we are peers to others who deserve comparable consideration. It suggests a general orientation toward others, an outlook for seeing our relations with them. At the least, we should not impact others negatively, treating their interests as secondary.” (paraphrase of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount as recorded in in Luke 6:31, King James Bible)
  8. “Remember the golden rule. He who has the gold makes the rules”, Kiyosaki, Robert T. Rich Dad Poor Dad. 2nd ed., Plata Publishing, 2017.
  9. See Matthew 22: 34-40 available at
  10. Osho further noted of capitalism and socialism, “[t]he entire wealth of the world has been the invention of the mind. Mind has created all wealth. And remember, not all the people have contributed to its production. All the people have not even worked for it. One Einstein discovers a law, and the whole of mankind profits from it. One Ford creates wealth, and it becomes distributed among all. But it is being said that the capitalist exploits the wealth of the people. There could be no greater lie than this. The wealth that does not exist, how can it be exploited. Only that wealth call be exploited which exists somewhere. How can a non-existing wealth be exploited? Capitalism does not exploit; it creates wealth. But once wealth is created, it begins to show, and becomes the object of envy for thousands. The hold of socialism is not because it believes in equality between man and man. There is no need for distributing wealth, it will be distributed automatically. There is no need for any dictatorship of the proletariat… If there is no capitalism, and so no wealth, then socialism can distribute only poverty and misery. If our country decides to go socialist, it means that we decide to remain poor, and poor forever. It cannot be anything else, because we don’t have the instruments that produce wealth… Today man is free: he is not a slave. But socialism has been spreading another illusion, another lie. It has given currency to a false notion that it is labor, it is the worker, who creates capital and wealth… The second thing to understand is [w]ealth today is the handiwork of a handful of people, a few individuals. It has not been created by the masses. Only a Rockefeller, only a Morgan, a Rothschild, a Tata, a Birla, a Sahu creates capital, not everybody. If we remove ten names from America, America would be as poor as we are. Without them, America could not have achieved its present affluence. I have heard that once Henry Ford went to London. At the airport he walked up to the inquiry office and asked for a cheap hotel. The clerk at the inquiry booth recognized him, and he said, “I have seen your photographs in the newspapers; it seems you are Henry Ford. Why do you ask for a cheap hotel? When your sons and daughters come here, they ask for the most expensive hotels.” Ford replied, “My sons are the sons of Henry Ford, sons of a very rich man, while I am the son of a poor man. I have made wealth myself. I am not the son of a Ford who produced wealth. So let me find a cheap hotel.”” Osho, “From Unconsciousness to Consciousness, #8, Q2 “Capitalism is the first system which creates wealth.” available at:; see also (emphasis added); as recorded in, “The awakened one: the life and work of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.” Vedant, Satya, Harper & Row (1982).
  11. “The Destiny of America”, Calvin Coolidge, given Memorial Day (1923) available at: 1921-1923-13/.
  12. See “Less than one in three yorkers planning to flee city”, NY Post, to-flee-city-and-just-30-are-happy-with-quality-of-life-survey/ (last visited June 22, 2024)
  13. “How Oakland, California is Falling Apart” (Oct. 28, 2023) (last visited June 7, 2024).
  14. Concern over $50mm deficit in Sacramento California, available at: more-than-50-million-for-coming-fiscal-year-how-might-it-be-addressed/ (February 23, 2024) (last visited June 7, 2024).
  15. See “Seattle economic forecast offers little relief for City Hall” after forecasting a $240mm budget shortfall for Seattle available at (April 29, 2024) (last visited June 7, 2024).
  16. “The Fall of Los Angeles” Spike, available at (Sept. 10th, 2022) (last visited June 7, 2024).
  17. See “San Francisco’s Decline is a Warning to other American Cities” 1801200 (last visited June 7, 2024)
  18. See (Aug. 28, 2023) (last visited June 7, 2024).
  19. See (2011) (last visited June 7, 2024); see also “5 Ways Cities are Clamping Down on Manhole Cover Theft”; available at (2015) (last visited June 7, 2024).
  20. See “Fire Hydrant Thefts Los Angeles”, LA Times, available at county, (last visited June 22, 2024).
  21. National Center for Constitutional Studies, available at: (last visited June 7, 2024).
  22. See Acton Institute, available at html (last visited June 22, 2024).
  23. See Webster Dictionary, definition of “virtue”, available at
  24. In the Ubuntu Culture, a key philosophy that warrants sharing is deeply engrained in the people of Southern Africa. The word Ubuntu is derived from an old folk saying “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” which literally translates to “A person is a person, because of other people.” Similarly, “Sawu Bona” is the Zulu equivalent of “hello” in the English language. Literally translated, this word means “I See You”. If you lived in the northern parts of Natal in South Africa, this is how someone would greet you. In turn, you would reply by saying “Sikhona”, which means “I Am Here”. The order of the greeting is fundamental to the premise of the Ubuntu philosophy; You must be seen before you can exist. – Life Coach JD, VIPCoaching, shared via email December 15, 2023.
  25. See “Thomas Aquinas – Human Dignity and Conscience as a Basis for Restricting Legal Obligations” Marek Piochowiak, available at (last visited June 22, 2024).
  26. See the blog post “Human Dignity / Karāmah”, available at
  27. See “The Native American Government That Helped Inspire the US Constitution”,, available at; see also “The Iriquois and Founding of the U.S. Constitution”, available at Native America Today, noting “Historians agree the Iroquois wielded a major influence in the writings of the U.S. Constitution.”
  28. Treating others as humans also generates light, which is the topic of a book I hope to write soon.
  29. This type of economic virtue harmonizes with the concept of love. For the curious reader, I believe that there are types of love: (i) love of stuff, (ii) love of self, (iii) love of others and (iv) love of God. Virtue helps these loves occur in the proper order. Get them in the right order and relationships are formed, societies bloom and economies thrive. Get them out of order, and misery and decay destroy any hope for wealth. Objectification, and all of its related vices (fraud, theft, murder, crime) come as humans get the four loves in the wrong order, and cherish things more than people, or even go so far as to treat themselves or others as things, and not people.
  30. For the curious reader, there are types of love: (i) love of stuff, (ii) love of self, (iii) love of others and (iv) love of God. Virtue helps these loves occur in the proper order. Get them in the right order and relationships are formed, societies bloom and economies thrive. Get them out of order, and misery and decay destroy any hope for wealth.
  31. See United States v. Philip Morris USA Inc., 449 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2006), Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc., 945 So. 2d 1246 (Fla. 2006), Boeken v. Philip Morris, Inc., 127 Cal. App. 4th 1640 (2005), Williams v. Philip Morris Inc., 344 Or. 45, 176 P.3d 1255 (2008).
  32. See CDC Office of Policy, Performance and Evaluation, available at (noting “Smoking-related illness in the United States costs over than $300 billion each year—about $225 billion for direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity, including $5.6 billion in lost productivity due to secondhand smoke exposure.”).
  33. See Smoking and Tobacco, CDC, available at
  34. See “It’s starting to look like using smartphones in schools will be the new smoking in the bathroom”
  35. See Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Media Use and Child and Adolescent Mental Health: Findings from the UK Millennium Cohort Study, Journal of the American Medical Association.
  36. See MIT Technology Review, “The Facebook whistleblower says its algorithms are dangerous. Here’s why.” available at: (last visited June 22, 2024)
  37. “TikTok’s Danger to Teens in Focus During US Congressional Hearing”, Reuters, available at by-us-lawmakers-over-dangerous-content-2023-03-23/ (last visited June 22, 2024).
  38. See “Themes: The most harmful or menacing changes in digital life that are likely by 2035.”
  39. See “Utah’s battle against the mental health care provider deficit” available at care-provider-deficit/; see also “The Rapid Evolution of Crisis Mental Health Services in Utah: Opportunities and Challenges as a Result of the Global Pandemic,” available at (last visited June 22, 2024).
  40. See Chatterjee, R., & Price, S. (2019). The economic impact of mental health issues linked to social media. Journal of the American Medical Association.
  41. See “Big Tabaco Lawsuit”, American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network, available at lawsuit
  42. See “It’s starting to look like using smartphones in schools will be the new smoking in the bathroom”
  43. See “Is Social Media the New Tobacco?”, New York Times, available at tobacco-acohol-warning-labels.html
  44. See “Hidden Side of Steve Jobs And Bill Gates: They Banned Their Kids From iPads And Other Devices They Created”, Yahoo Finance, available at (last visited June 22, 2023).
  45. See Social Media Addiction Statistics, available at (last visited June 23, 2024).
  46. Id.
  47. Id. Citing research from Common Sense.
  48. See “Youth suicide rates rose 62% from 2007 to 2021: ‘People feel hopeless,’ one recent grad says” available at (last visited June 23, 2024).
  49. See “The Type of Love That Makes People Happiest”, Atlantic, Arthur C. Brooks, available at
  50. “Money does not increase happiness, it only reduces unhappiness”, Elpais, available at 06-10/arthur-c-brooks-of-harvard-business-school-money-does-not-increase-happiness-it-only-reduces-unhappiness-beyond-100000-it-doesntmatter- how-much-you-have.html (last visited June 7, 2024).
  51. “What the world’s longest happiness study says about money”, Reuters, (noting “No money will not buy you happiness”), available at (February 6, 2023) (last visited June 7, 2027).
  52. See “The Rise of American Ingenuity: Innovation and Inventors of the Golden Age”, Harvard Business Review, available at
  53. “Adam Smith, and the Wealth of Nations”, June 2024 blog post, available at
  54. See Enron’s Mission statement preserved and available at (last visited June 28, 2024).
  55. See “Former Billionaire Chuck Feeney, Philanthropist Who Pioneered Giving While Living, Has Died At Age 92”, Atlantic Philanthropies, January 2023, available at: living-has-died-at-age-92, last visited on June 28, 2024.
  56. See “Charles Feeney, Who Made a Fortune and Then Gave It Away, Dies at 92” New York Times, available at
  57. For more information on the principles of effective altruism, visit
  58. From Strength to Strength, by Arthur C. Brooks, available at
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