Countries where the scramble for wealth is not so

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Unformatted text preview: a goal, an ambition. Money and goods become the symbol and actuality of power, triumph, superiority, pleasure, safety, benevolence and a dozen and one other things. Men who seek money and goods may therefore be seeking very different things; one is merely acquisitive, has the miser trend; another loves the game for the game's sake, picks up houses, bonds, money, ships, as a fighter picks up trophies, and they stand to him as symbols of his superiority. Some see in property the fulcrum by which they can apply the power that will shift the lives of other men and make of themselves a sort of God or Fate in the destinies of others. For others, and for all in part, there is in money the safety against emergencies and further a something that purchases pleasure, whether that pleasure be of body, or taste or spirit. Wine and women, pictures and beautiful things, leisure for research and contemplation,--money buys any and all of these, and as the symbol of all kinds of value, as the symbol of all kinds of power, it is sought assiduously by all kinds of men. There are many who start on their careers with the feeling and belief that money is a minor value, that to be useful and of service is greater than to be rich. But this idealistic ambition in only a few cases stands up against the strain of life. Unless money comes, a man cannot marry, or if he marries, then his wife must do without ease and leisure and pretty things, and he must live in a second-rate way. Sooner or later the idealist feels himself uneasily inferior, and though he may compensate by achievement or by developing a strong trend towards seclusiveness, more often he regrets bitterly his idealism and in his heart envies the rich. For they, ignorant and arrogant, may purchase his services, his brains and self-sacrifice and buy these ingredients of himself with the air of one purchasing a machine. So the idealist finds himself condemned to a meager life, unless his idealism brings him wealth, and he drifts in spirit away from the character of his youth. It is the strain of life, the fear of old a...
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