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Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul McCartney, what are they still in it for? What drives them, and the millions of other 'succesful' people who made more than enough money to just retire?

It can't be greed, surely, because honestly what is the difference between 100mil, 1bln, or 20bln? One can only consume so much to a means that is actually to any use.

There must be something else, a natural incentive that is very different than my own. Because if I had enough money, I would enjoy my freedom. What it would mount to exactly, I don't know, perhaps a lot of travelling, expansion of the intellect, and cultural/creative activity. But again, the key word is freedom here.

So the question "Why does Donald Trump want to live a presidental life?" arose yesterday in conversation with my friend. It is a 24/7 choas packed with speeches, meetings, media attention, ... but what purpose does it serve on an individual level? Why does this man prefer that over the infinite amount of other lifestyles that his capital already warrants?

Could what 'freedom' means to me (i.e. that what I pursue), be what 'power' or 'attention' means to him?

Along the same lines, why do million dollar sport figures keep playing? I mean, I understand that most players don't just quit early after making several millions, but I can't wrap my mind around the fact that it never happens. They just keep putting in the hours, day after day, which is essentially not thàt much better than a regular job. The same applies to singers or entrepreneurs who just keep doing their business, who just keep producing the goods that they no longer need.
 

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If they didn't want to do it to do it, then they never would have made so much money doing it in the first place. They wouldn't have made the cut. It fulfills them I suppose.
 

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A lot of rich people does stop, it's just that you don't hear much about those or you simply forget their existence. They sit back, relax and live the good life, spending the rest of their time on family and hobbies. As for the others... well, I imagine it's more about preserving their legacy rather than just acquiring the money that they need for living.

Especially in the sports industry, you have to kick ass for as long as you can. You mentioned Cristiano Ronaldo, he's now in his 30s and will probably not play professional football for much longer. He'll retire, same as Maradonna did in his days, so he'll just have to keep the money comin'. Ronaldinho used to be the Ronaldo for some time, too, but he stopped playing for pros and ended up in a shit tons of Pepsi commercials instead, otherwise just living the good life.
 

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Solely based on my experience of interacting with my company's obscenely wealthy clientele:

After a certain point of wealth, money is a game. Almost like real life Monopoly. See who does what with it and who succeeds and who doesn't, relatively speaking (i.e. the failures are still rich, just not as rich). Status and prestige are what matters, which is why I imagine Trump wanted to be president.

It can't be greed, surely, because honestly what is the difference between 100mil, 1bln, or 20bln? One can only consume so much to a means that is actually to any use.
"Looking up," so to speak, as we "down here" are we don't see the difference but I assure you at their level there is a difference. They can discern who belongs where.
 

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Solely based on my experience of interacting with my company's obscenely wealthy clientele:

After a certain point of wealth, money is a game. Almost like real life Monopoly. See who does what with it and who succeeds and who doesn't, relatively speaking (i.e. the failures are still rich, just not as rich). Status and prestige are what matters, which is why I imagine Trump wanted to be president.



"Looking up," so to speak, as we "down here" are we don't see the difference but I assure you at their level there is a difference. They can discern who belongs where.
This.

But in the case of people like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, I think they're driven by a genuine passion for what they do. Musk, especially. There's a seriousness and urgency to his activities that's palpable and says he believes that what he's doing is important and necessary.
 

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Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul McCartney, what are they still in it for? What drives them, and the millions of other 'succesful' people who made more than enough money to just retire?

It can't be greed, surely, because honestly what is the difference between 100mil, 1bln, or 20bln? One can only consume so much to a means that is actually to any use.

There must be something else, a natural incentive that is very different than my own. Because if I had enough money, I would enjoy my freedom. What it would mount to exactly, I don't know, perhaps a lot of travelling, expansion of the intellect, and cultural/creative activity. But again, the key word is freedom here.

So the question "Why does Donald Trump want to live a presidental life?" arose yesterday in conversation with my friend. It is a 24/7 choas packed with speeches, meetings, media attention, ... but what purpose does it serve on an individual level? Why does this man prefer that over the infinite amount of other lifestyles that his capital already warrants?

Could what 'freedom' means to me (i.e. that what I pursue), be what 'power' or 'attention' means to him?

Along the same lines, why do million dollar sport figures keep playing? I mean, I understand that most players don't just quit early after making several millions, but I can't wrap my mind around the fact that it never happens. They just keep putting in the hours, day after day, which is essentially not thàt much better than a regular job. The same applies to singers or entrepreneurs who just keep doing their business, who just keep producing the goods that they no longer need.

Study: Your Brain Thinks Money Is A Drug : NPR
Study: Your Brain Thinks Money Is A Drug : NPR
https://www.inc.com/kimberly-weisul/how-money-addiction-can-happen-to-anyone.html
 

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Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul McCartney, what are they still in it for? What drives them, and the millions of other 'succesful' people who made more than enough money to just retire?

It can't be greed, surely, because honestly what is the difference between 100mil, 1bln, or 20bln? One can only consume so much to a means that is actually to any use.

There must be something else, a natural incentive that is very different than my own. Because if I had enough money, I would enjoy my freedom. What it would mount to exactly, I don't know, perhaps a lot of travelling, expansion of the intellect, and cultural/creative activity. But again, the key word is freedom here.

So the question "Why does Donald Trump want to live a presidental life?" arose yesterday in conversation with my friend. It is a 24/7 choas packed with speeches, meetings, media attention, ... but what purpose does it serve on an individual level? Why does this man prefer that over the infinite amount of other lifestyles that his capital already warrants?

Could what 'freedom' means to me (i.e. that what I pursue), be what 'power' or 'attention' means to him?
Also I'm paging @Duo because she essentially did this:
https://www.reddit.com/r/financialindependence/
and retired early after making a ton of money after going into management at like 23.

I think she has a lot of experience in economics and the psychology of money; particularly on the topic of financial independence vs. nonstop wealth accumulation and the "in betweens" there.
 

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DJT thought he could do it better than Obama and figured he could become a real billionaire by directly manipulating policy to benefit his family and friends. He made a huge mistake running for Pres. I'm just rubbing my hands waiting for the real dirt to be revealed.

As for rich people, give them a good reason to stop. I mean, it's a game about control, abundance and security for your future's future at the end of the day. Accumulating wealth doesn't harm the person gathering it, so why should they stop?

sweets, fattening foods, drugs... there are plenty of good reasons to curb one's appetites with those in mind. But money? I would think it would take quite a bit of self-control to want to cut off accumulation.
 

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I've never had a job that I enjoyed, so I have no context for comprehending what it must be like in actual practice, but apparently, it must be pretty doggone awesome.
 

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A lot of people spend a not insignificant amount of their lives looking for something that does some combination of fulfilling them, that they enjoy doing, that they're good at and that makes phats stacks of cash. Why would you give that up if you've found it?
 

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A lot of people spend a not insignificant amount of their lives looking for something that does some combination of fulfilling them, that they enjoy doing, that they're good at and that makes phats stacks of cash. Why would you give that up if you've found it?
I think the issue for me is that beyond a certain level of wealth, it's more than just making money in the manner that you and I collect a check. If it were merely "I love owning and managing golf courses" then I'm fine with someone being wealthy. I don't love any type of work enough to want to do/think about it all the time and compromise my actual life to do it. If someone finds their passion and can profit from it, that's great.

There is a saying "behind every great fortune is a great crime." I think to get beyond a certain point both financially and any other measure of success, it is likely that you have to be ok with taking advantage of things/people, exploiting loopholes, insisting/demanding things that may not be good for the community that you're building a business in. The idea of taking advantage of what is offered from taxpayer money while trying to skirt taxpaying obligations. That would probably be the number one thing that bothers me about the wealthy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Especially in the sports industry, you have to kick ass for as long as you can. You mentioned Cristiano Ronaldo, he's now in his 30s and will probably not play professional football for much longer. He'll retire, same as Maradonna did in his days, so he'll just have to keep the money comin'. Ronaldinho used to be the Ronaldo for some time, too, but he stopped playing for pros and ended up in a shit tons of Pepsi commercials instead, otherwise just living the good life.
Well there is age restrictions in sports. Football players they peek when they are 25 but will be 'too old' ten years later. Not just in terms of performance, but their market value decreases significantly. So they naturally retire early (compared to regular people), and this approximate age of retirement is no different for Cristiano Ronaldo as it is for some semi-pro in say Danish second division. But I have never heard of a kid who won the World Championship at 22 and just packed his stuff after making his million dollar dream.

Dart players or snooker players, they don't stop until they are 50-60 because it is not as physical a game, but Phil Taylor could have unscrewed his darts and bought some place in the Bahama's twenty years ago if he wanted to.
 

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Some people want to make their mark on the world and they literally have the funds to do so. Why be content with mediocrity when you can do even more? It wouldn't make much sense to someone zooming out of the picture to the point where they view the bigger picture as futile but you would be remembered for years after death. Call it ego or self righteous but if more people had that drive we'd be better off.
 

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I think the issue for me is that beyond a certain level of wealth, it's more than just making money in the manner that you and I collect a check. If it were merely "I love owning and managing golf courses" then I'm fine with someone being wealthy. I don't love any type of work enough to want to do/think about it all the time and compromise my actual life to do it. If someone finds their passion and can profit from it, that's great.

There is a saying "behind every great fortune is a great crime." I think to get beyond a certain point both financially and any other measure of success, it is likely that you have to be ok with taking advantage of things/people, exploiting loopholes, insisting/demanding things that may not be good for the community that you're building a business in. The idea of taking advantage of what is offered from taxpayer money while trying to skirt taxpaying obligations. That would probably be the number one thing that bothers me about the wealthy.
Everything we do has a cost, and a potential benefit though, right? Every single act has a lot of "ignored" consequences. Societies take advantage of each other anyway. That is what drives efficiency, and human growth. Without that, there is only stagnation.

For some, the real goal of working is, I guess, to be the best. The satisfaction that you get from being the best at anything, is something that really drives these people. As for skirting obligations, I am sure most non-rich people also do it. It is kind of unfair to paint the rich and the successful with corruption, when it really is rampant in just about everyone. I have even considered the idea that a certain amount of corruption is a stable state of society. It can never be completely wiped off, but the fight must still go on.

Having some people who take advantage of the cracks in the logic of society, might actually be okay, looking at it from a societal point of view, as it allows a certain measure of chaos, and individual control over the society, that might be desirable. Since there are a lot of rules that are good for society, but do hinder growth in some ways.

There must of course, be every effort put by authorities to make sure that this doesn't happen. The constant struggle is also necessary.

Also, for a lot of really successful people, wealth is a resource. To make of the world as they will, so to speak. There is a sense of pride in that. Being able to shape the world as you see fit. That requires a lot more resources though. It seems like a worthwhile venture to me.
 

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From my point of view, and experience with wealthy people, I think the largest amount of them find they aren't really fullfilled by it like they thought they would be, so they think more is the answer, and then more thinking that more will do it for them. Then there are those who get so into it as if it's a game, something to do in this world, and they have few other interests they like as much. Finally, I think there are a few who truly think they are making a difference in the world, even if it is providing jobs for all those who work for them.
 

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Also I'm paging @Duo because she essentially did this:
https://www.reddit.com/r/financialindependence/
and retired early after making a ton of money after going into management at like 23.

I think she has a lot of experience in economics and the psychology of money; particularly on the topic of financial independence vs. nonstop wealth accumulation and the "in betweens" there.
I have no experience with billionaires. But I have met some multimillionaires (100M+) and even though they claim to philanthropy, my personal impression of these men was that they enjoyed the power, prestige, competition and wished to make a mark in life. That said, they were corporate heads so this might be why.

I'm far, far from the above mentioned categories. As a person who enjoys a simple lifestyle, I don't need a lot.
 

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Because what else are they going to do? Why would they retire? Your question assumes that retirement is the goal and that work is an unnecessary thing we only do to make money. But that's not the case at all, and especially not for the kinds of people who have what it takes to achieve wild success in the first place.

The drive or motivation for success is just success. It's an end in itself. They just want to achieve and be people who achieve.

Achieving things is more satisfying for some people than pleasure and comfort. And I'd even be so bold as to claim that it's a better way to live. When people retire, they often get really bored.

People need something to do. A purpose. Lazing about gets old real fast.
 

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I don't imagine it really digs into some analysis of their subjectivity much because such wealth is alien to the majority of people. But I do think it interesting to note that much of the surplus profit of capitalists and such is typically reinvested, it is a pivotal part of capitalism since it become the dominant mode of production. Even the wealthy are in the rat race to out compete and dominate one another. They have great personal wealth but much of it isn't going to themselves but is instead put back to increase profit, the pursuit of profit is quite rapacious in capitalist production unless any prior mode of production. Which is the revolutionary force of capitalism, the drive to expand, to make everything productive and serve profitability.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch01.htm#007
The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.

The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.
And that's what they seek, to keep reproducing their wealth.
https://research-repository.griffith.edu.au/bitstream/handle/10072/12641/33292_1.pdf?sequence=1
Marx’s version of capitalism is that capital starts from a process of expansion based on the circuit of production.13 Someone with money (the boss) inherits, amasses and/or borrows money from the banks to buy commodities (raw material for production). In the subsequent circuit of production these commodities provide the raw material (like the bolt of cotton cloth to make a suit). Value is added to the commodity (the raw cotton is made into the suit) through the mix of labour power (that is, a person who sews the cloth) and use of machinery (in this case, a sewing machine). This value-added commodity (the suit) is sold, if possible, in the market. The seller (the factory owner or boss) of the product (the suit) must sell the product. If they encounter difficulty realising their money, they must undercut other competitive sellers or find a new market to sell their commodity at a profit. The profits from the sale of the commodity then go back into production; some will go into taxes to the state, or to their personal consumption, but most of the money for a competitive capitalist will go back into the circuit to invest in better machinery or expand production. The circuit is shown in Figure 1.1.

From this single circuit of capital we can extrapolate to look at single capitalists in one factory or at the dynamics underlying capitalist production within a community, town or country and even globally. We can divide capitalists operating within the circuit into fractions of capital — industrialists, pastoralists, financiers, wholesalers, retailers — emerging at different times in the circuit but also coming to prominence at different periods within business cycles. Marx’s argument is that the circuit of production is the essence of capitalism and becomes the motivational force of globalisation. Capital only invests where it finds profits — it has no social, national or political commitment other than to profit.

This is how one of the top 30 Australian directors describes the role of capital and the freedom of capitalists to invest where they like:

Most governments that I have spoken to have no understanding of private capitalism. Now I have heard people say that you should feel privileged to be committed to invest in Australia. Really! The whole world is our oyster so what is so special about here? New Zealand is the same! Their attitude is we are permitting you to invest. So what! The whole world is on offer to us so what is so good about you? They think that they are the pearls in the oyster of the world. Australians in Canberra are remote from the real world. They don’t understand why you invest. It isn’t something that they have ever been involved in and they say, ‘We have improved the conditions — so now you do your bit’. What do they mean — my turn? We don’t have turns; we put our money out when we think that it’s good for us. That’s all we do. We don’t look for any other reason — it’s not a turn. Not when …Keating or Howard or other politicians say we have made all the conditions right, now it’s up to you to go and do it, unless we can see the market we are not going to invest.14
Of course the question that seems to be applied here is based on the perspective of a worker who sees work as unattractive and done only to acquire the money in order to acquire the things they need and want.
But the capitalist whilst in their own way alienated in capitalist production, don't relate to the world from the position of a worker whose experience of work which may be seen purely as a means of subsistence, do it because need money to survive and buy that thing you want.
http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/10867/1/VWills_ETD_2011.pdf
Because labor takes on such an unattractive character, instead of recognizing the labor process as the essence of human activity, workers feel that they are truly themselves and truly human only when they are at leisure or satisfying those needs which they have in common with animals.

As a result, therefore, man (the worker) only feels himself freely active in his animal functions – eating, drinking, procreating, or at most in his dwelling and in dressing-up, etc.; and in his human functions he no longer feels himself to be anything but an animal. What is animal becomes human and what is human becomes animal.
Certainly eating, drinking, procreating, etc., are also genuinely human functions. But taken abstractly, separated from the sphere of all other human activity and turned into sole and ultimate ends, they are animal functions. (Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, MECW 3:275)
https://www.marxists.org/archive/fromm/works/1961/man/ch04.htm
Marx recognized that the science of capitalistic economy, despite its worldly and pleasure-seeking appearance, "is a truly moral science, the most moral of all sciences. Its principal thesis is the renunciation of life and of human needs. The less you eat, drink, buy books, go to the theatre or to balls, or to the public house [ Br., pub], and the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you will be able to save and the greater will become your treasure which neither moth nor rust will corrupt -- your capital. The less you are, the less you express your life, the more you have, the greater is your alienated life and the greater is the saving of your alienated being. Everything which the economist takes from you in the way of life and humanity, he restores to you in the form of money and wealth. And everything which you are unable to do, your money can do for you; it can eat, drink, go to the ball and to the theatre. It can acquire art, learning, historical treasures, political power; and it can travel. It can appropriate all these things for you, can purchase everything; it is the true opulence. But although it can do all this, it only desires to create itself, and to buy itself, for everything else is subservient to it. When one owns the master, one also owns the servant, and one has no need of the master's servant. Thus all passions and activities must be submerged in avarice. The worker must have just what is necessary for him to want to live, and he must want to live only in order to have this." [51]
So your sense of money is that if you had so much of it, you can simply opt out of the rat race because your relation to such things is that it serves the end and when have so much that don't need to engage the means to achieve that end, the means (working for a wage) is taken out of the equation.

But it would seem that those that are cultivated to be a 'ruling elite' in fancy schools and shit...
https://www.guernicamag.com/john_berger_7_15_11/
The authorities do their systematic best to keep fellow prisoners misinformed about what is happening elsewhere in the world prison. They do not, in the aggressive sense of the term, indoctrinate. Indoctrination is reserved for the training of the small élite of traders and managerial and market experts. For the mass prison population the aim is not to activate them, but to keep them in a state of passive uncertainty, to remind them remorselessly that there is nothing in life but risk, and that the earth is an unsafe place.
...
don't relate to the world in the same way as you, they have a different relation to it and as such they don't necessarily have a cultivated sense of work being such drudgery that is coerced upon them for they'll be more severely deprived of their livelihood.

Anyway, these are just some thoughts which don't really give some phenomenology answer, but I think should heed the point:
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1859/critique-pol-economy/preface.htm
It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.
The point being that our consciousness is firmly based in our activity within a world of relations.
Although not strictly determined in a unidirectional manner...
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01b.htm
circumstances make men just as much as men make circumstances
I think this point is useful in to emphasize the conditions of people's existence rather than begin from a material view point as opposed to a strictly idealist position that appeals to certain concepts.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/ch01.htm#loc3
If I were to begin with the population, this would be a chaotic conception of the whole, and I would then, by means of further determination, move analytically towards ever more simple concepts, from the imagined concrete towards ever thinner abstractions until I had arrived at the simplest determinations. From there the journey would have to be retraced until I had arrived at the population again, but this time not as the chaotic conception of a whole, but as a rich totality of many determinations and relations.
But in regards to Trump, the motivations to becoming President become more particular but i bet he admires Putin for being one scary mother fucker who isn't just incredibly wealthy but has incredible control and authority over much of the Russian state, giving him more power than most wealthy individuals due to his direct influence on policy.

On another hand, a lot of people continue to work even if they find themselves having more money, when they don't feel so economically pressed into it because work has great significance in our lives even though it may not be work that is paid and in pursuit of profit for someone. Having all that one materially needs actually frees one more from human necessity and allows one to pursue things more freely, a space for human flourishing by pursuing a diversity of things and though one's activity in the world take within one's own being a wealth of what reality has to offer.
 
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