The essence of wealth is the reshaping of natural resources to human benefit. So anyone with any talent can create wealth to some degree. I don’t just mean financial wealth, either. We can create wealth and abundance financially, spiritually, intellectually and emotionally through our rational actions.

I prefer the term “benevolence” rather than “altruism”. Benevolence means good will toward our fellow human beings but does not connote sacrifice. Altruism, on the other hand, often if not usually connotes sacrificing of self for the sake of others.

So we can do good things with our time and money for others without engaging in self-sacrifice provided those others are within our own values system. Giving blood to help a loved one or at least a benevolent stranger is not a “sacrifice”. Dedicating 15 years of your life to an Amway diamond with nothing to show for it *is* a sacrifice. Compare the feelings you experience between the two and you’ll get an idea of the contrast between benevolence and altruism.

Two excellent books by Ayn Rand that develop these ideas are THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS and CAPITALISM: THE UNKNOWN IDEAL.

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