Is Luxury an Evil?

Most of us wish to lead a luxurious life. Some say that money spent on luxurious is wasted. But without luxury life becomes quite monotonous. Two diametrically opposite opinions prevail on this question.

According to some, all expenditure on luxury is wicked, while according to others, everyone who buys expensive luxuries thereby encourages trade and deserves to be extolled as a benefactor of the working classes.

The superficial observer sees that the money spent on the decoration of the rooms goes straight into the pockets of a large number of laboring men; whereas the money saved is put into a bank and seems to do no good to anybody but the owner, who presently receives interest from the banker.

A moment’s reflection however shows that money saved and invested benefits the laboring class as much as money spent on personal luxuries. The miser who saves money benefits the laboring population just as much as the spendthrift who surrounds himself with every kind of luxury.

It is quite true that the poor should seek a higher mean to be observed of comfort and try to secure a moderate amount of luxury for themselves and their families. On the contrary those rich men who satiate their excessive love of luxury at the expense of their health and their prosperity, deserves to be severely condemned for their imprudence.

But luxury is often worse than imprudence. A rich man may by continual indulgence in expensive pleasures come to lose all sympathy with his fellow-men and excite the bitter hatred of the poor by his ostentatious extravagance. This way he not only becomes a narrow-minded egotist himself but also as far as in him lies, embitters the relations between man and man, and helps to make envy, hatred and malice predominate in the world over kindly sentiments, sympathy and benevolence thus in the great battle of life he rages himself on the side of evil against good.

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