I haven't lived in New York City since 1977, but it's a measure of that city's impact on me that I still (and continuously) have subscribed to New York Magazine.
An article in their most recent issue caught my eye. It asks the all important question, "Are the Rich Meaner Than The Rest of Us?" It's a long and fascinating article, which seems to conclude that the rich are not necessarily meaner but they are not much interested in the plight of the rest of us. We recede into the background and take a distant second to the main concern of the rich--which is maintaining and increasing their wealth.
In my workplace, we once had a daylong workshop presented by Dr. Donna M. Beegle, author of "See Poverty. Be the Difference." Part of the book details her personal struggles as a poor white woman, teen mom, and eventual Ph.D candidate. She also speaks of the characteristics of those mired in poverty that are admirable but ultimately less than helpful as one moves out poverty. She is clear that many, many of her relatives and friends who had little themselves gave generously as she worked and studied her way into the middle class. But she also writes about how hard it is for her to now save money, when that is not a shared value. In fact, it is expected that she will "give back" by loaning or giving money to others in her family/community. The poor, she writes, don't always see the value of saving money over time. And her need to save now that she is in the middle class makes her seem unkind and ungrateful in her former community.
I am discouraged by the research outlined in the New York article. I'd like to think that if I had more money, I'd give more, and I'd be happier doing it.