A liberal man who claims to be part of the "One Percent" has recalled his suffering from wealth anxiety in a tone-deaf illustrated essay, saying, “I think having this much money is wrong.”
Adam Roberts, a Boston community organizer working to help wealthy young people “become transformative leaders,” published an illustrated essay at the left-wing Vox outlet explaining the difficulties of being a progressive and wealthy due to his family riches.
Roberts recalls his horror to learn that the family’s exorbitant wealth comes from oil, banking and equity holdings, including in large military contractors – everything he was “ethically opposing” in his life.
“Learning my family's wealth was more of a slow awakening. ... As I got politicized around things like wealth inequality, climate change, war, and the forces connecting them, I didn't connect it too much with my own family or history,” he wrote.
“It turned out what had paid for my education – my whole life, it felt like – was money from the very same industries I found myself ethically opposing,” he added. “This money had been passed down by my family over the generations with a couple simple messages: don't spend it, and don't talk about it.”
“It turned out what had paid for my education – my whole life, it felt like – was money from the very same industries I found myself ethically opposing.”
He then said he began suffering from moral anxiety after inheriting about $1.2 million, feeling alienated among his poorer friends who often joked about “some idiot rich kid with a trust fund.”
Roberts doesn’t appear to be alone in his suffering. Actress Rosanna Arquette took to Twitter to apologize to her followers for being “born white and privileged.”
“I’m sorry I was born white and privileged. It disgusts me. And I feel so much shame,” the “Pulp Fiction” actress wrote Wednesday.
It’s unclear what prompted her to release that message to her roughly 89,000 followers. Since posting the tweet, the 59-year-old actress made her account private and accessible only to select followers.
Roberts said his awareness of the wealth made him more conscious about the purchasing choices he makes, forcing him to question whether he should buy a home considering the effect of gentrification. He even pondered over the purchase of movie theater popcorn, thinking that this contributes to consumerism and climate change.
“I got really weird about money. I'd barely spend any of it. Even today, I tend to put each of my expenses through a kind of advanced moral screen,” he said.
“I got really weird about money. I'd barely spend any of it. Even today, I tend to put each of my expenses through a kind of advanced moral screen.”
Roberts goes on in the essay to argue that wealthy individuals are a “total policy failure” of the society as no individuals should have been able to accumulate such wealth.
He added that while he wanted to be taxed more by the government, he also has issues about giving the money away. He claims to have donated over $400,000 to “movements for social justice” and pledges to donate more in later years.