My grandfather was wealthy by any measure.
He had good friends, work and hobbies he loved, civic connections and money.
He believed in capitalism.
He earned a nice income as a commercial pilot and combined it with a Depression-era inclination towards thrift. Employing self-taught engineering skills, he made some of his furniture and built his home additions.
Thrift allowed him to invest his wealth rather than display it. I thought of him as a quiet capitalist.
To be sure, there were material indications of wealth — he had a private plane, and he owned a Mercedes. But the aircraft was an investment. He sold it for more than he paid. The Mercedes wasn’t, but he leveraged his pilot’s cargo discount to buy it directly from Germany for significantly less than its stateside cost.
His underlying thrift guided seemingly every decision.
He had a minimal wardrobe.
His home was modest.
He ate, dined and drank in moderation.
He used his wealth to help his children and grandchildren get a college education and give handsomely to his local church and community.
To be sure, his experience is that of one man. Yet, we might think of displays of wealth as anti-capitalist.
It’s the investments of wealth that imbue capitalism with its potential to benefit others.
Might more quiet capitalists help more of us live better lives?