On Generosity And Miserliness Essay, Research Paper
On Generosity and Miserliness After reading Machiavelli: The Qualities of the Prince (On Generosity and Miserliness) I realized how much of Machiavelli s ideas can still be applied to today. His explanations of why miserliness was a wiser way of life can be completely converted into scenarios of the present. I agree with Machiavelli s thoughts, because his argument is solid, and because his wisdom has proven to be true throughout time (meaning it can still be applied today). Generosity seems to underlie miserliness to most, however miserliness is truly the more powerful of the two when applied to everyday life. Miserliness must be a characteristic of an individual if he or she wishes to carry on a financially secure well being. The qualities of a miser are to be considered wise, for they are the foundation to many positive financial applications in life. In this quote by Warren Buffett s son the qualites of a miser are described, When the Buffett family dines at a restaurant, Howard s sister always takes the bill and adds the tip Dad can t be trusted to tip generously enough (Forbes 98). Being a miser can save you money, which can later work as investments to help your money grow, as in the case of Warren Buffett. Warren Buffett sits as number two on the Forbes 400 (the 400 richest people in America) with a splendid wealth of 29 billion. Machiavelli obviously knew what he was taking about when he said miserliness would conserve one s wealth. Machiavelli explains how when a prince is miserly he will many times have the sufficient funds to be a worthy opponent in battle, and more eligible to take part in campaigns. Even today, this assertion by Machiavelli is completely true, but instead of battle in the field the man of today must battle with unforeseen events, like unemployment of car breakdowns. A man who is financially fit for these types of problems can feel prepared for what he must handle, whether it on the job or mechanical problems. However, the man who is not financially prepared for unexpected events might feel the pressure of not having the funds to treat the dilemma. Machiavelli also recalls the fact that In our times we have not seen great deeds accomplished except by those who were considered miserly, and he lists names like Pope Julius II, Louis XII, Caesar, and Ferdinand V. Far back in history miserly men have been the superior figures of society, and still today the men who are meticulous with their money are on top of the Forbes 400.
Generosity is not an inferior human characteristic, however it can drain individuals resources and leave them with aggravating hardships. First, there is the obvious concern that if too much generosity is displayed one s savings might begin to diminish, further resulting in more time at work, and even furthermore resulting in less time-shared with family. Machiavelli describes this same type of concept, for that of a prince, by stating, only the spending of your own is what harms you. And there is nothing that uses itself up faster than generosity, for as you employ it you lose the means of employing it. For the prince the final result is having to raise taxes in order to maintain a safe bank account, which then leaves the prince in a position where he will feel the effects of any slight unrest and will be ruined at the first sign of danger. Generosity can also be troublesome in the simplest of formalities. A relitively common gesture can show this. Most can recall a time when they felt inspired to give a gift out of generosity, which later created a vicious cycle of gift exchanging that he or she never wished they had started. For example, my mother wishes she would have thought about her generosity before she gave a gift of home made cookies to our neighbor Stella, because now Stella feels obligated to return the gesture, which she probably wished had never started. Now my mother and Stella are in a cycle that they do not know how to end. One of them will feel guilty if they are the one not to return a gift. The only way this will end is when one of them runs out of gifts to give. It just depends on whose generosity will ruin them first.To think of a miser as one who will succeed in a wealthy existence, is a sad thought too many. Most people think of a miser as a person who will not turn on the heater when the climate is at an all time low, in order to save a little. The character that comes to mind is the most famous miser of them all, Ebeniezer Scrooge. Ebeniezer Scrooge was a fairy tale, and I think he would be the only person on earth to turn on the heater when the weather is at an all time low. People seem to have a misconception of what a miser truly is. A miser is someone who saves money anyway they can to help make their life a little easier. Whether they do it for retirement, college for the kids, or investments makes no difference because they are building financial security for the future.