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Do the rich deserve to be rich?

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Posted: 6 pm ET

Do the rich deserve to be rich? According to a poll, the answer depends on where you live.

A survey by Globescan finds that attitudes about wealth vary greatly around the world, with Americans being among the most benevolent toward the rich.

Of course, it's not simply location that shapes how we feel about wealth. Economics, culture and politics all play a part, with the worst attitudes toward the rich coming from residents of countries where prospects for the economy are dim and government corruption is high. In Greece, for example, only 9 percent of respondents believe the rich deserve their wealth, compared with 58 percent who believe it in the U.S.

The U.S. has always been viewed as a land of economic opportunity. Australia ranks a bit higher and tops the list with 61 percent of its citizens believing the rich deserve to be rich. Canada ties with the U.S. for second place, and Indonesia comes in third at 54 percent. Greece ranks worst, perhaps not surprising given its economic woes. Just above it is Russia with 16 percent of its residents saying the rich deserve their money. Spain and Turkey, both at 20 percent, rank close to the bottom.

Somewhat surprising is China, where 52 percent of residents have a favorable attitude toward financial gain. But, as The Economist notes, economic growth has pulled many out of poverty, perhaps explaining the positive attitude.

Do you believe the rich deserve to be rich?

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July 28, 2012 at 2:32 am

The poor in the country have only themselves to blame for putting themselves in that position. Even if this terrible economy, there are still jobs. And yes, sometimes it mean taking 2 jobs to make ends meet, many of us had been there. Investing in their education is another thing they can do. Getting a high school education is "free" to all those that participate. There are scholarships, grant, and subsidized loans for those pursuing education. Not to mention tax break's galore for those in low income to work, invest, and get an education. Finally, and this is probably the most important aspect of what makes someone poor, which is poor money managment. Not saving, not living within their means, spending too much of tomorrow's money today. How many get stuff in the payday loan and credit card slippery slope?

July 26, 2012 at 12:14 am

I have to vehemently disagree with Pat's comment. Someone who routinely wastes money absolutely deserves to be poor.

There are plenty of people out there who, either via greed or stupidity, waste thousands of dollars a day on ridiculous and 100% unnecessary items. If their spending results in poverty, they deserve it.

People who have additional children when they are barely making ends meet with their current family situation absolutely deserve the poverty that results.

Taking adequate personal responsibility very rarely results in poverty. People who make bad decisions over and over and over again deserve what they get.

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July 23, 2012 at 1:15 am

I'm sure if your rich you feel you deserve to be rich. However, no one deserves to be poor.