Prof. Dr. Kemal Arıkan

The superior rich and the rich superior!

Maybe he was one of the richest youth in Turkey. He was only twenty-five years old… Due to some reason his father passed the business on to him in spite of his young years… His mother had died when he was in secondary school. At that time, through his father, he had received psychiatric support from me… Only support. He was not suffering from any disorder.

Time passed. We became confidants. During such a meeting the young man said: “My monthly pocket money amounts to as much as I pay the two tea-men”. Before I could shake off my surprise he continued: “Although I could buy myself the model of car I like, I use as cheap a car as possible. I put aside the additional cost a luxury car would produce and every year I present this amount to one of my workers as “personnel of the year” award!”

The older sister of this young man for whom I was developing an admiration, came along to join in the conversation. After chatting for a while he gave this information which really impressed me: “My sister and I are particularly interested in Ottoman-Turkish history. My sister used to take me to one side and talk about history. For example, today we have a great accumulation of knowledge on the Sultans. Our sources are sent to us from Princeton University.”

This young man of whom only a short while ago I thought “At the end of the day he is only a rich kid!” “Let’s see when he will have spent all his father’s money” had embarrassed me. One should not be prejudiced against anybody. The event reminded me of this once more.

He said: “Even to my tea-man I pay a wage that is three times the minimal wage. But we have partners who pull aside the worker and say: “Your wage will be lower than the minimal wage, and if you don’t like it you can leave!” In this way they pay less to the worker and at the same time benefit from the incentive that the state gives per worker. And the people who do this are businessmen famous for their religiousness and they come from a town in Anatolia which is famous for its religiousness.”

The young man’s relationship with religion was at the questioning stage. He was reading. Researching the meaning of life. What he discovered so far was that there are much more powerful assets and values than money…

“Those workers” I said “will be committed to you, they will regard the workplace as their own and your income will increase”. “You are right” he said. “Since I took over the business the income graphic has been rising and it looks like it will rise even further”…

I believe that this story will be a lesson to those who believe wealth is superiority…

As for our heroes, the young man will get the role of the superior rich person, and the religious (!) businessman the role of the rich superior person…

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