James Leroy Wilson's blog

Saturday, August 10, 2013

"Four Houses"

I recently saw most of three episodes of the show "Four Houses" on TLC (which once stood for "The Learning Channel." I don't know what it stands for today; it's also programs "America's Worst Tattoos"  and "Honey Boo Boo.")

 I have a red-brown visual color-blindness and pay little attention to visual detail in day-to-day living, yet I found the show fascinating. Interior decoration is one of the things I'd be really bad at, but I also have an interest in the look and feel of places, and the best use of space. Things like positioning the tv so, no matter where you sit and any time of day, no sunlight via window is glaring on your tv.

The show has four homeowners in a given city/area who evaluate each other's homes. They are all obviously high-income people, and the "winner" gets only $10,000. 

The ones I saw were in New Jersey suburbs of New York, Miami, and New York City. There was one Miami party house that had a great pool area and rooftop, but three of my other favorites were in NYC.

But one thing struck me: all the contestants were already wealthy or high-income. And most of them in the first two episodes were aware of that, and said they would give their money to charity. But three out of four in the New York episode said something different. One said he'd get central heating for his building. Another said he'd use it on a movie he's written a script for. And the third said she'd reinvest it into her tech startups.

Were they greedy?

I don't think so. New projects, or reinvesting to keep businesses afloat, are the best way to create jobs and retain jobs. Employment relieves stress and gives people a sense of purpose to get up in the morning. It's probably the best form of healthcare. And the greater productivity that accompanies new jobs leads to a better standard of living for all.

So I don't begrudge someone who uses winnings or other income to spend on their own happiness or desires. That means someone else is being hired to produce or serve them. That's a good thing; at least as good to donating to charity.  

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