There is a certain kind of bookshop, most common in the United States, which specialises in New Age subjects. There are sections on pyramids, fortune-telling, women’s empowerment, and so on, but the one I always make for is labeled “Prosperity.” The books in it are about how to become rich.

It is an irresistible subject and many of the books contain useful advice on how to do well, but they all emphasise that if you really want to attract wealth you have to concentrate on it, work and pray for it, think and dream about it, to the exclusion of everything else. This violates the second Commandment (against idolatry), and in any case I have no time for such devotions. So wealth and I remain strangers, which is probably how it was meant to be.

beyond secretBut you can easily become rich without having to sacrifice your soul. According to the experts, there are six different ways of acquiring money:

1. By honest work, craft, or trade.

2. By robbing, swindling, or unlawful dealings.

3. By winning it through gambling or lottery.

4. By marrying it.

5. By inheriting it.

6. By finding it.

The first way is the most respectable but it tends to be slow and laborious….

“Getting rich won’t make you happy. But it will make you more selfish and dishonest,” says Michael Lewis at New Republic via The Week: …What is clear about rich people and their…

Politico‘s Ben White tells us that the 1%, the super wealthy elite, are having a collective meltdown at the prospect of less favorable attitudes and laws targeting them: The co-founder of one…

For students of economics and ancient civilizations alike, the strange economy of the Incan Empire is fascinating. Annalee Newitz writes for io9: In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Inca Empire was…

Another example of biased framing by the mainstream media: this is an Associated Press article, and most outlets have been running it under the headline “Homeless are a Challenge for Sarasota, Fla.”…

Mansa MusaIf you’ve never heard of Mansa Musa I of Mali, you should at least know that he was the world’s richest man – ever! The top ten richest people in all of history are as follows:

1. Mansa Musa I, (Ruler of Malian Empire, 1280-1331) $400 billion
2. Rothschild Family (banking dynasty, 1740- ) $350 billion
3. John D Rockefeller (industrialist, 1839-1937) $340 billion
4. Andrew Carnegie (industrialist, 1835-1919) $310 billion
5. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (last Emperor of Russia, 1868-1918) $300 billion
6. Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII (last ruler of Hyderabad, 1886-1967) $236 billion
7. William the Conqueror (King of England, 1028-1087) $229.5 billion
8. Muammar Gaddafi (former Libyan leader, 1942-2011) $200 billion
9. Henry Ford (Ford Motor Company founder, 1863-1947) $199 billion
10. Cornelius Vanderbilt (industrialist, 1794-1877) $185 billion

John Hall reports for the Independent:

When we think of the world’s all-time richest people, names like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and John D Rockefeller immediately come to mind…

Matt Bruenig on the logical absurdity of debates about “wealth redistribution”: The blogosphere is ablaze with discussions of redistribution: who redistributes to who, how much redistribution is happening, and so on. The…