Here is my email from Jeremy Davis:
There was an idiotic movie in the 80’s (“Brewster’s Millions”) where Richard Pryor had to burn through $30 million in 30 days in order to inherit $300 million. There were some conditions: “. . . after 30 days, he may not own any assets that are not already his, and he must get value for the services of anyone he hires. He may donate only 5% to charity and lose 5% by gambling, and he may not waste the money by purchasing and destroying valuable items. Finally, he is not allowed to tell anyone. . . .” [Wikipedia].
Anyhow, I was thinking of a similar movie one could make. Awful, but perhaps instructive to students of economics.
Similar premise, similar challenge. But my twist is that the stipulation now is that he can do whatever he wants with the $30 million, on the condition that he NOT HELP ANYBODY with the money.
I don’t believe this is possible. Consider:
If he were to simply keep in in the bank and not touch it, the supply of loanable funds would shift to the right, lowering the cost of borrowing money, thereby helping others to improve their lives in various ways.
If he were to spend the money, he would create gains from trade, a positive-sum game. People would consider themselves better off for having sold him a good or service . . . or they wouldn’t have. Plus multipliers.
If he gave the money away, the recipient would doubtless consider himself better off, at least initially.
If he burned the money, he would be, albeit in a small way, helping the nation’s economy as a whole, since that $30 million represents a claim on the nation’s goods and services that now will never be called in.
I guess what I’m getting at here is that I don’t believe there’s any way a rich person can avoid helping others with his money.