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Is Wealth a Zero Sum Game? - featured image
By Tom Corley

Is Wealth a Zero Sum Game?

There are a lot of people who dislike the rich.

It’s human nature to eschew that which you don’t like, so, if you dislike the wealthy, you will likely eschew the pursuit of wealth.

rich cyclesThere are, however, a lot of other people who not only like the rich but aspire to become one of them.

“If he or she can do it, so can I”, was the youthful mantra of Australian self-made millionaire, Michael Yardney.

I happen know this self-made millionaire very well.

Michael is the co-author of our bestselling book, Rich Habits Poor Habits.

Michael would often tell me that just because someone gets rich, that didn’t mean someone else gets poor.

And Michael may be right.

Just take a look at what’s happening in China.

China’s emergence as a world economic juggernaut began back in 1978, when eighteen farmers from a small Chinese village called Xiaogang gathered in a mud hut to sign a secret contract. 

The farmers decided to divide up the land among the eighteen families.

Each family agreed to turn over a minimum amount of produce required by the Chinese government.

Any excess produce, above the government quota, went to the families.

At the end of the season, they had an enormous harvest.

Yen Hongchang, one of the eighteen farmers, said that year’s harvest was greater than the previous five years combined.

Local officials soon learned what the farmers had done.

Word of what had happened in Xiaogang made its way up the Communist Party chain of command.

At one point, Yen Hongchang was hauled in to the local Communist Party office.


The officials swore at him, treated him like he was a criminal and threatened his life.

Fortunately, for Mr. Yen and the other farmers, there were powerful people in the Communist Party who wanted to change China’s economy from a socialist system to a capitalist one.

Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader who would go on to create China’s modern economy, had just come into power.

Instead of imprisoning or executing the Xiaogang farmers, the Chinese leaders decided to hold them up as a model for all to follow.

Within a few years, farms all over China adopted the entrepreneurial principles in that secret document.

People could now keep what they grew.

Throughout China, record harvests on nearly every farm, resulted.

Encouraged by this success, the Chinese government launched other similar economic reforms, in other industries. Capital Growth

China’s economic revolution had begun.

As of 2018, there were 819 billionaires and over 1.7 million, millionaires in China.

Since 1978, 500 million people in China have been lifted out of poverty and thrust into the middle-class.

When you succeed in the pursuit of your dreams, that success doesn’t just lift you up, it lifts everyone up.

It creates new jobs, boosts the economy and inspires others who have their own dreams, to pursue those dreams.

Wealth isn’t a zero sum game.

If anything, wealth is a multiplier that helps lift people out of poverty.

About Tom Corley Tom is a CPA, CFP and heads one of the top financial firms in New Jersey. For 5 years, Tom observed and documented the daily activities of wealthy people and people living in poverty and his research he identified over 200 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots” which culminated in his #1 bestselling book, Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals. Visit the website:
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