Contrast that with this quote from Abdul Rashid Kahn out of Greg Mortenson's wonderful book Stones Into Schools.
"All I really want for my people is a school so that we can provide education for our children. ... To achieve that, I am willing to give up all of my wealth—all of my sheep, all of my camels, all of my yaks—everything I have, if only Allah will grant this one request."Abdul Rashid Khan is the leader of the Kirghiz tribesmen in one the most remote regions in the mountains of Afghanistan. Perhaps we could lobby to get him an appoint to Sloan School so that he could teach a new generation of business leaders about the nature of true wealth and true poverty.
There is a wonderful scene near the end of Schindler's List where Schindler is looking around at his car and his jewelry and agonizing that each one of his little indulgences represent a life that could have been saved but was not. If you take that sort of thinking too far you can make yourself crazy. Life is for living and we need comedians and artists every bit as much as we need welders and computer programmers. We need some ease and some comfort and some joy. But there is some limit to the value of self-indulgence. It may be hard to define with precision, but it is there nonetheless.
How many bottles of Merlot would you trade to leave the next generation a better world?