In the most enlightened books on planning for wealthy families, the author will rise from mere finance and law to the level of talking about the moral and mental health of the family. (The goal is not to rack up the money, but to use the money to preserve and protect the family.) Then will be used phrases like, "social capital," "intellectual capital," "human capital," or maybe even political capital (though that seems not to be mentioned much.) My question is since when has capital been the best measure or metaphor for moral sanity and health? Or, to go farther, doesn't our use of that metaphor indict our own moral vision, and prove beyond doubt how mercenary we really are, through and through? Using the word capital makes money-minded people feel at ease, but moral health, the well-being of a client, as a person, family member, and civic leader or menace is not best captured in the language of balance sheets, income statements, or investment. Think of a family as a garden and how much better it guides us. A garden must be weeded. A graden must be cultivated, The fruit-bearing trees must be pruned, or cut down, and the dead wood burnt, perhaps in a great bonfire. In a garden some seed falls on stony ground and never sprouts; some falls on fertile ground and grows only to wither; while here and there the seed falls on fertile ground and flourishes, casting seeds for further riotous growth. The garden must be manured, harrowed, tilled and watered. The tender new growth must be staked. Or the family might be considered a miniature body politic some of whose members are corrupt and must lanced like a boil, cauterized, or amputated. The diseased client might be considered contagious and quarantined, subjected to purges, starved, or fed, as the case might be, depending on the symptoms or the fever. If we are truly in the high toned Wisdom Bidniss as some make out, why not write in the astringent style of the true moralists, like Martial, Juvenal, Seneca, or the Christ of the parables, rather than in the emollient prose of the courtier? Our clients are sick, and half measures will not cure them. As leaders in our society the wealthy must be cured or this whole country will sicken with them. Yes, we put ourselves at risk, moving as a healer among those with the moral equivalent of cholera, but we owe it to them and to our society.
Jay, let it not be said that our charges escaped the Ward and ran around infecting others, let alone their own children. Not that I am one to talk. My own vices are well documented. I am deeply ashamed of what I have done, but no longer try to conceal my prior life. I have confessed my sins openly and asked my family and my readers for their forgiveness. Perhaps my own sojurn in Wealth Bond*ge, as an Assistant Dungeon Master to the Stars, before I was Born Again, as a Morals Tutor to America's Wealthiest Families, has made me overly sensitive to the language of Money or Capital as the measure of all things. I admit I am addicted to Wealth Bond*ge, and always will be, even now it is one day at a time. As I have saved myself from a Life of Sin in Bond*age to Wealth, Jay, let me save you and your clients, on some kind of fee-sharing arrangement maybe? We could go smacks 50/50. Is this a cash deal or do we have to declare it?