Thursday, July 22, 2010

Entropy and Inherited Wealth

Here's a NYTimes story about the reality of inherited wealth.

IS the past a burden and a trap? Or an anchor and a springboard? This opposition is being worked out daily at Rokeby, a 195-year-old, 43-room stucco house on 420 rolling acres, one of the last family-owned properties in the Hudson River landmark district, where Astors once roamed.

Populated by a colorful but mostly impecunious cast of Livingston and Astor descendants — who are struggling, sometimes with each other, to keep the house from falling down while tending to their own deeply individual destinies — Rokeby is a study in contrasts, a lively dialogue, as one inhabitant put it, “between the creatives and the historians.”
Build a monstrously large house, a few generations later your descendants won't be able to afford to keep it painted. Unless subsequent generations consciously practice eugenics and are blessed with good circumstances, wealth dissipates quickly.

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