Western tradition on wealth has may trends. From classic “ethical work” (λειτούργημα) to the protestant “work ethic” (arbeitsmoral), in all major trends the english Prosperity Gospel is considered a shallow deviation by the uncultured.
Friends from Asia are often surprised when visiting Europe (even stores like IKEA) and ask: where does European aesthetic comes from? It boils down to this: in contrast to other asiatic cultures, the graeco-christian showed an open detest & distrust for excessive wealth.
Unless it represents an INSTITUTION. e.g. Acropolis, or a magnificent medieval church was conceived to belong to the body of people (église = the ecclesia of the people, body of Christ). Any abuse of power should be hidden, as a deviation of the norms.
Showing / talking about / desiring wealth was one of the “customs of the barbarians”. This was considered hubris and accompanied, notably, by the refusal of the greeks to bow in front of asiatic despots (who disposed such wealth) when passing by those regions.
Ancient Athens understood money. They thrived through free markets. In fact, Xenophon uses the phrase “ελευθερη αγορα” (free market) but warns against its deviations.
plutos = wealth
Plutocracy, according to Xenophon, becomes the “reign of wealth”.
Students had to memorise Delphic aphorisms that encompass their moral education. Examples:
“Πλούτῳ ἀπόστει” (get distance from wealth)
“Πλούτει δικαίως” (get wealth [only] in a just way)
Plato noticed that cities next to ports (wealth) get quickly degenerated.
Graeco-christian: “the love of money is the root of all evil” is found in New Testament, but it’s in fact found widespread in ancient texts attributed to Solon, Aristotle etc.
Avarice, the love of material wealth, became one of the Seven deadly sins in Christian tradition.
For the greeks, Pluto (=wealth) was the god of the dead (underworld) regularly described as dark, black, gloomy.
In Hinduism, Kubera is the god of wealth, in golden clothes, the “protector of the world”. Naval subscribes to the Kubera tradition.
I’m sure India has a great history of philosophers & mathematicians, reformers whose work is largely unknown. Therefore, the source of its true wealth is hidden.
What I like in greek & byzantine scholarship is that they understood wealth (personal hard work) in conjunction with social equity.
Homer, Solon, the Komnenoi didn’t wait for any radical leftist to remind them that all citizens need access to land (means of production). “In the Odyssey it is mentioned that the worst fate of a man, other than death, is to remain without access to land and thus have to serve another person”
On the contrary, modern liberals (including Nassim Taleb) don’t understand Social Equity. Without the economics of positive Golden Rule (give land to the poor, free access to hospitals etc) we get the “freedom” that upper Indian casts give to the lower.