Sunday, January 18, 2009

How Much Is Too Much?

There was a story in my local paper the other day that sparked a bit of conversation between my mother and I. The news story involves one Dr. Joel Cooper, formerly of Washington University Medical School. Dr. Cooper is the surgeon who performed the world's first successful lung transplant back in the 80s.

My mother picked up on the story because I am the recent recipient of a successful lung transplant myself. The operation was on November 4th this past year. Anyways, Cooper says that Wash U. let him go because of his age and says he was treated unfairly. Wash U. contends that Dr. Cooper wasn't bringing in enough revenue and was only willing to pay him $600,000 per year for three more years at the school. Cooper is suing the reputable medical school for $800,000 for breaching their contract with him. At one time, the good doctor was making about $750,000 a year from Wash U.

The question my mother asked me was not about the trial, but simply about whether I think Cooper deserves such an exorbitant salary. My answer was "no." This apparently threw my mom for a loop, saying, "But you had a lung transplant! He started the program!"

Now, I don't for a second question the man's competence (though his ego seems to be the most obvious victim during this whole affair, he is a surgeon after all). He's clearly an entirely competent and brilliant doctor. I have to say, and this would probably drive some of my relatives wild, but I don't think anybody has any business earning that kind of money, unless they're giving a considerable portion away to good, charitable causes. This stems from my faith and my understanding of Jesus' own words concerning money.

For one, money is power, and thus the potential for corruption is ever present. Absolute power and all that jazz...Secondly, there are simply too many poor people in this world for anyone to be hoarding money like some folks do. Now, I don't know if Dr. Cooper is a Christian, so I can't in fairness hold him to my standard of morality. However, I'm sorely concerned about the number of Christians who are rich beyond their wildest imaginations, but do little with it to ease the suffering of the world.

For anyone who happens upon this, Christian or not, what are your views on the mass accumulation of wealth?

-C. McEnroy

1 comment:

  1. I'm in agreement. However, I've witnessed Christians go the other direction. They work someone to the bone and neglect paying what they've earned because the work is supposed to be a ministry or something. If the offended party objects, it must be because they're greedy. I've seen Christians walk all over each other because they believe that the one getting walked on won't put up a fight.