Chapter

The Arab rich

in An Invitation to Laughter

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780226434766
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226434759 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226434759.003.0015
The Arab rich

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The author conducted a study to capture the culture of the rich in Lebanon. Some general themes could be detected in relation to those who became rich through their association with emirs. As a rule, the Lebanese consider the possession of money to be of a higher moral value than the method of making it. The means are less important than the end. This has had a marked effect on the self-image of the rich. While accumulating wealth, a person acquires status and comes to be credited with wisdom, charisma, historic family origin, and above all good looks. The rich Arabs are good tippers but bad contributors to purpose-oriented charities, such as universities, hospitals, research institutions, and the like. In their investment endeavors in Western countries, Arab entrepreneurs are thought to be mysterious, difficult to approach, and to operate in a “wheels-within-wheels” fashion. In seeking to live luxuriously, the rich experience at once comfort and frustration.

Keywords: rich; wealth; self-image; Lebanon; emirs; wisdom; good looks; Arabs; comfort; frustration

Chapter.  3519 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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