Seneca was easily within the 1% – and yet –
The problem, for Seneca, is not that owning slaves is bad for the slaves, or that the rich man’s wealth might be better spent feeding the hungry than buying another ivory-legged table. The problem is rather that owning too much – whether slaves or tables – can be damaging for the owner, because he (it is always “he”) will be unable to achieve what we all really need, which is the peace of mind that comes from virtue and truth. “We would belong to ourselves if those things were not ours,” he declares. Consumerist desires are essentially insatiable, because they are desires for things we do not really need: “You see, it’s not thirst; it’s disease.”
The rest of the article (by Emily Wilson) is here.