Wealth and the Aristocracy

When ever images of the upper class are shown, or the upper class is spoken of, money is usually shown as what set them apart. In America in fact money is really the only distinguisher of upper and lower class.
Money it would seem is what creates the elite, and what keeps them separate. Through out history people who wanted to be part of the elite have used money to create a world where they could be on display, or could separate themselves form the rest of society, in the name of elitism, usually with money as the key to admittance. Interestingly enough, and as anyone who has money will know, money does not make one elite.

Money is really a means to an end. It allows for access to certain benefits like education and quality goods and services; but ultimately it is only a means to an end- many of these things can be accessed without having enormous funds at your disposal. Members of the elite will frequently have money, both because their family is responsible and has earned and saved it, but also because the individual has earned and saved as well.  They also spent their money wisely, and insist on quality. Aristocracy means an ideal and an example and so someone who adheres to this principal will eschew schemes, rely upon solid education, and invest their money wisely.

What sets and aristocrat apart form the rest of society is their excellence. This excellence is composed of good manners, education, and excellent dress. Money assists an aristocrat is acquiring these things, but having money is no guarantee of them, nor of being an aristocrat.