Wealth, and the characteristics of those who have it and those who want it, along with the various nuances of how one obtains that wealth, is the determining factor for almost everything that happens in The Great Gatsby.
Gatsby decides he has to have wealth in order to get Daisy back. He gets this money by doing shady things, apparently most of it involving bootlegging alcohol, etc. Many of the wealthy people question this source of his wealth and look down on him.
Daisy is corrupted completely by her wealth and her own beauty and uses everyone around her ruthlessly. She escapes consequences because she is so wealthy.
Nick is the only one without great wealth, but even he cannot escape its effects.
In conclusion, wealth is a major theme running through almost every aspect of The Great Gatsby.
This is a great question. Examining wealth and poverty in this novel, can be compared to and contrasted with real life issues. Back in the 1920's, or the roaring 1920's as many refer to it, the economy was doing quite well. People would party a lot, drink, dance, and most importantly: spend money. As seen in the book The Great Gatsby, which takes place in the 1920's, people certainly behave this way. Gatsby always has these types of parties and gatherings where people mingle, eat, drink and just have a good time living life.
However, we can not forget about or ignore the other side of the spectrum. More importantly, poverty is also a driving factor of an economy, as well as the well-being of many individuals. One has to understand that money and wealth are not keys to happiness, as clearly evidenced in this book. Whereas many people may be well off and rich in this book, there are also various poverty driven moments, people, and places that are also described in this novel as well.
Paying close attention to the detail of both the wealthy and the poverty driven societies in this book, is critical in understanding the lesson Fitzgerald was trying to get at.