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Saturday, July 4, 2020

Why Is Money So Important? Economic Unit, Social Standing and Microphone for Inner Values

Money may not be the root of evil but certainly it has the power to do both good and evil things. Why do people spend their lives chasing money, more money, and when their coffers are full a few more dollars? People jump jobs for a few dollars and are willing to destroy relationships to get money that they were not entitled to. Others have donated vast fortunes to help others while some judge people by their "perceived" wealth. What is this thing we call money and why is it so important?

First we should understand what money is.... It is an economic unit that represents power values such as time and labor. The dollar is savable, divisible, able to be sent, stored and shared. Thus the dollar exists because it is able to be used as an important unit of commerce and medium of exchange. What it doesn't tell you is why people want so much of it?

Money isn't only a standard of accounting and a unit of labor but contains social and cultural aspects of social status (Lawson, 2016). Thus, people who have a lot of money are seen as more important to society than those who don't have a lot of money. That is assuming we have a true capitalistic society where people who are more productive, regardless of their backgrounds, earn more money because they actually have more societal worth. We know that isn't always the case.

I guess this is true in the sense that in my lifetime I have seen people hurt people on their death beds to gain money, forge wills, spread rumors, engage in coordinated harassment and all types of inappropriate acts to gain more money. Stealing and lying don't seem to factor to create any sense of guilt. Even when they have the opportunity to do it differently the second time they continue down the same path of manipulation and aggression knowing that as long as they stick together no one will question their motives. With such behavior money as an abstract inanimate unit with no moral values is not the issue.....it represents something more.

Money seems so important that some people will do anything for it. I may not be as smart as other people because I don't get it and have a difficult time comprehending what seems so important to others about these little green pieces of paper. Of course we need money to live and can do good or bad things with money but should it rule our lives? More money is awesome but it shouldn't fundamentally change who we are or our values unless there is something wrong with us already.

It would seem that because money can buy things that make us feel temporarily positive, better than other people, and money artificially raises our social status in front of other people with low insight.  Perhaps can begin to see that money isn't the issue it is people who haven't dealt with their feelings of low self-worth to be more of an issue. I guess that might be reason why some people are so brand oriented that they barely seem like a real person behind their objects. They have this artificially constructed personality based on commercials and movies.

I would love to have more money. It can be a useful tool. Of course I'm a human being and could pay off my mortgage or student loans and then go onto do other things. Like I want to help orphans in memory of a family member and because they were dealt an unfair hand in life. Furthermore, money might just give me more influence to make the world a better place. It needs a lot of work and we as a nation have opportunities to be the strongest most enlightened nation on the planet if we can give up some of our short-sighted thinking.

Money is not the root of evil but it can create a microphone for our positive or negative personality traits. So the next time you are faced with a moral dilemma over money just remember that it is only worth something in its social abstraction.

Lawson, Tony. (2016). Social positioning and the nature of money. Cambridge Journal of Economics. 40. 961-996. 10.1093/cje/bew006.

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