04 November, 2003

In further praise of money

Money represents some of the finer abstracts of life.

Money represents time.
Why do you get a feeling of satisfaction when you buy a new car? Anyone can buy a car, it is not hard. But to buy it with your own money, you feel the satisfaction because you can afford it. You know that whatever you purchase with the money symbolized the time you spent earning the money. It is like being able to look at a slice of the past.
Money represents freedom.
Remember that first paycheck? The exhilaration of being able to EARN your way? Even if it was only forty dollars from a paper route, you knew that you were on your way to liberation. That is why so many entrepreneurs save the first dollar they earn. Only a free Man can accumulate wealth. Show me a slave with a bank account and I will show you a slave that doesn’t know the meaning of slavery.
Money represents the fruits of your labors.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that, “…all Men were Created equal.” But that doesn’t mean we all have the same talents or aptitudes. Money allows us to cash our skills into a common currency so that we can trade with someone else who does not need our particular skill. In other words, money allows the plumber to buy a car, even though the auto manufacturer doesn’t need a plumber right now. Being able to trade skills for cash allows us to do something else, as well. It allows us to accumulate wealth. If we used the barter system, someone could not accumulate wealth if they were, say, a chef. Imagine trying to save up enough gourmet food to trade for a car. You'd need a very large refrigerator.
Money represents quality of life.
I have a car and a computer. I think they improve the quality of my life. I bought them with money I earned. If I had to make my own car and computer, I would have neither, or at the very least they would be of lesser quality.If that does not prove my point, replace the terms ‘car’ and ‘computer’ with ‘medical care’, ‘entertainment’, ‘books’, or anything else that improves your life.
Money represents feeling of a job well done.
You can’t store up a beautiful sunset, just like you cannot bottle a good feeling. But you can take a picture or movie of the sunset, and save those. The good feeling one gets from accomplishment, especially a difficult accomplishment which oftentimes is accompanied by a high salary, is forever stored in the money you got paid for doing it. It is also transferred to the things you purchased with that money.
Money represents the ideals of early America.
I read in a book by Ayn Rand that the term, ‘to make money’, was not invented until America was founded. I cannot confirm or deny the truth of that statement, but I place stock in the good name of Ayn Rand, so I have to give it at least some credence. It is true that our forefathers were, in the large, businessmen who wanted fair trade for goods, and that is one of the reasons we seceded from Britain. Early America was capitalist, and mostly laiseze faire (hands off) capitalist. The ideals of Capitalism are in direct contradiction to the ideals of Marxism, Socialism, and Communism. “From each according to their ability, and to each according to their need.” That is their economic philosophy in a nutshell.
My heart is saddened that in the writing of this, I could only refer to early America as my ideal Capitalist society. Currently, America is a mix of Socialist and Capitalist values. And like most mixes, we seem to be getting the worst of the two, instead of the cream. Germany is socialist, but at least they have a great healthcare, public transportation, and education system. Did our slip into socialism in America provide us with any of those?
‘Nuff said.
Money is far from evil. It represents the values that make Mankind great. It is pursued and attained by people who are unscrupulous, but they cannot taint what money represents. Love of money is not evil, but lust for money and lack of honor in its acquisition could be labeled as evil.

But the ultimate truth is that the richest man in the world never bought a second of time.

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