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The Role of Money - a different view

Updated on January 9, 2016
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A warning is in order, that we are entering sacrilegious territory. For in today’s times, when money is the new God, deified as the sole yardstick and raison d’être of our existence, it is sheer blasphemy to even think of a different point of view.

I am no aspiring iconoclast and have only one reason to stray from the script. There is too much all around us, on why money is so very important and what one needs to do to become rich, the top 10 ways to make money etc., etc., that I thought a slightly different flavor may do the palate some good. A refreshing change, a diversion and maybe - a more balanced perspective.

What is money?

Let me clarify that I am talking of money in a very loose way to include money and all the investment avenues and assets that constitute the changing forms of money. Let’s say wealth is what is being alluded to when talking about money.

So, first the incontrovertible facts. Money is strange. Everybody needs it but nobody has enough of it even though money management has many skilled practitioners. Money is believed to have a very central and pivotal role in our existence today and yet very few understand it completely. Yet there are enough and more money managers, investment advisors or portfolio managers who are willing to guide you on how to handle your money (mostly for a fee) although, in most cases the risk is yours, if things go wrong later. If you consider the erosion in value of money as inflation takes its toll, and the way exchange rate movements affect the international value of your money it all adds up to something fascinating to keep you engaged for a lifetime.

Money evokes varied reactions as can be seen from what people have said about it in the last hundred years.

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons

— Woody Allen

Money can’t buy me love

— Paul Mcartney

He is truly a man to whom money is only a servant; but, on the other hand, those who do not know how to make a proper use of it, hardly deserve to be called men.

— Ramakrishna Paramahansa (famous Indian mystic saint).

A different view of money

Now let me come to the pointers to support my argument for a different way of looking at money. In fact if one looks around there is enough to suggest that the present structure suffers from numerous flaws. Some of these flaws are evident to anybody studying the global imbalances and the ongoing economic problems affecting several countries and the gloomy prognosis that confronts us. Those of us who are more sensitive to the environment will recognize the continuing damage that is being inflicted and the looming danger of global warming that are all indicators of serious flaws that need corrective steps. The problems of large scale urbanization and industrialization are also too well known.

Now what does all this have to do with money? On the face of it nothing. In fact money may be seen to be the solution for all these problems. It is therefore necessary to point out some of the pernicious effects of money so that the linkage with today’s burning problems becomes clear. Fortunately for us money has occupied the center stage over the last fifty years and therefore if we look at the difference between then and now, the conclusions are clear.

1. Degradation of values. When I was a young boy, it was not only the wealthy who were emulated or served as role models for inspiration. There were achievers from all walks of life, some of them moderately rich and some even poor who commanded respect, either for the sheer brilliance of their intellect or for their artistry, or for their sportsmanship, valor, or strength of character, Also a person who had money from ill-gotten means did not command attention and was instead seen as a freak case – an exception to the rule that honest hard work alone pays. “God knows how he made his money and got away with it,” would be the refrain when somebody like that was discussed. In those innocent (or backward) times, it was believed that wrongdoing would get you nowhere and that when you are caught it’s not possible to talk your way out of the situation. How different the present times are ! It’s not necessary for me to elaborate.

2. Erosion of institutions. With the centrality that money and commerce have assumed, all other human activities have had to wither and vanish or get reduced to being a small part of a giant enterprise in a global bazaar, where everything is bought and sold. What can be monetized or traded finds value and is allowed to flourish while the rest of it finds its way to the trashcan. Wombs can be rented and awards purchased. In the old days, schools and hospitals had dedicated doctors and teachers providing selfless service. Today, we have money-churning enterprises that leave you cold. Human life is reduced to a lifetime of buying and selling and institutions merely sub serve the cause.

3. Perversion of perspectives. Money being the yardstick, anything that makes sense from a money point of view becomes a truth that cannot be challenged. I remember an article about a group of economists in the seventies, who argued that money is highly inappropriate as a measuring rod to evaluate outcomes. They suggested that better alternatives need to be thought of and suggested that energy can be considered. Now the interesting point is that if energy is used as a measuring rod then one would get completely different results. For example, the increased output from adoption of modern agronomical practices would vanish because of the high energy cost of manufacturing fertilizers. Traditional farming would seem to be a highly energy efficient process.

These are some of the pointers that would make it appear that it’s not less money but the central role given to money that is at the root of all evils and pains that we are suffering today.

Wisdom of the ancients

Ancient Indian thought prescribed a fine balance between the four Purusharthas or aims of human life – Dharma (righteousness / duty and moral order), artha (wealth and prosperity), kama (worldly desires) and moksha (liberation).

It is obvious that in today’s world, we have extolled the value of artha (wealth) and subjugated and relegated the other three purusharthas.

The world would be much better if we restored the balance. Not that money is irrelevant or of no use – just that the balance needs to be restored.

Comments

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  • Vinodkpillai profile imageAUTHOR

    Vinodkpillai 

    6 years ago from Hyderabad, India

    Thanks Richawiter! Not only for the encouraging comments but more importantly for adding your unique perspective and enriching this page. (To be honest I never anticipated that this hub will find general acceptance, but have been very pleasantly surprised after it was published). Thanks one again!

  • Richawriter profile image

    Richard J ONeill 

    6 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

    What an extremely well written and thought stimulating hub this is Vinodkpillai!

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading it and this topic is right down my street, that's for sure.

    I eagerly discuss money and human affairs as often as possible with anyone who will show an interest which unfotunately is quite rare.

    Like you I think we should first restore the balance of life again and take money off the front-burner and place it on the back-burner where it belongs.

    'Money is the root of all evil' actually rings true in many ways. For example, what is the cause of pollution? Over-production of environmentally damaging materials such as plastic, used for bags etc, which are used to furiously compete with the thousands of businesses around the world. It is understandable that a business owner wants to be the best in the business, however, in the meantime while they are churning out the destructive packaging and materials, the environment and eco-system is deteriorating rapidly! Money is more important? No way!

    Then there is the race to monopolize and devour the Earth's resources which are then turned into poisonous fumes and more manmade environmentally harmful materials. All this just to stay at the summit of the money pile!

    Money will first bring humanity to its knees before we learn and either abolish it or regulate it in some way.

    Anyway, a great hub by a fellow HSP! Well done!

    Peace. :)

  • Vinodkpillai profile imageAUTHOR

    Vinodkpillai 

    6 years ago from Hyderabad, India

    Moses, thanks for the visit. Elsewhere on this site you can request for signing up on hubpages - it's free!

  • profile image

    Moses Herbert 

    6 years ago

    i want to be your member, i am in nigeria

  • Vinodkpillai profile imageAUTHOR

    Vinodkpillai 

    6 years ago from Hyderabad, India

    Thank you so much Rodric29 for your insightful and inspiring comment. I feel humbled and encouraged. Thanks!

  • Rodric29 profile image

    Rodric Anthony Johnson 

    6 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

    This is a surpremly good article and I gained a lot out of it. Your perspective allowed me to widen my view of the love of money being the root of all evil. I have found in myself that I measure how successful I am with the amount of dollar signs which follow my name.

    Seeing how I have fallen in the indoctrination of the economic moral system of the day, I feel that this article is a way for me to get out. I know that value should not be based on what we earn and accumulate alone, for earning does merit power or ability to act for the good of society. I know that other gifts and talents from God that we master contribute to humanity as we apply.

    One gift we share here on hub pages is the gift of sharing and and writing.

    We Put our words on display as a beacon to society to come and read and judge whether our writing adds value to the world. I vote this article up for adding value to my life. Thanks

  • Vinodkpillai profile imageAUTHOR

    Vinodkpillai 

    6 years ago from Hyderabad, India

    hi friend, thanks for the visit and your encouraging comment.

  • hi friend profile image

    hi friend 

    6 years ago from India

    very ineteresting hub. Please keet it up.

  • Vinodkpillai profile imageAUTHOR

    Vinodkpillai 

    6 years ago from Hyderabad, India

    Feels good to know that I am not alone in looking at money this way. Thanks!

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 

    6 years ago from USA

    You are spot on with your views on money. I have always viewed it only as a tool and as such, have been able to maintain my balance with it. It's obvious everything is out of kilter, but nobody seems to want to face the issue. Voted up and interesting. Thanks for the good read.

  • Vinodkpillai profile imageAUTHOR

    Vinodkpillai 

    6 years ago from Hyderabad, India

    Thanks for visiting and your encouraging comment!

    Thanks also for directing me to Cutbacks - I found it interesting and thought provoking.

  • mrslagibb profile image

    Mrs L A Gibb 

    6 years ago

    I have always thought money makes the world go round and it is blasphemous for people to worship money as God. Then worst of it all, some people require millions just so they can obtain power.

    A very inspirational artcle. I loved it a lot.

    Perhaps you like to read mine at http://mrslagibb.hubpages.com/hub/Cut-Backs. I have been told it is humourous. I adore Paul Mccartney, and of course the Bealtles

  • Vinodkpillai profile imageAUTHOR

    Vinodkpillai 

    6 years ago from Hyderabad, India

    thank you for the visit and for letting me know that you liked it!

  • profile image

    aki 

    6 years ago

    it is really a fantastic article, very thanks.

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