I love money. I really do. I want more of it, a lot of it in fact. But, I don’t think about stealing from people. Whenever I conduct business, whether at my place of employment or in my own ventures, I don’t lie to people or try to convince them of things which aren’t in their interest just so I can make an extra buck. Am I still greedy? Just because I want more money? I work hard for it, and I use a good amount of it to do good things for less fortunate people, but does the does the desire for money make me a bad person? I’ve often wondered about this question. Is money, or the concept of it, an inherent cause of evil? Are we as people so susceptible to greed that currency does in fact lead us to do terrible things? I really don’t think so, and here’s why.
When people do illicit things to get money, it isn’t really because they want money, it’s because they want unearned money. This is a very important distinction. Those acts which have caused the negative stigma against the wealthy have been borne out of efforts to get money without earning. However, those who maintain a commitment to hard work and honest earnings do not fall prey to the immorality of greed. Bill Gates, for example, is not a terrible person. Unless you consider Microsoft’s prices as robbery, Microsoft is not an immoral company which conducts shady dealings. Mark Zuckerberg, although maybe socially inept, is also not a seedy Wall Street banker type. Those who give out sub prime mortgages, prey on the poor, and lie and deceive are all after a maximum return for minimal effort.
Even if money didn’t exist, we would still find people exhibiting the same behavior that they do now. People are either lazy or incapable. They do not want to put in the effort it requires to earn mountains of riches, and so they try to find ways around it. In so doing, they carry out some pretty terrible acts. Those who work honestly for their wages, however, don’t. Granted, not everyone is going to be Bill Gates, but that doesn’t mean that you have to screw people over to be wealthy. Quite the opposite, wealth would likely be spread around much more if the system didn’t tip things in favor of the unscrupulous, but that’s a game theory discussion for another time.
Until then, remember this, “Money doesn’t buy happiness, but poverty doesn’t buy shit.”