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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Money Is Not the Goal

When I say that Money is NOT the Goal in today’s society, you may be thinking that I’m trying to transcend the idea that people don’t need money and life is about happiness and togetherness or something like that. But that is not the argument I am going for today. All that stuff may apply to life in some way but we all agree that money is necessary to survive, function, and flourish in modern society.
            With all the noise of the political parties and their drastic differences in their views combined with the constant drone of advertising and the idea that products and trips make people happy, it can be almost impossible for the average working person to not go crazy. The impact of money in our lives is so strong that we are constantly thinking about it. Either consciously or subconsciously, we are regularly evaluating our value as it relates to dollars. This psychosis starts to take over the natural thoughts and emotions that should drive our actions individually which therefore lay the social foundation of a society.  And without having to get into the political debates about systems of government and economics, let’s just understand that here we are in this system that needs help. I believe that all the tools of our society are here and we are using them. We are just using them in the wrong way. So, let’s talk about money’s role in our society versus how I think we can better use that tool to work for us.
            Right now, it seems that money is the end goal. People go to work to make money. They get promotions to make more money. We label success on those who find a job that pays them a lot of money. The richest people in the world have amassed wealth and keep it in locked vaults and hide it away offshore as if it is the most precious item in existence that needs to be protected and hoarded. But there’s a reason, right? People get stuff for that money. They can buy food, clothes, nice things, secrets, people, influence, power, politicians, and most importantly the ability to make people trade the truth for lies. It’s no wonder there is a lot of confusion, waste and inequality at all levels. We are all clamoring to collect as much cash money that we can imagine that we start to sacrifice bits of all other aspects of life. It appears that both individually and we as a society are working for money when it should be working for us. After all, money is just an inanimate object that we created. It should not be the most important thing in our lives. So, the <ahem> $64,000 question: What can we do about it?
            Well, unfortunately it’s not an easy answer, but there is an answer. First, it will take a mind shift on several fronts. We, as a people, need to confront this psychosis, and any psychologist will tell you that that is a time consuming and difficult process. We have to work on the idea that money is not the goal. We have to understand that money is really the catalyst to the goal. It is the life-blood of our economy. The goal is a better society. We get a better society by investing in it. We have to invest in schools to better education in our people; we have to invest in infrastructure to deliver the services and utilities to the people efficiently; we have to invest in people and businesses to continue to stimulate the economy and we can’t leave anyone behind. We have to aim for the lowest and most underprivileged and raise their potential. Which, unfortunately for the richest in our society, means that a lot of that money must come from them. The Republicans would be right about their view of lower taxes if the money were the goal. Again, money is the life-blood of our economy. And like any circulatory system, it works best when it’s healthy. All the currency locked away in vaults and over seas banks is making the body of our economy weak. Imagine your body operating with half the blood. You would be a sickly dying person with only responsibilities and no enjoyment out of your short life. Which ultimately means that evil word, “Taxes”, is actually a good thing for a society. Maybe we all bitch about it individually and somehow the loudest complainers make billions of dollars in profits, but for our society, it is key to progress. We should be circulating the money through our economy much faster than we are doing it now. We should be happy to spend money, have the government spend money, pay taxes, and as the generations grow, all the amenities that our society has to offer will get better. Processing food will become healthier and less impactful on the planet. Creating energy will be more efficient and less expensive and, also, less impactful on the planet. There will be fewer carcinogens from the lack of short cuts we take in manufacturing. We wouldn’t cut corners on spending for regulations that are actually needed, and therefore save ourselves from the setbacks of oil spills, explosions and disease. There would be less drive for war. Schools will get better. People will be better. Society will get better. The world will follow suit. That is the goal.