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Money. It’s mode. It’s motivation. It’s authority. It’s life; or death. It can compel a man to
kill, or be killed. When you have a dollar in your hand, you have power, and you’re
a target. Money and wealth have changed the face of America and the face of American
history. Of world history. Of yours, mine, an everyone’s lives.Of yours and my way of
living thinking.You can brag, you can buy, you can live, die, attack, defend, change, or destroy. Money can’t buy everything, but what it can buy, and do to people, that can do damage beyond comprehension. It’s liquid, not weapons or armies or dictatorships, but the ones that make them. Money is corruption. A hell.
But what does the rest of the world say? According to wikipedia.org, quote - “Money is any object that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context.” What does that all mean? It speaks nothing of what money does. What of the great corruptions and evils that money can draw from the deep dark recesses of humanity? This obviously needs more looking into from a source who provides more than just the definition of what money is.
Another source whom I found searching through the school’s databased websites went deeper into a metaphorical text regarding monetary corruption. Quote: “Economies - national or global - run best when not greased by corruption. In fact, kickbacks and bribes are more like sand, ultimately clogging the gears of commerce.” So as I look a little deeper, I leave the school’s database and find more on corruption from the free encyclopedia. From the article titled Corruption: “The word corrupt, when used as an adjective literally means "utterly broken". In modern English usage the words corruption and corrupt have many usages...” and it goes on to briefly explain police, political, and corporate corruption, along with bribery, putrefaction for an odd reason I do not wish to seek at this time, and rule of law. One thing catches my mind though - an article titled “Corruption (philosophical concept)”. Just what I was looking for. Upon opening the article, the text stated: “In philosophical, theological, or moral discussions, corruption often refers to spiritual or moral impurity, or deviation from an ideal.” Now the accursed thing is just going off on tangents, and not providing the information on monetary corruption as I sought. I scoured the disappointingly small page, and found a tidbit of information who seemed minor, but ended up with an immense input. Quote, “In a moral sense, corruption generally refers to decadence or hedonism.” Hedonist, always seeking pleasure. Decadence, of course, of pleasure. This is exactly the drawback I needed to tie money directly to corruption. More scouring. Then I came upon a shocking moral discovery for myself: there is no solid way to define corruption of money that i sought, or not on the world wide web at least. As a responder to a question I had posed to the writing environment Kaitlin Grande had stated, in a better way than I could have hoped to, quote - “The very attitude of acquiring wealth, power, or pleasure above all else can engender and encourage misanthropy - that is, the pursuer will begin to hate others for standing in between him and his goals.” This line does, though, ultimately tie back to what I was in search of explicating in the first place.
Though I have come to the end of the line of defining money from sources the internet could offer, also, we must touch on the road to corruption and money which only the human mind can grasp, for it cannot be so easily described without words. What happens to a person when he desires money and wealth? Betrayal, moral failures left and right, and a loss of a sense of what is important. But can this mean that no one can be trusted with money? Of course not. The power money has and the damage it can inflict on others is totally subjective. Then all of this has just led me to one huge moral input: Monetary value is an extremely goading value that can corrupt the individual which inevitably spreads to the societal institution.
And even further into the beyond, how has money inhibited, exhibited, effected, changed, or instituted popular culture? This I believe might be the easiest branch of my research that has yet been occupied: culture is all around us, on our television in the air waves, being transmitted to and fro, in our ears and in our eyes. From centuries ago, money has played itself a role in our race’s society, deciding the class of your neighbor, telling whether your kid can go to college, or whether you can afford that new Ford auto. But beyond that, it’s in our music: think of songs like “You Never Give Me Your Money” by the Beatles, which talks about the story of a guy who just left college and is low on money, and has a wealthy. Another Beatles tune “Can’t Buy Me Love” supports the idea that not everything has a solid value, especially on something as loose an object as love, which is beautifully wrapped up by the line: “I'll get you anything my friend, If it makes you feel alright.'Cause I don't care too much for money, for money can't buy me love.” Other examples of songs about money are “The Power of Love” by the News, “For the Love of Money” by the O’Jays, “Fuel” by Metallica, and “Can’t Always Get what you Want” by the Rolling Stones.
Much into research, I came upon a game-changing piece of information: a story on National Public Radio. It went into detail about a tiny island, called Yap, southwest of the Ulithi Atoll in the mid-Pacific. The island, being only 40 square kilometers, had no natural precious metals, like gold or silver. And, like most societies, the people of Yap came to the realization that they needed a solid, standard, and accepted form of currency to pay for stuff. So, when explorers from Yap found large deposits of limestone on a far off island in another archipelago, they decided to use it as their money. Sounds simple enough, if it weren’t for the the fact that the limestone coins that they rendered were often 7 feet tall and could weigh as much as a car. This led to their accepted form of money was very abstract and loose. Say you’re a Yap Islander, and you owe your neighbor a limestone coin in exchange for some fish and repairs on your hut. You wouldn’t walk your huge coin over to him across the road, you would simply acknowledge that it was now his coin. This concept of money went even more abstract than that: an old Yap story tells of a group of explorers who were bringing back some limestone coins to Yap, but had to throw them overboard in a storm on their return to the island. When they returned home, they explained the situation to the people who were due to receive the coinage. They brought the situation to the town chief. They all simply came to the agreement that the people of whom the money was due still owned the value the coins carried, even though they were at the bottom of the sea.
With all this information, I think I have gained a deeper understanding of money: that money is a value that when used incorrectly can have undesirable consequences, yet at its roots is a mode of exchange. Money is a trade network, and unavoidably, a mode of evil, when misused by those who would desire power from it.