Money Makes the World…

“Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.”–Phineas Taylor Barnum, American showman

Money may be defined as “a current medium of exchange in the form of coins and banknotes; coins and banknotes, collectively.” It is also the compensation or remuneration that people receive in exchange for the work or services that they have rendered; and which they spend to fulfill their every want and need, including the luxuries and basic necessities of life.

Business moguls run the world as if money is the most coveted factor in a person’s life. Truthfully, it puts food on the table and buys the things that one desires, including stuff that are not really needed.

Money gives an illusion of power. For some, it could even buy “respect” [or, to be accurate, buy fear or command]–contrary to the old adage that respect should be earned; in this case, respect is being bought! In fact, some people who have lots of it could even buy “friends.”

In my more than four decades of life, I could never imagine a world without money or even one that disregards it. Materially, apart from having to realize simple pleasures, convenience, and enjoyment, it provides the barometer of a person’s content; whether one can be satisfied by either the lot or the lack of it.

We have been used to being surrounded by its concept and physical representations that to eke out a decent livelihood without money has become almost alien. Most of us came into this world by way of money. We grow up, go to school, perform job(s), and leave this world–through money.

I came across this documentary of a person who goes by the name of Daniel Suelo. He has been living without money for 14 years. Before that time, he moved out from his apartment, took all his stuff that he could use and relocated to Moab, Utah–a remote, mountainous region. He had chosen a cave as his dwelling place and a section of the forest (under a makeshift tent), which he occupies occasionally. Apparently, he finds food to eat and useable stuff in the dumpster. He rides his bicycle to the city every day and spends time at a public library to write and send emails. This, for me, is not the most ideal and decent way of living, at all.

It is ostensible that Daniel still wanted the good amenities of life. But because he is homeless and unemployed, he found a commensurate way to squirm through his life to fulfill his basic needs and simple luxuries as free as they would come. His parents attest that their son has a brilliant mind, but he gave in to reclusiveness and depression because, according to him, he is an outcast of the community due to his homosexuality. This is a blatant manifestation of his eventual life decision. Momentous was that day when he gave up money, which he claims gave him a different kind of freedom.

I believe, a person is either being hypocritical or deranged if he claims that a life lived without money would give him freedom. What I think he is celebrating is actually only his freedom from bills, obligations, related responsibilities, and accounts management. Generally, it is only the work involved in maintaining a sound financial aspect of life that he wants to escape from. In reality, he is still homeless and has no power, capability, and the means to live a decent, sufficient, and respectable life–simply because he gave up not only the use of money but more so his sense of responsibility in earning it to sustain even a simple way of living.

Unless an alternative manner or process of receiving remuneration/compensation is introduced lawfully by the government, we can never escape the concept of money.

Money as we know it, after all, is an integral part of a person’s life. To say that it is evil is, after all, absurd and a clear display of hypocrisy.

Overall, it is indeed relative that a person should be in his right frame of mind to be able to understand and handle money and all its requirements. The proper management thereof needs serious commitment and dedication to feed the cycle: creation and growth. We do our best to make money and to let it serve us well. Its use should always be kept in check, to help us steer clear from unscrupulous activities that may lead to the abuse of it. After all, money in all its capabilities could either make or break one’s future.

[Therefore, money is not the root of evil. It is just a means to surviving or, better yet, enjoying life. For, at the end of every expense and luxury, the goodness of money still depends on how and for what the individual uses it.]–Ed.

*Currently working at the Philippine International Convention Center, where she began services 22 years ago, Kathryn Valladolid Ebrahim is an alumna of St. Scholastica’s College–Manila; she finished a degree in Bachelor of Arts, major in Sociology, at the University of Santó Tomás; drawing and writing are her primary avocations.