Saturday, April 25, 2009

Greed, Money, and Lifestyle

People do not resent having nothing nearly as much as having too little.” ~Ivy Compton-Burnett

Greed is universal and is amoral

Greed, according to Encarta, is “an overwhelming desire to have more of something such as money than is actually needed.” In this definition, two fundamental elements are present, namely: overwhelming desire and more than needed. Let me move on to this further.

In my mind, greed is amoral, not evil. Because having an ‘overwhelming desire’ for something is not bad, and is in fact necessary for success in any endeavors. And wanting more than what you need is not bad either. It is but natural for us to want for something we do not necessarily need. This ‘wanting’ is also a good motivation. We want more because we aspire for a better quality of life, and we do not want to worry about not having.

But the real issue here is, will we stop desiring for more money if we have already fill our treasure chest to the brim and are already living the lifestyle we want?

Greed can be practical

When I wake-up in the morning, I think of work. I work not to survive, but to make money, more money. In that sense, I am motivated by a desire to have more, by greed. Does that make me evil?

Greed in that sense is but made practical. Because in that way I make use of my skills, time, energy to get what I need and wanted. However, if I satisfy that motivation in an immoral or illegal way, or when I placed that above any other things that are more valuable in my life such as family and my faith, then I am in deep trouble.

Money is not god

While money tends to become the prime mover for almost everything we do today, it is nevertheless should not be regarded as god as some of us would.

Although money is but the token representation that we use in buying and selling, it is a necessity. Obviously, it is our means for fending our needs, getting what we want. But, again, when we value money more than our family, friends, dignity, and spirituality we become enslaved by it. Instead of letting it serves us for our purpose, money becomes our god. This is evil, per se.

Lifestyle dictates how we value money

Money should not dictate our lifestyle as most of us have. Our chosen lifestyle will dictate how much we value money, the way we earn it and how we spend it.

While greed and the love of money is an issue, the problem of money or the lack of it has plague many of us. Some of these problems emanated from a wrong lifestyle or unbridled greed for more things that one does not actually need. Excessive or un-managed use of the credit card and wrong priorities like leaving insurance on the bottom the list are but among the culprits behind our financial mess.

Money is important. It is a necessity. Earn it. Work for it. Save it. Spend it wisely. As US Film Maker Woody Allen put it bluntly:

“Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.”