The Psychological Nature of Cash
Money is like a drug.
At least, that is what apparently is the net effect that it has on our brains, on the neurological level.
We can also liken it to food, or water, or anything else that gives us biological pleasure.
Because it has this neurological effect on us, it is hypothetically possible for an individual to be addicted, as it were, to money. That would mean that we could expect to see similar attitudes and patterns of behavior in the pursuit of in the pursuit of money as we would expect to find amongst addicts to food or drugs. This is not to say that money itself is an addictive drug, like heroin or cocaine or methamphetamine or prescription opiates. This is to say that, for some people, the pursuit of money itself leads to behaviors that are akin to those of an addict seeking a high. This could include behaviors and decisions that are both destructive to the individual person, their immediate social settings, their larger social settings and their environment, both on the macro and micro scales.
Indeed, we see this all the time in businesspeople, corporate executives, financiers and investors as they pursue new financial highs while destroying their personal, social and environmental worlds.
How else could one explain the Financial Crisis of 2007-08? How else could one explain the overworking of employees (something Adam Smith cautioned against), or the undercompensation of workers in the economy (another thing that Adam Smith advised against), the destruction of the peaceful expression of people’s democratic voice in government, or the squandering of our natural resources or the plundering of the natural ecosystems in which we all live for the pursuit of money?
How else could we explain this rationalized, non-rational behavior on the part of a few individuals who happen to steer the course of our whole society, at present?
Perhaps the addiction to money is like the addiction to food. We all consume and need food, much like we all consume and need money. Yet a tiny minority of people cannot, will not and do not know how to control themselves, if it can be said that they’re controlling themselves.
Unfortunately, these people have used their monetary wealth to buy undemocratic political influence in our government and are, in turn, turning our whole society’s function into the procurement of cash for themselves. Such a system has never boded well for those who pursue this course of action, as demonstrated throughout history, from the French Revolution, through to the fall of the Soviet Union and the collapse of George W. Bush’s Presidential popularity. Much like the addiction to food, the long term effect of this pursuit of monetary reward is death, unless it is caught and treated by society through the forces of government. It is in peoples’ interests to remove these corporate and private elite from their positions on the corporate and social ladder. It is up to society and the people who work on these levels of private industry and investment, to change logic willingly to prioritize health, well being, quality of life and social harmony, not just for their own sakes, but for the sakes of all others who are living in this society (the two sides not being mutually exclusive in their interests).
Should this not be the case, then it is up to the society, either through the auspices of government, or through their own rights as citizens to circumvent a non-responsive and ineffective government body, to remove these people from their positions of power and commit them to mental institutions for psychiatric evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. Above all, it is important to remember that those who are pursuing monetary or ideological gains at the expense of their tangible lives (in the fullest of senses) are, at their core, inherently sick people, and should be treated as such by society. These are the people who resist the systemization and prioritization of social and environmental well being over the systemization of their own personal financial pursuits at the expense of everyone else. These are the people who would kill the goose that lays the golden egg (society) for the sake of having more golden eggs than the goose can sustainably produce for her own well being.
If we are to look at economics on the neurological level, we can conclude that these people are sick, and are in need of treatment.
Should the government fail to pursue this course of action genuinely and sincerely for its sake, and for its citizens’ sakes, it then falls to the whole of society to do it above and beyond the government, and to institute new government above and beyond the old government that was so ineffective and non-responsive to the needs of the general public over those of the private elites who dominated in that old system.
We must also consider those in the lower ends of society who, through out of fear of change, difference, deference to authority and small selfish focuses, either stick with the old, self-destructive system out of an ideological bent, be it Libertarianism or conservatism. Indeed, all ideologues, except for those who are ideologically pragmatic and against ideology are dangerous to themselves when they occupy the State apparati, and are dangerous to all others who live in and around the State that they control.
It’s time that we focus on what’s real; what works and what doesn’t work, or to what degrees things work or don’t work, rather than what we’d personally prefer or hope to have. It’s about government having an on-going dialogue with society, much like a good spouse has a constant dialogue with his/her partner throughout their relationship. Society is the constant, government is what changes to suit the society’s needs, for better and for worse for society on the tangible and psychological level. Good government leads to better society, bad government leads to worsening society.
But first, we must overcome this addiction to monetary reward and our subservience to those who are most whipped by the influence of money.
It is time that the United States, and the world, grows up to realize something new about itself, and leaves the specter of monetary addiction behind in the past (even though we will be feeling the social and environmental echoes from that addiction long into the future).
Time is running out.
And I need to be places.
Think about it.