By Hayden Welty ’19
Whilst the benefits of possessing money are easily evident, the resulting greed that comes from the (attempted) satiation of avarice exists as a negative force in the world.
Undeniably, money can be a force for good.
After looking at the multitude of wonderful charities, groups and organizations that rely on cash to operate, one cannot avoid this underlying truth. Even this very school, an educational institution I would personally argue yields much good, heavily relies on money, as seen through its roughly $15,000 tuition, expansive, modern facilities and large donors.
At the same time, however, just because a commodity is sometimes beneficial does not mean it always is: be careful when saying that money is an inherently positive force.
In order to become the best versions of ourselves, we cannot focus on money as an indicator of success, nor can we judge future prospects based on their monetary prosperity and use potential income as a factor in our vocational discernment.
It may be easy to think, “Oh… one day, when I become really, really, really rich and I have all the money in the world, I will be able to act as a force for good and spend that money on helping the poor.”
However, in the pursuit of tangible wealth, few human beings are ever really satisfied and to assume that reality can meet this insatiable demand is silly.
Seeking exorbitant amounts of money is like going on a wild goose chase or trying to catch a white whale––one never quite seems to get there and the tangible measure of achievement for a goal never materializes.
Every time there seems to be enough, humans tend to just want more. It is our human nature, also, that causes abundance to beget stinginess, another flaw in the above thought process. Many go into lucrative professions with pure intentions, but after arriving at that once-idealized point, morality, accompanied by the thought process of their original goals, fades amidst the temptation of cash.
Money provides comfort, comfort leads to apathy and apathy engenders corruption, laziness and detachment, thus making money in and of itself bad as well.
In order to witness this phenomenon in the real world, hop in a car, drive through the mansion-riddled suburban neighbor of Paradise Valley and then proceed to venture into the residential area of downtown Phoenix. With only a fraction of their fortune, some business owners could provide for entire families, and this is not an apocalyptic exaggeration; lots of people, including many whose children attend Brophy, have the potential to be more charitable.
The fact that people can be more generous does not mean that they should open up their whole house to homeless people, but the sense of security afforded by wealth can bring about the kind of selfishness that explains how people can starve and feast in the same city.
That kind of inequality should not be and is not inevitable.