I just had another debate about the value of money. A debate in which an innocent person, buying into the rhetoric of economic prosperity, declared people are doing better because they make money.
I responded to that statement in the way I responded to my daughter’s friend, accompanied by her mother, once asking me if I was rich. My answer was then and is even more so now; wealth is a state of mind, not a state of money.
Let me break my statement down for you:
- Empirically. Because of my former work as an entrepreneur and part-time venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, I met a lot of people who made a lot of money “the slippery way.” The cunning ability to be the first in-and-out in a pump-and-dump scheme of valuations without verifiable socioeconomic value is in actuality bank-robbery of societies’ long-term interests, greased and cheered on by governments around the world. Wealth as a rebel without a cause is all-too-often inversely correlated to merit.
- Circumstantially. The trust in money deflates when the valuation of money increases at a much greater pace than value. The same dollar then yields less purchasing power. As the trust in money weakens, so does the collaborative nature that made Homo Sapiens rise above all other apes. People who cunningly take advantage of the gaping holes of short leave those that are innocent and honest in the dust. We witness the debilitating disparity between the haves and have-nots artificially separated by constructs in blatant violation of nature’s principles. Why is it, I pose to you, that one of the richest countries in the world suffers from depression in about 70% of its population? Wealth does not equal evolutionary merit or happiness, for that matter.
- Evolutionary. What is the merit of money when its acquisition and deployment are not related to improving human adaptability to nature’s entropy? Doing more with less is the sword of Damocles nature’s entropy swings above our heads, quite a different agenda than doing more with more. The supposition of infinite growth, as implied by sustainability incompatible with the strength of renewal, is the ideology of a cancer cell (Edward Abbey), leading to the destruction of human civilization. Laissez-faire wealth has become a valuation not living up to its value.
I am not at all against the acquisition of wealth, quite the opposite. But we need the acquisition of wealth to be related to a new and better evolutionary game plan for humanity. One that awards money only to the strength of renewal as our best and only defense to the irreversible nature of entropy.
To study and understand the laws of nature and benefit from its first-principles is the expertise we should award greatly. And that understanding requires great minds -not a stampede of meritless money- to be sourced.
In the words of Edward Abbey referenced above, do not become or revere a cancer cell. Instead, revere a mind that keeps on giving.