Why does money have so much power?

As the extent of the theft of public money becomes clearer, more and more people are being exposed for what they are prepared to do, or not do, for money.

Why does money have such a grip on some human beings?

Since the concept of exchange of value via currency was invented, money has occupied a very powerful spot in the hearts, minds and lives of human beings. Some have lived and died never having had much of it, some have literally given their lives in the legal or illegal pursuit of it, while others have lived and died with more than they could ever have spent in their lifetime and still felt they never had enough.

The reason that money holds such a power over people is that it provides them with power – to do what they want to do, whatever that may be.

Some people feel money gives them a sense of personal worth. They feel if they don’t have much money, they are not worth much as a person and if they have a lot of it, they are indeed of great worth as a person.

That’s why many people associate the accumulation of wealth with the accumulation of power – the more money you have, the more powerful you are. And when people have a low sense of their personal power, they have an overwhelming urge to amass large sums of money quite out of proportion to their needs. No matter how much they acquire, it’s never enough. This approach also aligns with greed. A greedy person never has enough, no matter how much he or she gets.

The term “corruption” has become a regular in our daily news reports. Briefly, it refers to the fact that someone has agreed to commit some illegal or unethical act in the interests of securing a financial benefit or reward. It seems to imply that the person, once of good character, has subsequently been “corrupted”, experiencing a character failure as a result of the possibility of receiving a large sum of money.

My view is that money doesn’t corrupt people. There are many honest, responsible people who have vast sums of money. There are also many honest, ethical people who have no money to speak of. Neither of these two groups is “corrupt”.

That’s because money doesn’t corrupt people – it merely reveals their character. Honest, ethical people acquire money through honest and ethical means, and do honest and ethical things with that money. Dishonest, unethical people, given the opportunity, attempt to acquire money in dishonest or unethical ways and use it for dishonest purposes.

The big question we have to ask ourselves is: What does money reveal about you and me? Does it show us up to be honest, ethical people, or does it show us up to be like the many who have sold their souls for many handfuls of cash?

Only you know what money reveals about you. I urge you to take a stand against corruption and expose it wherever you find it raising its ugly head.

Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, @HRFuturemag, and assists executives to prevent, reverse and delay ageing, and achieve self-mastery.

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