COMMENTARY 862.1: How Much Are You Willing to Pay for Money?

by Michael Josephson on January 10, 2014

in Commentaries, The Good Life

Disdain for money is a common theme among moralists and philosophers. But money’s not the problem. It’s what people do to get it and what they do with it when they get it.

In Fiddler on the Roof, a poor man sings of his daydreams of the wonderful life he’d have if he were a rich man. And surely it would be better. As someone once said, “I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich. Rich is better.”

Yet the Biblical warning that “love of money is the root of all evil” reminds us to be aware of the difference between need and greed.

It’s one thing to make money a central goal to escape poverty and provide for basic necessities. It’s quite another when money becomes our primary motivation and measure of success, or when we equate happiness or worthiness with wealth.

The love of money can have a powerful narcotic effect on our values. It can push us toward or keep us in unhealthy relationships and unsatisfying careers. It can lead us to undervalue the importance of relationships and work. The desire for money can make us into workaholics who neglect family and friends. And it can spawn dishonorable conduct that pollutes our souls and makes us unworthy despite our net worth.

According to an old Hasidic saying, “One who thinks money can do everything is likely to do anything to get it.”

Perhaps the French philosopher Rousseau said it best: “The money you have can give you freedom, but the money you pursue enslaves you.”

The challenge is to put the value of money in perspective. In the end, the question is: How much are you willing to pay to have money?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Tamayo May 29, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Thank you for your commentary. I truly feel that I have learned a lot fro them and I have used it to promote better performance from my employees.

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ray holm May 30, 2011 at 7:34 am

so true. Money is so essential it is easy to get off track, but like everything else you must have control and dicipline.

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Jenny June 1, 2011 at 6:55 am

Thank you for your message
I realized that after i lost my job that money can not buy health or life. Money can not buy “peace” of mind. money can not buy time. those are the valuable assets I had lost to make money.
I worked so hard and strived so hard to make money that I was getting worn out and lost the time to spend with my child…i cannot make up for that time.
We are now one income household and we do not have the luxury we used to have but we are happier.
Our lives force us to work until 62…65…then enjoy the short time before you “die”. It’s unfair.
Money can not buy everything so how much would you work for it?

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