Growing up in what we could call a “normal” family, – not poor but definitely not wealthy – , money was never a matter before the economic crisis that spread through Europe in 2007 and 2008. Then my parents started to pay a bit more attention to the cost of things they bought.
Now, I’ve reached adulthood, and I’m starting to have money responsabilities : bank account, payment card, checks, etc. My 18th birthday was about a month ago, and for that special occasion I received 100€ from my godmother. I thank her for that, but in the meantime, that insidious question appeared : should I spend it on things I like or want, or should I put in in my bank account and let it sleep there for a while ?! If I was to spend it, wouldn’t I become crazy about it, wouldn’t I become a superficial materialistic kind of person ?
A few months ago, I came across that quote : “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton). Now, it appears that money could be that kind of power, which is also quite obvious, because we live in a capitalistic, globalized world in which leaders are in some cases at the feet of lobbyists.
When I thought about spending that money, my first thought was to buy sport clothes, so I can exercise better and more, which meant I could be fitter and feel better about myself. But then, second thought : wouldn’t I be driven to use overexercise as a way to punish myself, only to be relieved by the dopamine at the end of the workout?! Would I use this money in a great way then ? It could please myself and make me feel socially great but in the same time hurt me. Great dilemma.
Anyway, what I found is that our relationship to money has grown more and more difficult, with the dematerializing (is this a word?) of money : when you could touch it and feel all the bills in your hand before, it’s now lines of 1s and 0s encoded you can change by putting your card into a payment machine. What this means is easy to understand : the value of money isn’t perceived the same way. I found a great TED talk on that topic, which I happend find without actually looking for it : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VB39Jo8mAQ
It’s the story of a monopoly game in which the kids change their behaviors and game strategy when they are confronted to real money.
Thanks for reading !