The Paradox of Money

Money makes the world go round. It is such a great enabler that virtually everything revolves around it: from economies to societies, countries to companies, you name it. At an individual level, its importance cannot be overemphasized enough. The toil we accept and the ‘roughing up’ along the way as we pursue it justifies and underscores its usefulness in our lives.

That said, recall a time when you lacked something could be an appliance, a piece of apparel, a house, an automobile etc. You most likely quipped, “If only I had it, I would forever be happily satisfied.” Yet, look at yourself now, when you have it at your disposal, is that really the case? Of course not. Here’s our delusion: We presume that the external comfort money gives us will automatically translate into the intrinsic satisfaction we all crave. Equally, many are unaware of the economic law of diminishing marginal utility, which states: “the additional satisfaction that a consumer gets from having one more unit of a good or service decreases with additional consumption of more.”

Here’s the truth that many seem to forget and constitutes the Paradox: “Money can secure impossibilities, procure necessities and insure properties, but it will never ensure utmost satisfaction. Do I mean money is inconsequential, unnecessary, and therefore not worth the toil? Not necessarily. The clarion call today is simple: To remind us wherein we ought to expend our energies beyond our daily hustles, for doing so brings us closer to the satisfaction we all desire.

In his column last week entitled, The most valuable currencies in our lives, Sunny Bindra wisely noted: “Kindness, generosity, compassion, empathy, and helpfulness cost nothing to use; and they only benefit us in their usage. These quiet currencies flow through the human network every day. They call no attention to themselves; they are not recorded, graphed, or tracked. Yet these are the flows that make us higher-order beings.” 

Or, much more, could it be that our ultimate fulfilment was never designed to be derived from the things we buy and grasp? If so, may this quote by C.S Lewis cause us to re-focus on the priorities in life: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” As always, thank you for being part of the audience in this last series of the year. Tune in for more in future. Until then, cheers folks to a week and a lifetime characterized by clarified perspectives.

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