Anndi's Luggage: Dinero... and the Human Condition
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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dinero... and the Human Condition




Are humans solely motivated by money? Some people seem to think so. I read a comment on a blog I’ve found my way to through a dear friend and the comment disturbed me... I reread it thinking maybe I misinterpreted, but alas. Apparently, unless there is “l’appât du gain” ($$$), humans can never be better than average or mediocre.


“Do not value money for any more nor any less than its worth; it is a good servant but a bad master.” ~Alexandre Dumas fils, Camille, 1852

We were having a discussion on socialism and it’s impact on the efficiency and adequacy of a medical system (I know.. and my brain didn’t even hurt!), and I was in full argument for argument’s sake mode (with a snarky comment thrown in here and there for good measure – anyone surprised by this? Forget I asked…). It was enjoyable and engaging but then this comment popped on.

This was a comment posted on the blog and not authored by the blog owner, with whom I do not always agree but enjoy reading a great deal and respect. He does his research and stands by what he says. He may agree with the comment, but instead of hi-jacking the blog at the risk of turning into a “moonbat”, I had to express myself. And this is my space... so…



So here’s the opinion put forth by my fellow reader (I am not linking to it, I’ll use quotes and well.. GREEN): “…socialism has a horrible track record of excellence in ANY profession, simply because there is no capitalistic motivation to excel.” So, since there isn’t the added motivation to excel associated with a bigger paycheck they couldn’t possibly strive for betterment (does no money automatically render one either lazy or dumb?). Track record? Where’s the data? I mean.. if you make a statement like that.. a blanket statement.. put your “money” where your mouth is and back it up!
“The pure socialist society frowns on anyone exceeding the 'norm', since that may allow you to actually succeed beyond your neighbor...and that isn't "fair"”. Oh I see… In a socialist nation, where all individuals are forced to be the same, no one can excel, and they are all Cupey dolls (ok.. he didn’t call them that but hey.. it’s my space and this is the feeling I got from the post) that don’t use their brains to full capacity since no one can outshine the other by principle because it wouldn’t be “fair”!?. We are referring to Cuba here folks… “a pure socialist society? Since when? “frowns on anyone exceeding the 'norm'? I don’t remember reading such a statement in Marxist theory either back when I went to college and shuddered every time I saw one of the (1,2,3,4.. I think there were 4) members of the Marxist-Leninist party walk into the common room.

There you have it folks… That’s the comment that caused a visceral reaction and prompted this post, the other exchanges were challenging and interesting.


“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

So tell me dear readers, if there are any of you out there who work at a job that you love: is your sole motivation to excel to earn more money? Is that really all we are? All we have become? Because if so, I am deeply saddened and I grieve for the human condition.


Let me make this perfectly clear. I am not a socialist, never have been. I recognize the flaws of the socialist ideology. But to state that people in “socialist” countries (you know, the dictatorships disguised as socialist countries) are doomed to be average, or basically no better than the weakest link in a given profession just because of a warped and misinterpreted ideology… well. At least tell me it’s because the education system is lacking and they aren’t given the proper tools and training to be good at anything (UNESCO statistics tell us this is not necessarily the case). They can’t be different from the norm and excel... it wouldn’t be “fair”?!?! Good grief!

Maybe I’m wrong (oh the shock.. yes dear reader, I occasionally make a mistake – hey who typed that?) but I refuse to think of myself as a dog who will only perform bigger and better tricks to get a bigger and better treat.


“Money can’t buy back all your youth when you’re old,
a friend when you’re lonely, or peace to your soul.
The wealthiest person, is a pauper at times
compared to the man with a satisfied mind.”

Satisfied mind – Jeff Buckley





Self-actualization, satisfaction, pride… all reasons to excel. Yes a bigger paycheck might be nice, assuming I am healthy enough to enjoy my free time… should I have any… but there are so many reasons to excel besides money.

Aren’t there?

Can one actually say, that an economic and political model dooms its citizens to a state of mediocrity because they can never be better than the weakest link, because being better than another “wouldn’t be fair”?

Can one seriously propose than the only motivation a human being has for bettering themselves and being the best they can be is a bigger paycheck?

Can this be?

Was this for love of money? Would you stand in front of a tank for money? Or freedom?









Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses
And all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again!

Humpty Dumpty
Sentado en un muro.
Humpty Dumpty
Se ha caído muy duro.
Todos los caballeros
Y jinetes del rey,
Fueron a levantarlo
Y no pudieron con él.









I take no pleasure in the pain of others... but the symbolism makes my heart soar.

Life, music, …











And now for something.. well not completely different.. but with this heavy stuff I had to have some humour…







If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading.




I love you all more than my luggage (even the expensive kind)!
Hugs, smooches and gropes!

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Comments on "Dinero... and the Human Condition"

 

Blogger Travis said ... (6:01 PM) : 

I need money to buy food, to pay rent/mortgage, to put gas in my vehicle, to enjoy things.

I do work for money. I can't pretend I don't. But my satisfaction with my job and my life doesn't come from the paycheck. The paycheck helps me keep score - and lets me know what I can buy that will help make me more comfortable.

Money is a part of my life. It's a tool, like any other tool I use to make my life better. If I lived in a barter society, then I'd simply use a different medium than money to obtain the things I want.

And I do want things. That's the nature of humanity. I think that we can become driven and focused on money because of the things we convince ourselves we want. But I don't measure my life by how much money is in the bank.

I try to balance the material things I want against service to my community. But it's an imperfect world and I am an imperfect man. I simply move through every day trying to be the best person I can be, based on my values, and attempt to live with compassion.

Great post today. Made me think a little bit.

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (6:08 PM) : 

And he says he is having writer's block... SMOOCH!

Yes bro, I never said we don't need it. My issue is with it being the sole motivation to excel and be the best we can be at what we do.

As for being an imperfect man, you are up to and including spectacular!

What? No chuckle at Python?

 

Blogger Travis said ... (6:16 PM) : 

I chuckle at the Python!! Of course I chuckle at the Python. I even guffaw.

But that stream of consciousness took over. Money is a motivation, just not the only one.

 

Blogger Dana said ... (6:38 PM) : 

Just one more week and I'll be able to view your videos without freezing my computer! WOO!

And you are so right about money...

 

Blogger Meribah said ... (6:49 PM) : 

While there are people out there who are motivated solely by monetary gain, there are others out there who are not. Mother Theresa is a good example. She devoted her entire life to helping the poorest of the poor and improving the human condition. And there are plenty more out there who are equally motivated. You just have to look past the money grubbers to see 'em!

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (6:51 PM) : 

Agreed Travis.. the sad thing is when it is proposed as the sole motivation.

Hugs Bro...

I know how much you enjoy Python!

Dana... should I put a countdown clock on the blog?

Happy Birthday to Bethany the Princess from the other Princess Chicklet and her Mommy.

 

Blogger Bond said ... (8:11 PM) : 

ANNDI: Ah some salient points made here. Hard to comment on how I would react in a socialist society as my upbringing and values would be far different then they are today.
From experience I can tell you that lack of money can change your perception on the world, and in some ways how the world see you.
You are treated differently depending upon your credit rating in a capitalist society (of which I am a product).
Would I stive to be the best I could in a socialist society - I certainly hope that in the base DNA that i carry, the need for self satisfaction exists no matter what my upbringing.
Do I believe that because someone is brought up in a socialist society they automatically do not have motivation? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Do I believe that it is probably more prevalent in a socialist society as compared with a capitalist society - ABSOLUTELY.

Thanks for opening the dialogue and not beating the "moonbat" with your keyboard.

 

Blogger Turnbaby said ... (9:48 PM) : 

Okay--I am bad and going to hell (like we didn't know this already) cause the first thing I thought of was --Damn ---Python is funny.

So---

Is anyone "worth" a 265 million dollar "golden parachute"? NO

Can we fix every evil in society by throwing money at it? Nope

Yes I make money at what I do--I spent a lot of money to get my education and I have worked a lot of years at it and accumulated a lot of knowledge that helps people. And no way am I apologizing for what I charge for this service.

However, I am also trying to help transform what I do to make it better. Because it is important and affects so many aspects of our society. So my greatest satisfaction from my profession comes in knowing that, at the end of the day, I have helped someone--calmed a fear--soothed an anxiety--helped them through one of life's greatest tragedies. Because--it ain't all about the Benjamins.

 

Blogger Coco said ... (10:18 PM) : 

Thank you, Anndi. Makes me feel good about the changes I've been forced to make in my life.

 

Blogger Jonathan said ... (10:52 PM) : 

Anndi,

Thanks for the kind words about the blog. For those of you who are wondering, it's my blog to which she's referring, BUT the comment isn't mine.

While I agree with the general assertion that the comment made that socialism does not generally foster a desire to excel, I also agree 100% with what Anndi said about people's motives to work.

I mean, in a socialist society, people do different types of work for different reasons: the challenge, the love, the need, the money, etc. Well, can the same not be said for capitalist societies?

Here in America, teachers are woefully underpaid, yet every year, scores of new teachers enter the workforce, knowing they will be undercompensated. Why? Presumably, the love of the work, the gratification of molding minds, etc.

By trade, I am a software developer who is compensated nicely. I enjoy what I do, too. However, if money were no object, I might be a personal fitness trainer or a full-time volunteer at an autism association (a cause near and dear to me). However, I instead do those things on a part-time basis, because MY motives are as much monetary as anything.

Anndi, with all due respect, my friend: I do think that socialism's track record of failure is so transparent that it cannot plausibly be denied. Having said that, though (and I am NOT waffling here), I agree with you in thinking that it's simplistic to say or imply that money is the sole (or even primary) incentive for ALL or even MOST people.

 

Blogger JohnH985 said ... (2:58 AM) : 

Too many people are motivated purely by money. Where I work I do ninety five percent of the hiring. As part of the hiring process we have a series of questions that we generally ask each person. One question is "What inspires you to work?" I'm always saddened when the person tells me money as their answer. Yes, we all work for money, it's how we pay the bills, buy food, manage to collect the extras we value and cherish, but there has to be more to it than that. There has to be some pride in what you do, if you do it for money I just don't think you're going to do it that good. I've always said that I would never work someplace where I'm unhappy. Money isn't worth it. A few years back I was actually able to put that to the test. Due to things that would take too long to go into I was miserable at work. I ended up taking a job making less money, but where I wouldn't be unhappy. Money is important, but it can't be the be all and end all of everything.

Sorry, I just pretty much ranted along the same lines as you did, but couldn't help it. It's a subject I get fired up about.

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (10:32 AM) : 

My the puppy is a smart one.. must be a Canuckian thing! Love ya sweetie. Perfect illustration!

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (10:45 AM) : 

Bond dear: yes... One's experience does a great deal to shape ones perception of things, and it's shameful that people equate a credit rating with an individuals true worth...

As for values, well, I like to think that no matter what political regime people live in the love of family is a basic value.

Not sure they wouldn't still have as much motivation to strive to be better in a socialist society. I mean if making more money isn't a part of their values, maybe other values take up their place and are just as potent... just a thought. ;)

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (10:48 AM) : 

Turnbaby: Hey Python is funny... Besides, we ll know that's not why you're going to hell *snarf*!

Excellent comment sweetie. When we find something so positive about what we do it's sheer joy. That you can be rewarded financially for it and that it affords you some liberties is a wonderful thing.

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (10:50 AM) : 

Coco, you have so much strength...

I admire you for taking control of your life.

For that sweet boy you are raising.

For the impact you have on the kids you teach.

And I know you get it back tenfold.

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (11:32 AM) : 

Jonathan dear:

Thank you for visiting. When I give a compliment it's because I mean it. Your blog provokes thought and I do enjoy exchanging ideas with you as it is done most respectfully.

And yes, I did mention the comment wasn't yours.

Bond made a point when he said that the system we live in greatly impacts our views, and I believe in many ways our perception becomes our reality. We can never truly know what lies in the heart of another if we have not experienced what he or she has experienced now can we?

And it's not just about money as the motive for WHY we work. We all need to put food on the table and a roof over our heads... It's also about what is the motivation to excel at what we do... pride, passion, intellectual stimulation, satisfaction from a job well done, and in a capitalistic society hopefully we will get financial compensation for what we do in accordance to our performance.

What had me a bit huffy was the statement about everyone having to be the same in a socialist society and that without the lure of money people can't possibly want to be good at their profession.

Teachers were just the example I used when I was debating this with friend yesterday.

Hold on to your dreams dear, maybe someday you'll find a way to transform them into your career. That you do volunteer work for a cause so worthy is inspiring.
Thank you for revealing your passions, only serves to confirm my inkling that you're one of the good ones.

And I have said that the flaws in socialist theory are too great for me to think it a viable option, but the statement was: "socialism has a horrible track record of excellence in ANY profession, simply because there is no capitalistic motivation to excel"... I'd like to think they have excellent teachers, excellent biotechnologists, excellent farmers, etc.. even if they might not earn more pesos than their average counterpart.

Thank you for calling me your friend, the feeling is mutual. You seem like an interesting person to have a conversation with over coffee.. but it can't be Starbucks! ;)

 

Blogger Jonathan said ... (11:33 AM) : 

I mean if making more money isn't a part of their values, maybe other values take up their place and are just as potent... just a thought. ;)

I agree wholeheartedly. A college buddy of mine is a special ed teacher, and he will probably never make big bucks. But (a) he's never had lots of money, so he feels he's not missing anything; and (b) his set of motives and values is not the same as anyone else's.

Great topic, and great food for thought, Anndi!

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (11:39 AM) : 

John sweetie, I few years ago i went back to work after maternity leave and was miserable. I quit, went back to school, got my certification and started a new career, one that brought me satisfaction. Initially, I wasn't making as much.. but over time I progressed, changes employers a couple of times and am making more than I did in the job I hated. Karma? Maybe.

After spending time by my mother's side and working with the staff I may have found a new passion. Will I go back to school, become a nurse and change careers? Who knows? But a seed has been planted.. maybe it'll grow... I'll keep you posted.

Thank you for sharing.

You're welcome to say what's on your mind.

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (11:53 AM) : 

Jonathan, it's the diversity that makes it interesting isn't it? Your friend might be right, maybe he isn't missing out on much.

And God bless the teacher (yup.. I used the G word!!! Oh My! LOL). I volunteer at my daughter's school when I can. I've spent time in a regular classroom, and it just increases my respect for the profession. It's a calling really.

 

Blogger Travis said ... (12:55 PM) : 

Fantastic discussion gang!

It occurs to me that I have some fairly significant motivations for why I want to excel at my work that have nothing to do with money. I hate to fail. I hate to disappoint someone. I hate to miss deadlines.

Additionally, I want to be recognized as performing well and I don't want to be singled out as someone who lets the side down.

I learned a lot of that playing football when I was a kid. You stand tall for your teammates. Your success or failure impacts them, and theirs impacts you. I behave the same way in a business environment, and it disappoints me when co-workers don't share the same desire to achieve.

I am a product of a capitalist system. But I am also the product of my upbringing. The influences on our lives do shape how we move through an adult world. And that is how we motivate others, not by dangling a monetary carrot in front of them. But by giving back what we've been given.

Is this possible in a pure socialist society?

Just another thought.

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (2:29 PM) : 

Travis my bro...

Very intereting!

Well, presumably, if in a socialist society the goal is the common good... I guess I don't see why people couldn't motivate each other...

 

Blogger Tisha! said ... (7:01 PM) : 

Anndi ma cherie,

Money for me is a means and not an end to do what I love to do most and that is helping people and making a difference in this world, may sound rather idealistic but it really gives me a rush to see people doing well and being happy.

Belgium has probably an advanced social system especially when it healthcare and there is no denying that countries like Belgium and Sweden comes to mind as well sacrifice much of the impulse to create and innovate that more capitalistic countries like the US do. It's difficult to chose which system is better, both have their strengths and weaknesses.

I think that if we could find a balance between them we will be moving in the right direction.

Je t'embrasse!

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (8:58 PM) : 

Tisha darling

Nice to get the point of view of someone who has experienced very different economic and politial systems.

Kiss

 

Blogger Tisha! said ... (8:05 AM) : 

Bonjour ma biche, tu me manque DEJA!

Exchange of ideas and thoughts {other stuff too don't want to be VULGAR} baby, formidable!

 

Blogger Jonathan said ... (7:08 PM) : 

You seem like an interesting person to have a conversation with over coffee.. but it can't be Starbucks! ;)

Thanks! :)

Once in a blue moon, I'll partake of Starbucks...or, as I like to call it, "Four Bucks", since nothing there seems to cost less than $4!

I DO, however, love coffee, especially the flavored coffee and gourmet coffees (mochas, fraps, cappucinos, lattés, etc.) My father (a retired U.S. Marine) asks me if I still like girls! LOL! Um, yeah Dad, I do...despite my penchant for "wuss coffee" (as he calls it).

Should my trail ever meander to Montreal, we'll get that cup! :-)

 

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