Morality Of Pursuing Money: An Essay

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The following is an essay from an assignment task in school that I took too seriously. After contemplation, I realize that the essay itself is not complete dflkjasdfkljsdflksjdflksjdflsdkjfsdlfkdjsfksdflsdfklsdfjand probably contains linguistic mistakes. However, this is AN attempt at rationalizing money pursuit. While developing the argument presented here, I had a debate with a classmate which helped write the intent section. All ideas presented here are just ideas and nothing serious.

Introduction

It is a common believe to consider the pursuit of money and wealth as immoral and to be seen as selfish cruelty. After all, the perceived image of a ruthless business is a large faceless corporation that cobbles-up power by buying and under-pricing its competitors; ripping off the consumer by artificially raising the price, colluding with other businesses to increase profits. Therefore, how would on dare to claim virtue when he fights for pennies on the dollar? How would one claim to be moral when he fights for power?

Pursuing Money: A Story

All business endeavors start small. The entrepreneur notices an annoying shortcoming in his environment: there are no methods of commute to travel effectively, or there are no general stores in a neighborhood, for example. He then proceeds to start a small business to solve an issue that he deems as worth pursuing. The businessman accepts the need to give to society, expecting a reward. At this stage, the owner’s salary is mostly similar to the workers hired. The majority of people view this stage as perfectly moral and a need to be preserved.

Pursuing Money: Expansion

Customers are flocking in, profits are rising and money is steadily flowing in. The businessman sees a thriving business in need of cultivation, he realizes the need for his product across the country. A medium business is born from a successful small business. The owner begins earning just enough to sustain more branches of his company. The business expands and increases its profit exponentially - the company must be doing something right. In cases where the entrepreneur innovates a novel product for a problem, this stage of the business can be very quick that it is easily overlooked from an outside perspective.

Pursuing Money: Success & Wealth

Most businesses only dream of approaching this stage. But when a business survives the odds, the investors are rewarded with fortune. Multiple branches are opened, and large payouts are earned every year. The organization is now viewed by investors as a success and every banker wants a cut from the pie. The public is certainly content with this corporation; the products are useful and used everywhere because of their revolutionary nature. And a story of a small businessman that worked his way to the rich-class is a motivational aspiration for the country.

Pursuing Money: Turning Into The Monster

Only a minority of businesses can aim for this elite stage. But, for the sake of this thought experiment, our small business owner wants to transcend into something greater than wealth - power. The prospect of entering the 1% of the 1% seems interesting. All traces of small Mom & Pop shops are now killed by the merciless and monopolistic actions of the company. The business expands to other markets, dominating them and destroying any competition. The expansion becomes cancerous, lobbying and changing law to increase profits, entrenching itself into the state. “Too big to fail” is an accurate label used by the corrupt and bought pundits.

Barter and Money

In order to argue for a correct moral judgment we must first understand money and it’s origin. Since the dawn of civilization, we realized that distributing work increases the total production. You trade me those tomatoes, I trade you this meat. This is the barter system, produce is directly exchanged for other produce. As one might imagine, the barter system had a ubiquitous problem. If I wanted to by 400 corncobs by selling my produce of 300 potatoes, I would have had needed to find someone who wanted to engage in such trade with such quantities. Civilizations evolved into using the money system. Rather than exchanging goods for other goods, we learned to use money, which could be: gold, currency, or seashells. The invention of money - contrary to what we might see as evil - was a revolutionary point in our history.

Money As The Root Of All Evil

The small story above makes it seem that the logical conclusion of any high-class pursuit of money ends up with a behemoth that damages society. And therefore, it should be condemned and frowned upon. However, this conclusion ignores an important factor when judging actions - intent.

No Action Without Intent

When judging the morality of actions, we instinctively refer to the intent. Charity with the intent to have a philanthropist public image is condemned societally, even though it might be a net good. I here argue that there exists no such thing as the pursuit of money with the sole intent of money. Disregarding this intent, the pursuit of money’s moral judgment splits into two, pursuing money for good, and for bad.

No Action for The Sake of Action

No human action is done that has the action as intent itself. Charity is not done for the sake of charity, but rather for the sake of doing good for society. And this is because the sole pursuit of charity is not a logical incentive to pursue charity. Whereas the pursuit of charity for the betterment of the community is a logical non-cyclical incentive where everyone benefits, including the giver. Therefore, it is logical to infer that the results of an action have incentives that provoke the action with intent to induce those results.

Selfish Actions for the Moral Good

There is a natural tendency with humans to act in a way that sustains their survival - that is a selfish action. Therefore, one can not expect everyone, or anyone, to act selflessly. A good social system is ‘designed’ where everyone acts selfishly, benefiting everyone around them. If one is selfish enough to want good for himself, good to himself is the betterment of others - including himself, otherwise social structures do not thrive.

Money For The Sake of Malice

It is correct to assert any action with the intent of malice is immoral. This also applies to pursuing money. In our small story above, the businessman shifts from acting in a manner that benefits the economy to a manner that hurts economical development. The intent then diverges from building innovations and wealth to garnering power, even if the result is not sustainable long-term.

Money For The Sake Of Good

In the same manner that one can earn money for malice, one can do exceptional accomplishments with authority and power. After all, a form of centralized authority is a must in human governance. Countless examples are present where companies invent replacement products that are more efficient and cheaper. This pursuit of the good is moral. And any chance that one has to do good must be taken, otherwise the missed opportunity causes unnecessary suffering. Therefore, the action of pursuing money becomes a moral need.

It Is Powerless At The Top

It is easy to jump to the conclusion that businessmen who produce large amounts of wealth are shepherds of free will. In reality, the few men at the top are free from any free will. A common sight nowadays are companies that have market-caps comparable to that of nations. Similarly, responsibility is also comparable. The owners of large businesses are held to quarterly profit goals, where short-term profiteering is incentivized. With this in mind, it is very easy to see why companies turn to monopolistic actions: quarterly profits over long-term profits. No sane company should engage in destructive behavior that could be a determent to the longevity of the business. Even though the managers of large companies do not have complete control over their business, acceptance of the mindless pursuit of short-term profits must be condemned by the public and the executives themselves.

Money As A Marker Of Performance

Imagine running a business without the incentive to earn money. You would be theoretically producing for the good of everyone without profiting. Although this might be some nice utopia to live in, this is very childish when you realize that resources are naturally limited. In order to know whether your produce is useful to others, you must know whether people are willing to sacrifice work-time, which is money. Money, therefore, can be used as, mostly, an accurate representation of the good’s usefulness in the market within people. The action of a producer setting a price for a product is accurate only as long as there is competition.

Skimming Off The Top

Since the marker of value is money, one can point fingers to the few at the top who seemingly steel from the work of laborers. However, this view can only stand its ground if we ignore the fact that entrepreneurs and innovators get rewarded in proportion to the value they add in a free-market economy. Furthermore, a natural law-like probability in humans and resource distribution is that only a small minority of any producing society do the majority of the work needed. A small minority are hyper productive while the rest leach off the produce. If the goal of a society is to thrive, it must reward the people who produce the most, otherwise everyone starves to death.

Karl Marx Was Right…partially

Karl Marx divided the economy into two sanctions, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. He argued that the proletariat is an oppressed class under ‘capitalism’ and that capitalism would grow towards its demise where Marxism would fill in. However, this evidently did not come to reality. But rather, free-market capitalism converged into a conspiratorial private-public mixture - corporatism. Although free-market capitalism means loosened restrictions, paradoxically, corporatism is caused by the overly-loose laws that allowed companies to slowly tread towards it. An economy that runs on state-backed monopolies ends-up with inefficiencies and corruption from the top-down, where any competition from small business is annihilated. Not from the sheer size of such corporations, but rather from the repeated help and bail-outs from the government that /mysteriously/ end up disproportionately benefiting the elite class.

Concluding Remarks

Although it is true that businesses that succeed tend towards corporatism, it is inefficient and damaging to not pursue money for good. Because wealth and fortune is a strong marker of productivity and valuable work done to society, one should not cut himself short from achieving high-class status because it could one day hypothetically converge into corruption.

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