Ghina Zand Alhadid

Student of Biochemistry, molecular biology and psychology, Participatory Culture Foundation

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What Are the Ethics of Spending OUR Money? Are we Dependent on it?

Why isn't education attaining its goals? Why people are not taking care of their health? Why people are not creative enough? Why can't we discover the "next big thing" that will save the world? Why are anxiety levels increasing significantly in the society?... etc.

Or on a personal level, why am I unmotivated? Why am I uncomfortable? Why am I unhappy? Why do I find so much difficulties in life?... etc.

Our answer almost always includes: because of the lack of funding, no enough money.

So we look for ways to gain more money, we almost make it the aim of our lives. In a seminar that was held at my college for researchers, the speaker asked the people present, "Why are you pursuing your career in researching and science?" And almost everyone's answer was to have a better status, a better job, promotions... etc.!

We do own money indeed! We can spend it! BUT do we own the Earth's resources? Is it okay to spend money? On a small scale and a large scale?

I have been thinking for a while about this topic, about the rightness of spending our own money. About consuming the Earth's resources. We all spend money to buy things that we don't need, or things we need but can manage to do all right without them. Do you think we need to have more self regulation? To exert MORE EFFORT to substitute money? To take the TIME to think about alternatives?

Will consuming Earth's resources help us be more creative? Help our children understand better? Help people take care of their health? Is it money what we really need to help people? How much money do we need to make humanity happy?

My point is that I see people thinking that money is the magical thing that if we owned, everything is gonna be all great. It almost became a culture! You want to live better? Own more money!

And I see that we are missing out the point that money is not magical, it equals consuming the earth. Can we OWN the earth and do whatever we want with it? Do we realize what money is? How can we use it then?

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    Gail .

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    Mar 6 2013: No, most people do not know what money is. They don't care that they don't know.

    Lack of money is not why you are unmovotivated. (check out this TED talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html )

    It's hard to be motivated to do what society wants you to do if society wants you to plunder and destroy your own nest - and your self-esteem in the process.

    It's also very isolating to perceive what you perceive in a world that perceives you as an enemy not to be trusted or believed. I can only say that you are not alone. There are many of us.
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      Mar 15 2013: Thank you for your warm words. You are not alone either. I don't think much of how the world perceives me, it does not effect me what "they" see. It is their own matter :)

      I just think that money is overrated. It is given more value than what it really can do.

      Agree with what you said about the society. I believe we need more empathy to encourage people to give more. I give more when I love the society, not to avoid the shame!
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    Mar 5 2013: Many believe, as you do, that the majority of people think money will solve their problems or all problems.

    I don't know how widespread, really, among adults is the belief that money solves all problems. Some problems demand technological solutions or the design of systems that take ingenuity, a willingness to take risks, and a freedom to experiment.

    I have heard a lot of people worry they are not sending enough time creatively but never because of a lack of money. Nor have I heard people in the United States say that they don't take good care of their health because of money. More likely, they would make arguments related to demands on their time.

    There is research that is discussed here often that shows that after you have enough resources to cover your basic needs and a little more, extra money has no impact on contentment. Martin Seligman's TED talk is one that cites this research.
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      Mar 15 2013: Oh, it is interesting to see the difference in the ideology.

      Here it is a wide spread belief that if we had money, we would have a better region. A lot of money is being wasted, in my opinion, to replace human effort and time. And wasting money like that means wasting the earth resources that, i dont think, we own in the first place!
  • Mar 5 2013: I think what you need to realize is that most people want much more than they need. Many people want much more stuff than what they need to live comfortably. Years ago a study asked people how much money they would need to live comfortably. People of all income levels thought they would be happy if they made just about 20% more. I recently saw a documentary in which a couple with income over $200,000 per year could not live within their income. (I would not know what to do with that much.) People are happier when they learn the meaning of enough, and become appreciative of what they have rather than envious of what they lack.

    By American standards my income and economic status is below average. By global standards I am rich. Neither of these comparisons has the slightest meaning to me. I live comfortably, with adequate food, shelter, clothing etc. and suffer no deprivation. I have enough and more than enough. I even have an automatic dishwasher, which makes my life much more pleasant. One of my goals is to simplify my life further by getting rid of stuff that is not needed. Within a year or two I hope to move to a small town where I can live comfortably without an automobile, using my legs and feet as my primary means of locomotion. Perhaps a bicycle for longer trips.

    The only thing you can do with money is spend it. Money is not the problem. The problem is spending it wisely.

    I think if we can develop wisdom the resources of the Earth will be enough.
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      Mar 15 2013: Very well said. I think the culture which is shaped by the financially powerful parties are the ones who are benefiting from creating this relative deprivation. By always presenting models for people to follow as social scripts, there is a man made feeling of dissatisfaction.

      What a simple life you are trying to lead there, go for it! Would like to hear from you about your experience!

      And do you have suggestions on how we can develop wisdom? Who is responsible for that?
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    Mar 15 2013: You have opened interesting topics here, would like to read more about your point of view!
    And yes, you have answered the question just fine, thank you for your contribution!
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    Mar 15 2013: Apologize everyone for my late reply. Thank you so much for your great contribution.
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    Mar 12 2013: I view that money does not bring you happiness at all.
    You just have to look at the statics and research the rather unintuitive psychology of happiness to find that out.
    I mean owning money = "natural happiness". Not owning money and still being happy = Synthetic happiness.
    But the odd thing is you goals for "natural happiness" will always change. So making happiness your end isn't the wisest thing to do (in my opinion that is) but making it you mean is, and money just correlated. (E.g doing things in a sense of "flow" and making some money making ideas, not because of the money, but because you want to.)
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      Mar 15 2013: Thank you for sharing your point of view.
      See my debate here isn't about money and happiness, it is about consumption of the earth resources to be happy. We think it is okay because these resources are bought with money that we own, but do we really own this money? Should humans "own" the earth?
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        Mar 15 2013: Yes I view they should "own" the earth. :)
        Because we gain the most utility from owning the earth, and if we managed it properly then every species would be okay.
        Also we need to own the earth to keep up at the process of consumerism we are currently going at.
        But I admit it would be better if we could become a less consumerist society, and plan ahead more.
        Hope I have answered this question better now. Will expand on these points later!
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    Mar 7 2013: .
    (1) Up to optimal point, money makes valid happiness.
    (2) Above the optimal point, money mainly makes invalid happiness , which causes greed, inequality, crimes, wars, environment destruction, .... humankind self-extinction.


    (For details, see the 1st article, points 1-3, 10, 14, at
    https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D&id=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D%21283&sc=documents)
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      Mar 15 2013: Thank you! Yes, I heard about this before.

      Well what I meant in my debate is that, are we depending too much on consumption to solve our problems?