Article by Elina Anderson (UWCAC 2016-2018)
Can you image the world without money? Where everything is free, and payments aren’t required? No, you can’t! No one can! We live in a time where you have to pay for the most basic of things such as food and water, no matter how essential to life they may be. Wealth is no longer correlated to social class, but it is itself the determinant of where you rank in the social hierarchy. It can buy you nearly anything, whether freedom from imprisonment through bribes or the hiring of a good lawyer or it can even buy you importance.
In this rat race that the modern world seems to have been caught up in, with everyone chasing wealth as if mobility up the classes was still a legitimate possibility, do people ever consider those that don’t even have enough to afford their next meal? The people who die every day because they cannot afford the medicine they need? The thousands of kids that die each day from dehydration? Sure there are a lot of charities that are set up to help these people, but the problems still exist, so are our efforts enough? Why is the world divided into Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs) and More Economically Developed Countries (MEDCs)? We are united under humanity, yet The governments of the MEDCs insist on wasting huge amounts of money on pointless things, while in LEDCs people starve. Let’s use the example of the Olympic games: sure they help to bring people together and unite countries, but are they really worth the billions they seem to cost? Is it all worth it when billions of people lack the basics to live? No. No. And no.
In one way, we take money for granted, but in another we let it dominate our lives. We treat people differently based on the wealth we assume they have, we become jealous of those who can afford that which we can’t, and we look at those who make less than us and somehow feel better because of it. The fact that kids are bullied in school for wearing old used clothing, shows just how predominant this obsession with wealth has become in our society.
While we grow up, with our parents financially supporting us, we don’t understand the value money as much as when we are on our own. As a kid, I thought that money came out of nowhere and that you could buy anything you wanted with it. I thought that the world rotated around money and that it was the most important thing in the world. Was I right? It’s up to you to decide the value of money for yourself.
In a world dominated by money hidden in a bunch of facades like ‘the American Dream’, it’s important to be mindful of the role it has on our lives and the lives of others. We have to make a conscious effort to not only acknowledge the impact money has on every aspect of our living but the direct privileges we’re put in because of it. We have to understand that many people have so much less than us and that wasting money is a privilege we take for granted far too often.