Help me out here. Am I seeing more than the usual amount of “bash anyone who has the desire to make money” or “bash anyone who’s decided to own something you don’t” or not? Maybe its just me (a small business owner/solopreneur) but there seems to be a concerted effort to label business and possessions as evil.
It’s rather like the illustration above. Somehow we’ve decided a priori that money (a means of holding the results of talent, time and effort) is at best amoral, if not immoral. I disagree. A screwdriver is good. It is inherently incapable of evil and it enables anyone who picks it up to do more than they could do with their fingers alone.
Well doesn’t the Bible say money is evil? No, it is explicit that the “love” of money is the root of all evil. You can’t love something, only someone.
Money is probably the simplest way to exchange my time, talent, or possessions with someone else. Exchanging the value I produce with the value others produce is good. A well lived life is a benefit to others.
Thus, money is good. Making money, being profitable, becoming prosperous – good, good and good. The cost of NOT seeking to produce value is seeking a life that isn’t good and is less able to do good. Even failure in the attempt to produce value is preferable to passivity.
A friend had a tough conversation with me one time when I was down economically. (I was whining about pay and hours). He wasn’t comforting or patronizing… he didn’t sugar-coat things or promise to solve my economic woes. He talked to me about value.
I thought the issue was a good hourly rate, insurance, benefits … you know, security.
He talked to me about value. Now, there’s nothing wrong with an hourly rate, unless you are consciously giving someone else the ability to tell you what your day is worth. Frankly, if you can produce the same value as others in less time, why should you charge less? And if what you produce is of extremely great value to others, why can’t you charge accordingly?
Set the value of what you do by the value it adds to the lives of others. You decide how many profit centers you manage, how long you work, the length of your day … you choose. But what you get paid? Measure it by the value it adds to someone’s life.
That conversation redirected my life.
I can hear your objections. Well what about the cheaters? Those who pay women less for the same work as a man? Monstrous actions by individuals or corporations do not diminish the value of your time and your talent or what medium of exchange you choose to hold as a measure of value. Many women have overcome the biases they face by starting their own company and thus enabling their own pay decisions.
What about Venezuela and hyper inflation? Their money isn’t good … its worthless. Let’s not confuse money and currency. In Venezuela people surrendered their freedom for a socialist promise of economic security and they lost freedom and economic security.
“A value which one is forced to accept at the price of surrendering one’s mind, is not a value to anyone; … An attempt to achieve the good by force is like an attempt to provide a man with a picture gallery at the price of cutting out his eyes.” – Ayn Rand
Screwdrivers are good. Money is good.
Can I ask you to do something for me? I think we’ve gotten to the point where we have to stop giving attention to the haters of business and get on with what we’re good at.
Why should we give even the time of day to a person who sits in a coffee shop (a business) and types blog entries about the evils of capitalism on their MacBook (made by a multi-billion dollar corporation) to post on their website (housed on the server of a large internet corporation)? I may need some redirection here, but it just seems disingenuous.
Rather than exploding at the irony, lets just cop to our belief that screwdrivers and money are good. Let’s make lots of money and use it as our own conscience dictates. Let’s enjoy the fruits of our labors and owe nobody anything except the love and respect due those made in the image of God.