TaN: People who know how to use money get richer; people who are used by money get poorer. Just because a person spends money does not mean that the person knows how to use it. My definition of “use” is the spending of money on things that are essential and/or will enrich one’s life. To illustrate, to spend money on trinkets or on junk food or on frivolous items would mean that the spender is being used by money, whereas as purchasing an umbrella (during the rainy season and when there is no abundance of umbrellas previously bought and in still working condition) and staple food and a good pair of walking shoes would mean that it is the spender that is using the money.
If one were to read the biographies of (financially) successful people (on how they attained financial success), regardless of whether s/he be a business owner, an employee, or anybody else, their commonality is that they are frugal, almost to the point of being a miser – aside from knowing their priorities and from concentrating on the important things in life. It is not that they do not spend money but they spend it only when necessary and not on their whim nor on the “prodding” of clever (and often fraudulent or deceptive) advertising and marketing tactics. They do not give in to peer nor to social pressures – like “Keeping up with the Joneses” or buying things just because they are new or the latest or are the “in” thing – and they pay no mind to what others may think.
On the other hand, people who are used by money – the rightfully or deservingly poor – have no control over their spending habits. They are easily “persuaded” into making purchases that are non-essential and/or have little usefulness or short useful lives – an apt example of the saying “A fool and his money are soon parted”.
To further assist or ensure that products and services are sold, ingenious and sly techniques learned or derived from studies in human psychology are employed and deployed – like people are naturally attracted to shiny things and to colorful things, do not think straight or logically when there are flashing lights, loud and erratic noise, and tend to impulse shop or eat fast (without paying much attention to the quality of the food) when their is blaring music. These are further supported by aggressive media and marketing campaigns and by indoctrination through education – having people with various and impressive academic degrees lecture and convince students on concepts such as consumerism, as consumer loyalty, as corporate personhood, and as greenwashing CSR (corporate social responsibility), in order to prepare the next generation and to ensure a continuous supply of gullible consumers. These consumers will work and slave away to earn money that will be spent on products and services that have no redeemable quality (with respect to human flourishing and to improving the quality of life of individuals).
Under the guise of customer care or concern for the convenience, the comfort, the well-being, or the satisfaction of the consumer, business TODAY is ever conceptualizing and developing ways and techniques on how to separate the masses from their hard-earned money and funnel and channel it to the coffers of the rich.
Finally, additional pressures come from celebrity endorsers, from flashy campaign slogans and catchy jingles, from enticing promotions and “easy” payment schemes, and from a host of other marketing strategies that will sway and wear down the “defenses” of even the staunchest hold outs.
Through employment, the rich as able to require the poor to collaborate – connive or conspire would be more apt terms – with their agenda to siphon wealth (from the labor of the poor) into the pockets of the rich and the elite. What I am advocating may run counter and be tantamount to so-called “economic progress” and even bribg about economic stagnation but I would prefer economic stagnation than to have only the rich continue to be richer and the poor continue becoming poorer. And this is why the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer.
TaN: Why is it important to know the reason behind events and things? We start off in life with a “carte blanche” mind – a mind bereft of knowledge outside of the basic instincts that we need to survive, like how to recognize hunger, pain, and danger and what to do. The rest of the brain literally “soaks” up knowledge from around the world, without considering the impact or significance of the knowledge. This is the main “teaching” method used in children – to blindly memorize and obey, without question – the whos, the whats, and the whens (this is the lowest stage of the learning process, memorization or committing to memory). When we mature to our teens, we are supposed to be explained about what we have obediently memorized in our earliest life – the hows, the whys, and the whiches (the next higher stage in learning, the understanding phase). In our adult life, we are expected to formulate ideas and concepts from what has been learned – like creating and inventing (the last stage is the highest, the thinking phase). Without understanding, we remain at the lowest stage and become “victims” to routine, to monotony, to following and observing “empty” customs and rituals, traditions, beliefs, and practices. We are unable to move on to more efficient and effective ways. What makes this especially bad (or disadvantageous) is that will always be people who will capitalize or exploit this “weakness” for their own nefarious purposes or agenda.
Remember when it used to be – though it is quite prevelant today for quite a few – that parents preferred male children over female children? This was because, in those times, there was still a lot of hostility and threats outside of our isolated communities – and even among the community. Sons are needed to work the fields, defend the family, and all the other stuff that have direct and significant bearing on the continued and secure existence of the family. This is no longer the case today – although there is a lot more hostility and insecurity, but they have evolved to be more subtle and do not “target” the family specifically. Today, daughters are valued as much – sometimes, even more so – as sons. One unethical result of this preference is gender inequality.
Another case in point, CTM (Chinese Traditional Medicine) dictates that – because of the principle of balance, where health is a balance between the yin and yang forces – whenever we eat something resulting in LBM (loose bowel movement), we simply eat the same food except that the food must first be heated until burnt/charred. The concept is that if something we eat made us sick, eating the opposite or negative form should counteract the effects and restore the balance, this making us healthy again. The truth of the matter is that the burnt portion is carbon and carbon is a very effective anti-toxin. This is the reason why common anti-diarrheals are blackish; it’s the carbon content that is at work. [Nota Bene: Not all LBMs are controllable with carbon. One exception is ameobaiasis.] One unethical result of this is the ridiculously overpriced sale of anti-diarrheal pharmaceuticals by Big Pharma – when it should be practically free.
Finally, one of the more recent trend is to drink red wine for one’s health. It was based on studies that purportedly are healthy – especially to the heart. However, there seems to be a rising trend of BP problems among Asians, which may be attributable to the consumption of red wine – even in moderate amounts, even good quality red wines. The reason here is that it was never explained that red wine is not healthy for everyone but to only those whose ancestry has been “accustomed or conditioned” to drinking red wine will benefit from its consumption. Among Asians – and other cultures and races who do not consume red wine by tradition – the occasional consumption may have some healthful effects but long-term consumption may prove to be detrimental. Asians have their own alcoholic beverage – such as Sake of Japan, as rice wine from China, as basi from (the Ilocos region of) the Philippines, as tuba from (the Bicol region of) the Philippines (please excuse my limited knowledge of the different traditional alcoholic beverages of the world) – and consumption of their own traditional beverages will be more healthful than red wine. The unethical result of this is a lop-sided patronage of an alcoholic beverage (that is predominantly foreign or alien) to the rest, bringing bountiful profits to only a certain select group of people producing and marketing it, providing preference to cultivating certain plant varieties and excluding other varieties (that may result in their being pushed to the brink of extinction or, at the very least, of endangerment), and unintentionally causing harm to the health of people who are not traditional consumers.