Money matters in more than just business
Spencer Camp discusses the purpose of business and money as it relates to its role in our society. | Livi Plew/THE CHIMES
“I am a business major because I want to make money.” Many hear it said, sometimes as a joke, sometimes seriously, but it always reveals what we see as the purpose of business — making money as an end, an idea which filters into several other areas of life such as college, marriage and politics.
Students unquestionably attend college to get a good job and receive an adequate return on our investment (ROI). The price tag, the promise of future employment and the promise to work while in college are three of the biggest reasons people choose to attend a university.
A recent article concluded people should marry because married people, on average, have a higher income, than non-married people. According to a recent Time Magazine article, children qualify as a bad economic investment. We see a successful family largely in terms of economic well-being.
Every politician fears and loves the words “unemployment," “job-rates” and “GDP.” The measurement of our politicians’ success simplifies to how well they can balance a budget and reduce a deficit. We no longer need politics, just economists and bankers.
In our modern age, life swings on the hinge of money — not just for business, but for all areas of life. Liberal arts have taken a huge loss in recent decades, because they do not seem economically feasible. Why learn about what it means to be human when our society decided it means making money? We do not need philosophy as it cannot make us money. We do not need children as they cost us money. We do not need intrinsically valuable things, like Christianity or marriage, in our life because we remeasured our value system on the legal tender of the dollar bill. Today, more than ever, we would sell our soul for a few more dollars, and that does not mean we now shape our life on money, it means money now shapes our life.
WHAT IS THE END OF MONEY?
If the end of life is money, we ought to ask the question, what is the end of money? Aristotle answers that questions in his “Ethics.” “Wealth is not the good we are seeking...[it] is merely useful for the sake of something else (happiness).” Money became the end when it was designed to be the means — it has transformed politics, ethics and relationships into a consumer endeavor, so that business, college, marriage, politics and all other areas of life revolve around money, not happiness, where it should act the other way around. This does not mean we must pour all our money into a watershed and watch it float out into the Pacific Ocean. It means we make money as a proper means for its original purpose — happiness.
I majored in business for fulfillment, for happiness. Business shadows a reality that points to a truer light, a reward of an earthly endeavor, a simultaneous pouring out while pouring in of self in making other selves happy. It is an image of a beauty we have only time between us to truly grasp when inheritance, not measured in equity, is described by the song of a transformed soul that can authentically confess, in blissfully non-monetary lyric, “I am happy.” That is what business is for.