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Money, Selfishness are GOOD!

November 7, 2008

We all work for money. As one philosopher put it in her philosophical book, money represents the value of the

Is money evil?

Is money evil?

work of an individual. As such, money is good and never evil.

A former colleague of mine acrimoniously called me “mukhang pera!” Instead of taking it as an insult, I replied by saying, “thanks for the compliment.” And I meant it when I said it was a compliment. However, compliment was not what she meant when she texted the words to me. Her intention was to make me feel ashamed that I’m “mukhang pera…” This Filipino term is almost synonymous to the word “greedy” or someone who lusts for money.

In most societies, to be called as such means you are already contemptible, a social menace, or someone who must be condemned and insulted. In my country, to be called as such means that you are already immoral and depraved or someone who does not embody Christian values of self-sacrifice, altruism, and that mantra ‘love one another.’

Such is the meaning of the term in most worlds. People who are called selfish or ‘mukhang pera’ do their best to deny such accusation. They fight to the death to defend their person and reputation, and they do all stunts possible just to clean their name— and not to be called mukhang pera or greedy anymore.

Many times I told my former colleagues that I am “greedy” or “selfish.” I work for money and never for charity. For most people money is evil, or that it represents all kinds of evil in our society. This is the spirit or thinking of our time.

Of course, I believe that our money today is just a piece of paper. Most currencies these days are fiat money, particularly the U.S. dollar. The Federal Reserve of America is printing money out of nothing. You may google this statement if you really think such is still alien to you, but this is another story or blog.

I am selfish because I believe that man is an end in himself. I work for myself and not for anybody else. But that does not mean I do not work for the ones I love. When you selfishly love someone, you will definitely extend help to him/her. Love is like a currency; it has value. You cannot love indiscriminately. You cannot say “I love you” without saying first the word “I”. See? Love is personal. Love is the extension of self. It is the representation of selfishness.

Despite what I’ve said that most currencies today are fiat or worthless money, money still represents one’s labor. That is why you feel prouder when you honestly believe that the money you are spending comes from your hard work. When money is stolen, you cannot feel its importance, as if it is just a paper to be spent in a single day. But when you have honestly worked your self for money, you will feel that it represents your virtue or values. Part of it represents your ‘self.’

I am selfish or “mukhang pera” but not according to the language and morality of this time. The moral code of this time preaches you to share your labor to others indiscriminately. You have to live for others and you have to sacrifice your self to others. The moral code of our time tells us that people are slave to each other. Never think of your selfish goals. Forget about yourself and think of others.

In business, an employer has to value competence. Of course this is never a secret business recipe. But an employer must value competence not by just knowing it but by doing it— or putting it into action. A capitalist cherishes competence by giving what is due his employees. By giving them their proper salary. Competence has its price. One cannot keep his workers by merely smiling at them. Employees will soon quit their job if they are not given their proper salary. This is because it is their moral goal to stay alive, to feed their hungry stomach. If it is moral for employers or capitalists to earn profit, it is also moral for workers and employees to give their services only to the highest bidder.

Employment is never synonymous to charity work. I write for a living. That former colleague of mine gave me some words that really amused me. She said: “If writing is really your passion, then you should be satisfied regardless of the amount of you salary.”

As if that former colleague of mine really never knew that I have been writing blogs for years without receiving a pork chop in return. I write to satisfy my passion. I have written hundreds of blogs without even getting a single cent for my efforts and Internet rent. If that is not passion, I do not know what you call that feeling that drives you to fulfill your literary desire. It’s temporary dementia perhaps! However, I write for money— to keep me moving as what I told her.

Of course she can never understand what I was talking about because she speaks the language of our time.

That is why I am thankful I don’t live in China, where people are paid according to their need and not according to their ability. In China, those people who get rich are those who are expert in using people— they are the parasites— in other words, they are Chinese politicians. They do not create, they depend on others. In China, people work to fulfill their collective duty to serve their country. Patriotism is their primary goal. Their personal desire is merely their secondary or subsidiary concern.

But the problem is most people are confused. They confuse selfish or mukhang pera with corrupt politicians or businessmen. There’s a big difference between a selfish individual and a selfish politician or businessman.

Let this difference enlighten the innocent and the ignoramuses of our time.

A worker works selfishly to stay alive— he is the one who loves what he/she is doing and who derives payment by using only his ability. A selfish individual is someone who pursues his ambition based on his ability, and earns profits therefrom. He creates. He uses only his human ability and strength to earn money. He never uses others to enrich himself. He values his hard earned money and cherishes competence. His motive-power is to create and to develop his values.

On the other hand, a selfish politician or parasite is someone who uses the ability of others to enrich himself. He does not create; he depends on the ability of others. His motive-power is to rule or to enslave men. Just look at most politicians. They speak of flowery and pleasant words to fool unthinking men— mostly men who believe in self-sacrifice and altruism, who believes that money is evil, and who believe that their duty is not to themselves but to others. These kinds of men can be easily fooled. We live in this “altruistic” world because of these foolish men.

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