Theoretically, money is useful because it is a language that everyone understands . Thanks to it, we can understand all kinds of people, even those with whom we share neither habits nor interests, and carry out mutually beneficial exchanges.
However, as history unfolds and societies find new ways to produce all kinds of goods and services, unintended consequences related to this element of cooperation are emerging. The obsession with money is an example of this .
Why the obsession with money?
If we pay attention to all those famous quotes, reflections and slogans that talk about happiness as something that is beyond the economic power that one has , it may seem strange that there is an obsession with money. There are many things in life that can make us feel good: why focus so much on something that in theory is only a means to exchange things? As we will see, there are several reasons for this.
The association with pleasure
Psychologists have long since discovered something very revealing about human behavior (and, indeed, animal behavior in general). When we associate a pleasant stimulus with an action , in a given context, we have to repeat it, even though we are not aware of it. Rationality is undoubtedly a very important element in our daily lives, but its power is very limited, and it cannot change these tendencies.
For example, in the same way that a phobia of birds can be caused by having a bad experience with one of these animals around, if we learn to relate pleasure to an element, even if that element itself does not have to provide it in another situation, we will want to get back in touch with it.
With this in mind, let’s think for a moment about the omnipresence of money . It is an element that is present practically by obligation in the life of any person, but that takes on special importance at the moment of carrying out commercial transactions. Except in the case of frauds, these are experiences that can produce a lot of pleasure, especially in the case of expensive purchases to obtain products that one did not have before.
We all remember the excitement we have felt at some point in our lives when we have obtained products such as cameras, nights in luxury hotels, a car, etc. These are moments in which you can experience the emotion and the nerves that awaken anticipation . It may even be that at some point in life we organize a whole day around making a special purchase.
This is one of the reasons why it makes sense that there is an obsession with money: it is very common for it to be present in situations where we feel good. But it’s not the only one.
Instability and change
In theory, the obtaining and spending of money is, or was until recently, due to two distinct facets of life: the personal and the professional. One earns an income in the work aspect, and spends it in the personal, in most cases.
However, with the development of the capitalist mode of production, there is an increasingly blurred boundary between these two areas. For example, it is common to take work home or even work during holidays. Similarly, timetables, in many jobs, have little meaning, and the possibility of constant communication thanks to the use of laptops and smartphones means that many tasks can be carried out almost anywhere.
In addition, there is more instability in working life . The working model based on obtaining a job that lasts several decades has expired, and nowadays it is common to fear for keeping a position, or to assume that a job will only last a few years, or even months.
Faced with this scenario, the obsession with money is only a symptom of what is happening: the only thread that structures our day to day, in the absence of a fixed schedule, is the flow of gaining and losing economic power. As it is frequent to even spend in order to work, the economic is seen as something fluid and unpredictable, a part of life to which we must always pay attention. The risk is always there, and that is why there is reason to think every week about the state of the bank account, even if you have a good economic status, since certainties do not exist.
The obsession with money is an example of how, little by little, the economic and the professional have entered totally into our mentality when it comes to perceiving things in our private life. In these times we are constantly thinking as entrepreneurs, precisely because reality is teaching us that everything is for sale and that everything can put at risk what we took for granted.