Hierarchy of Money

Money is a tool. It is probably the most concrete of all the scoreboards we can use to quantify success. It’s fascinating to observe how different people interact with the concept of money and what it can or can’t do. The simple truth is that money provides one a degree of power (not much more or less) — power over her own circumstances, and (potentially) power over others. There are six levels of this power we can put on the scoreboard.

  1. Poverty – Not enough money to take care. Requires the help of others to get by. No Power.
  2. Survival – Just enough money to get by. To be able to have food, shelter, and take care of the basics.
  3. Comfort – The ability to have choices. To begin to design the characteristics of how you will live.
  4. Frivolity – Most of your money is spent, without worry or thought, on things you know you don’t need. Luxuries.
  5. Independence – Real independence. You no longer have to work for the man. All of your time is your own to do with what you will.
  6. Philanthropy – The focus of your power shifts to the distribution of your money. But you need others to want it.

These levels cannot exist out of context. They require each other for the social machinations that go with them to function. While money can and does make life easier, we often are able to observe that it doesn’t necessarily correlate to happiness. That comes from within. Though if you try to tell that to someone in any of the lower four levels this they might not believe you, which of course is part of what gives the power to people in the higher levels. It feeds itself. “I want what you got.”

Imagine a society where money is not the scorecard for life; one where there is no money. What if the main currency were simply based one’s social relevance? If everyone had ample access to everything they need to live life on their terms power would come simply from who wants to be near you, in your circle of influence. It’s hard to imagine this in its pure form, untainted by the color of money.

But some people who are poor and happy are close to being there. And that may well be the highest level of power there is. Not that rich and happy people inherently can’t be there, it’s just much harder to tell. They aren’t being tested as much. The wealthy, of course, have a vested interest in keeping things as they are, and because our culture has evolved the way it has they have the power to do so.

But the funny thing about evolution….(to be continued)

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10 Responses to “Hierarchy of Money”


  1. 1 Kola May 12, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Money stinks, but i love its smell

    The world will however be a better place if money did not practically define every thing about interpersonal human relationships,and the dynamics of international relations in the global village.

    Its intereting to see how the rising new powers such as India and China have suddenly gained relevance among the community of nations because they have become very wealthy .Thier economic progress has resulted in hard and soft power….hard power being growing military prowes , and soft power being the ability to influence others by virture of your derived relevance in the world order

    Their new found economic power has given them the latitude to start reshaping the global enviromnet to suit thier preferences and inteerests.

    The emerging world order is also seeing the reduced power leverage and infuence of some Western nations due to declining economies…they are loosing the ability to shape the enviroment as they wish , they dont have that kind of financial and military power to influence as they please or desire….furthermore they now have to manouvre carefully not to clash with the interests of the rising big boys.Some people postulate tha even the US is reaching “imperial overstretch”….and needs to withdraw back into its shell and put its finances in order.

    Everybody wants to be a freind of a “somebody”.Money has made nations like China and India “somebodies” among the community of nations.The other powerful nations of the world now court thier freindship and stand in awe and discomfort of thier growing power.

    A global social heirachy is being challenged by these rising “big boys”. Its interesting how the relationship between nations is just as similar to the interpersonal relations of individuals ….the power and influence of money is a major driving factor….. The wealthiest nations are the most influential in the world.Money rules the world

  2. 2 Todd May 25, 2011 at 4:06 am

    snap – did you come up with this stuff? pretty bloody brilliant.

  3. 3 Todd May 25, 2011 at 4:07 am

    dude – turn off comment moderation πŸ™‚


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