Thursday, October 13, 2011

Money is control

My thoughts on this subject vary widely from day to day and month to month but this weekend was so blissfully wonderful that it had me hankering for a permanent vacation from work.  I think I'd still be interested in school - I'm learning a ton and meeting phenomenal people - but it would be awfully nice to have no one to report to but my self and my family, no job search to worry about or career prospects to carefully manage.

Today my thinking is basically boiling down to money being a powerful enabler of control in life.  That day to day it can be a magic wand that makes so many superficial troubles like dirty floors, laundry or wardrobe fade away.  And, on a larger scale, there's a threshold that buys autonomy and freedom.  Of course, the more habitually you wave that magic wand day to day the higher your threshold for true freedom, but it is quantifiable and obtainable still.

The counterpoint is that money can also be a huge distraction for finding more meaningful, simple and elegant forms of control in your life.  Selling your soul to the highest paying job is worthless if you could be happy long-term in a lower paying profession that was a better fit for your interests, passions, and family. Forking over a huge sum for a downtown parking spot may tempt you to ignore commuting by train or bike or downsizing and living closer to work altogether.  Certainly like any other tool, when you get too used to using it to solve all your problems, all problems begin to look suited to it.

This is where frugality appeals to me.  I conserve money as a well of control to dispense at my leisure or need, but it also forces me to think creatively in solving problems that arise.  Without a habitual itch to buy my way out or the will to do so, there is no longer a one size fits all solutions to my problems.  My dirty floors, laundry, and faded wardrobe will be addressed through a patchwork of creative solutions until I find something systematic or serendipitous to solve the issue.  I'm a sucker for a challenge and, let's face it, these are tractable problems to solve.  The indirect means of control actually satisfy me more than the direct.  The ability to save money, build a control reserve, at the same time is not all that is attractive to me.

What do you think?  Is money a proxy for control in our society?

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  1. I don't know if money is control, but lack of it certainly will control you. No matter how much money I have, I expect to have control over it.

  2. Obviously,money is a form of control.People are about as free as there purching power.