Question Exploration: Money

What exactly is money? Money is an item, preferably items such as coins, papers, and banknotes, that is recognized as a medium of economic exchange for items that ranged from food, clothes, furniture and services that range from classes, house cleanings, or repairs. To this day, we as people rely universally on money to buy the things I had recently mentioned, money makes the world go round after all. With our extensive use of coins and paper, people soon began to question if money is the answer to our problems in the world. If so, could money solve any sort of problem? Admittedly, it is obvious that money had proved to be quite useful in things like food, clothes, shelter, and general survival. However, things becomes less obvious and more vague when asked if money is able to solve problems like depression or even a death of a loved one. Even with that in mind, I believe that money is a great answer to many if not all problems.

In John Steinbeck’s popular novel, The Grapes of Wrath, the protagonist, Tom Joad, and his family had experienced a money problem. Due to the Joad’s lack of money, the bank had taken ownership of the Joad family’s land and forced them out of said land to make room for the new tractors that would now be working the fields. Met with this unfortunate event, the Joads had decided to venture off to California for work as they have heard about how prosperous and how great America’s Golden State was. This became a common trend in the entire novel as almost every farmer had experienced a money problem and had been forced off their land as they had little to no choice what so ever. However, even with the severity of the problem, this problem could have easily been solved with one simple solution, money. Money could have allowed the farmers to support their family. allowed the farmers to keep their land, allowed the farmers to no venture to California for work. Later in the novel, the grandpa Joad had suffered a “stroke…a good quick stroke” (138) and died. Although the family mourned for their loss, they almost immediately got over it as they knew they still had to get to California and look for a job. Did money just solve the problem of losing a loved one? Perhaps.

I continue my research by looking through my class’s english textbook The Language of Composition, namely chapter seven The Economy. The book refers economy to as “the production, trade, and consumption of goods and services” (393). As I continue to read further into the chapter, I was met with a short excerpt about Barbara Ehrenreich, a best selling author who wrote a book called Nickel and Dimed. Nickel and Dimed is about the author’s experience at working minimum wage in the 1960s; she learned how stressful and low-paying the life of an everyday person was. In The Language of Composition, she talks about “a fat person’s hell” (394), which was having every sort of food around you but the catch it you had to pay for all the bites you take. With that in mind, one would lose all their money at a record pace. However, with sufficient money, this problem could have easily been remedied as one would could eat as much as one want to without the worry of any sort of money problem.

I have decided to look to the internet to help me find the answer to the age old question if money solves all problems. I soon came upon a post from a woman named Kathleen Elkins. The post reads about millionaire Steve Siebold’s research on over twelve hundred wealthy people for thirty years. The self-made millionaire Siebold had found that the majority of the wealthy people he researched on admitted that money had “solve most problems”. As you can see, money is a great problem solver, admitted by the wealthiest people in the world. The post continues to talk about how it may be uncomfortable to believe that money could be one’s salvation as many have believed that money leads to corruption. But as shown from this post, money isn’t always seen as a necessary evil but as more reassuring.

Through hours of research, I can confirm that money is a great problem solver. Money is what keeps us motivated as shown in The Grapes of Wrath. Money is what keeps us alive as shown in The Language of Composition. Money is what keeps us happy as shown in Kathleen Elkins’s post.

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How Effective is Our Current Economy?

The theory of economics is based upon multiple waves, the largest being the Kondratiev wave. It is the proposed idea that the economy fluctuates based upon technological advances. Kondratiev waves typically last between forty to sixty years, during which there are four stages our economy goes through. First, there is prosperity, followed by recession, depression, and eventual improvement. According to the cycle, we are currently on the tail end of a recession and about to move into a depression. Why do these constant patterns keep appearing? As a country we should be able to maintain a stable economy, one that will not suffer extreme depressions as in the past. The United States current, capitalistic economy creates unnecessary hardships and needless anger.

Our economy is about to hit another depression, one that could pass the Great Depression as the hardest hitting event in modern times. We as a country can change this fate. The government needs to step in and radically alter our current state. A complete overhaul is needed. I propose for a plan similar to the successful economy post World War Two Britain obtained. Their economy completely changed for the better. Even though taxes were increased, Britain saw rapid economic growth over the next fifteen years. Their industries were nationalized and their welfare state was created, along with national healthcare, pensions, and social security. This socially economic reform could be what saves America from another large and destructive depression. The larger taxes are needed, especially on the rich. Many economists have stated just that, in which the rich need to be taxed more than the poor. Adam Smith, famously stated in The Wealth of Nations that, “It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.” Even those in the time of America’s founding realized this important method of gaining revenue. Warren Buffett has around fifty billion dollars, so much that he cannot possibly spend it all well in his lifetime. That money is better used to spread the welfare of the nation. A redistribution of wealth will conducively fix our nation’s economy.

Luckily for us and the survival of our country, a candidate in the upcoming election is advocating for an economic revival. One candidate will implement the economic policies needed to overhaul our country and make America great again. I am talking of course of Bernie Sanders. He plans to follow the path Britain took after the disaster of World War Two and steadily increase our GDP. A more nationalized economic system is vital to improving America’s standing in the world. Reducing the budget, especially the overly large defense fund, will get us the required resources to jumpstart the program. Sanders is the perfect man for the job, having experienced all the cycles of the Kondratiev wave. He has first-hand knowledge of all four stages. Sanders knows of the uncertainty the nation faces during the trying recession and depression stages of the cycle. With him as our nation’s leader, our gross income will remain a steady increase over multiple decades, rather than the constant spikes of depression and economic wellness.

Our current capitalistic economy may seem excellent on paper, and compared to authoritative administrations, is actually good, but compared to the other “top” economies, ours is statistically weaker. America’s free market capitalism promotes competition but weakens the foundation of the nation. Without a nationalized central economy, America will constantly be behind other first-world nation. Canada and Britain both have universal health care and advanced benefits for citizens while the “Greatest Country in the World” does not. All that would occur to achieve this welfare state is an initial tax increase. While tax brackets across the board will increase, most of the taxes will focus on the rich, those people who can afford to give up more of their income for the greater good. Britain achieved post World War Two success using this economic approach. They experienced a steady GDP increase with no major fluctuations, like the ones we currently face. As Britain’s economy reached a stable high, taxes were cut to their original state. The economy stayed afloat during this tax cut, as it was successfully self-supported. America’s current economy is in bad shape. We can fix this through following Britain’s postwar strategy by making a welfare state. The man who can get this done is Bernie Sanders. He will be able to fix our economy to the point of constant success. -Zach

 

Money is the answer to all your problems

  It is often thought that money can solve problems, and that is true, whether it be during the times of the great depression or in 2016. Money is usually thought of as a medium of exchange used to pay for things. It seems that today many problems can be solved solely through money, like paying off America’s 19 trillion dollar debt or just having enough money to pay off college tuition. Either way, money is great and can solve many of the problems that arise in everyday life.

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©2016 Geralt CCO Public Domain

    In the novel, The Grapes of Wrath written by John Steinbeck, we see that the Joad family’s problems start to arise when the land starts to become unprosperous and yields very little profit, and in return they don’t have enough money to sustain the farm and thus, must sell their house and all the belonging in an effort to make enough money for the big move to California, where prospects seem much more promising. This problem that seemed to affect not only the Joad family, but all of America could have been eased if the government stepped in and gave welfare to the farmers, which would have helped stabilize some families that were still able to live off the land, but the government was in no position to do so. Because, the government did not take action, there is a downward spiraling trend that the America’s economy starts to take. For example once the Joads lost the ability to live off the land and the big banks saw farming as unprofitable, then their neighbors lost their farms to the banks and soon the entire state was unprofitable for farming and this was the start of the chain reaction of horrible events that all could have been solved by money. The Joads were continuously threatened by the problem of money as they made their way to California. They had to be cautious as how they spend their money as “they want a lot for a ol’ tire”(Steinbeck 120), and the Joads were not looking for any unnecessary spending. The Joads had to make the drive in fear guessing when the tire would give out. All the stress could have been alleviated if they could they could of bought that tire and know comfortably that they still had money left to make it to California.  Money plays a crucial part in the economy and everyday life. Without it the world would not function.

    Even 30 years after the great depression everyday Americans are pressed with problems of money. In The language of Composition, it goes over the economy and gives several readings about it. One which particularly stood out was a short excerpt from the book Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich. Ehrenreich goes undercover from her well paying job as an author and takes on the life of an everyday working american in the 60’s. She starts out working as a waitress for a restaurant but soon finds it pays “only about $7.50 an hour” (Ehrenreich 399). With this nominal amount of money she couldn’t even afford to pay her housing fees, so she was forced to compromise and obtain a second job. This means that most working Americans have to work two jobs just to get by life every single day. Ehrenreich later deemed it too hard to live as an everyday lowly paid working american and decided to quit and continued to pursue her career as an author. Millions of Americans have to work two jobs just to get around! They have to endure an enormous amount of stress each day thinking about it they will have enough money to eat or pay the taxes. If they just had a little bit more money than they would not have to look over their shoulder every time they buy food or any other item. Life would be so much easier if everyone had enough money to live comfortably.

    It seems that money is the root of the problems. Money or the lack of it can even split families apart. Shyima Hall a little Indian girl was sold into slavery by her family in order to pay off a nominal amount of money. For four years she had to work 20 hours a day for 7 days a week, constantly being abused by her owners. It was not a happy life and this type of atrocities happened in 1998. To think that child slavery still occurs in the start of the 21’st century, in a time or relative prosperity is just astonishing. A family could have been spared huge grievance if they just had a little bit more money. This is only one of the many cases that have been reported of child slavery and there still remain millions of stories like this that go unreported. Millions of families are living under the poverty line that they must sell their child, just to pay off a debt. Imagine if everyone had money to live comfortably today. How great would the world be?

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    Money is constantly on people’s mind and is a sole source of many problems. With more money people could pay off the debt they had or even just live comfortably knowing that they are financially secured. Money is the cause of many problems, but also the answer to all of them.