Keeping A Low Income For Fear of Corruption

Keeping A Low Income For Fear of Corruption

Very interesting perspective about making money and business today where I was talking to a person who ran a fitness club of sort. Essentially, he does run it as a business and makes a living off it by charging people a monthly membership fee. However, he refuses to earn more than a certain level of revenue through the business as he believes that making it too commercialized will change him for the worst based on what he has seen when it came to others.

I guess I will agree and disagree with that notion. In one end I will agree that making a lot of money or just things involving a lot of money in general can aid in changing people. Example, family members willing to douse each other, longtime friends that end up trying to defraud each other and so forth all in the name of money. That’s the ugly part.

However, I sincerely and honestly never seen a person that I truly feel who has gotten over that money phase mindset where they ended up changing for the worst when they had more money. Essentially, these are the people that went through that “phase” already such as having to go through extreme/genuine hardship financially or witnesses/experiencing first hand how they can make a profound impact on people who are less fortunate.

So in that sense, I wouldn’t say that money can corrupt a person all by itself as it is more like one of those things that just gives the person an extra nudge to walk a path that they were already building themselves too. It’s almost like how some people try to target this one materialistic item to explain how it makes a person violent, like a videogame, when really the person had issues already from a multitude of factors.

Shouldn’t limit yourself because of that in my opinion if you really have the potential to do/earn more. One way to find out though if money would change you a lot is to see if you can last like two months living on some bare essential needs. The point in this? If you constantly whine that you can’t say dine out or have that latest gadget then most likely the money will change you as it will in a sense give you too much “power” that will make you big headed.

However, if you are one that usually just adapts to the situation and sees the positives of it then most likely the money won’t do much to change you as again all the money will be to you is “Okay, I have a bigger bank account”. Don’t limit yourself though I’d say.


  • Chrystal ocean 2/10/2009

    You may be interested in a portion of a presentation I did in 2007 at a conference held by the Economic Security Project. Here’s the excerpt:

    In November 2004, WISE completed a one-year project whose results appear in our book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the Front (WISE 2005). As part of that initiative, the 21 storytellers, all women living below the poverty line, drafted recommendations for change. Our recommendations broke down into three major groups, in order of logical priority: R1) advocacy and raising awareness, R2) community-based action, and R3) structural issues and policy.

    The first set of actions concentrates on raising public awareness and interest within our own communities, since without these we cannot effectively proceed to Group 2. The second group includes novel and inexpensive ways to combat poverty from the grassroots. In its plea for a return of community, it suggests a different way of looking at and a revaluation of the activity called ‘work’, whose modern equivalent is ‘having a job’. Our presentation focuses on this aspect of our storytellers’ recommendations.

    Among the first things you’ll notice when reading our storytellers’ recommendations report is its unusual approach. We women in poverty talk to other women in poverty; sharing our experiences, our hopes and, yes, our cynicism, which is the recognition of the intransigence of our society over which market capitalism has taken such pervasive hold.

    If you read the book from cover to cover, you can’t help but pick up a multitude of layers of meaning and a certain mood. What may not be evident, unless you look carefully and think deeply, is something we discovered when we spoke amongst ourselves.

    It’s a loathing for money. Of the storytellers whose poverty has been prolonged and deep – and by deep, we mean a household income of 30% or more below any measure of the poverty line –, this loathing was a consistent theme. It’s an abhorrence for the dollar, which has attained god-like status in our society.

    This attitude among people in poverty has interesting and we would argue, predictable, results. The longer we remain in deep poverty, the less inclined we are to want to participate in the market economy.

    This is not the same as saying we don’t want to work.

    Less than a handful of our storytellers could be said not to work – that is, be engaged in activities that benefit our communities. And the one storyteller who said she would like to retire meant only that she wants to retire from paid work – so there is more time for her volunteering.

    I’m in the same position and can trace the metamorphosis of my thinking about money, paid work, and the value of the things that I do in tandem with my slide into poverty.

    We transition from one set of values, which are subtly and not-so-subtly promoted by big business in support of consumerism, to another set of values. This transitioning is part of the human adaptive process to challenges to survival. If we are unable to live according to our values, then for consistency’s sake – and we humans do need something stable in our lives so as not to die of despair –, we must change our values.

    And so we do.

    Such transitioning can be painful. In my case, it occurred over the course of a prolonged and severe breakdown and it took a change in values before some modicum of healing could begin.1

    Values are tools for coping. If one set of values isn’t working, then either you die still holding allegiance to those values, or you evolve.

    The reverse frequently happens when someone ascends from rags to riches. Their values undergo change and they forget the lessons learned from their days of financial impoverishment.

    As survivors of poverty, our storytellers evolved, the inevitable outcome of which is that those of us who were once conditioned consumers no longer are…

  • Alan Yu 2/10/2009

    Very thought-provoking material there. When it comes to undergoing a change in personal values as a result of money, I personally believe it is more about one’s life direction that changes as oppose to values.

    Example, let’s say a person went from rags to riches and the person’s mindset during that state was always “I deserve better, I want that expensive house and car, I will succeed”. So through sheer frugality, being involved in the community and business smarts he made it. And now with his riches he just spends money like crazy. He doesn’t want to associate with lower income people anymore, doesn’t care too much about savings, etc.

    So now people say the money has changed him for the worst. But the way I see it, he is the same person now as he was before when you think about it as his values are the same in my mind. His goal to get rich when you think about it was to get those materialistic items for personal gain as an example and so he basically used methods and tactics that was within his means during that time to accomplish it. Now that he has more money, he would rather use different methods that are faster to get more within his new means.

    Take this real life example for myself. My values has always been to try and help others when I am in a fortunate position to do so. That meant helping people financially, volunteering, etc. I usually did it in a very open/trusting way.

    Not too long ago, the person in need was a childhood friend and he ended up taking advantage of my generosity and eventually tried to con me out of a large sum of money(He went through extreme lengths to do so too I must say). Because of that, I changed definitely. But my values didn’t change personally as oppose to direction. Example, where I would normally take one’s word for it if they were a good friend, now I always insist in a written agreement.

    In my opinion, if you truly have a mindset where say money does not equal happiness but rather it is simply a means to achieve happiness then that is a good foundation to start on.

  • s.przada 2/12/2009

    Money is the root of all evil ! 😉

  • Alan Yu 2/13/2009

    Let’s see, what is the response people usually give to that…..oh yeah….money is evil so the only way to save yourself is to give it all to me and I’ll take care of it. 😆

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