18 October 2010

Follow the money, part 1

I mentioned to my dad recently that money is the best way to determine what people really believe; he kind of chuckled at the notion. I made the same point again the other day when I posted a link to a story about Carl Paladino renting space to Planned Parenthood in spite of his anti-abortion political platform. The same could also be said of Al Gore's recently purchased ocean view property in Monticello, CA. If he believes the oceans are going to rise due to global warming, why would he live on the coast? Then again, maybe "believe" is the wrong word. Perhaps money is better at determining priorities. Maybe Al Gore really does believe that the oceans are going to rise, but it's probably a ways off and he'd really like to live by the beach until then. Maybe Mr. Paladino really does believe that abortion is murder, but he likes profit just a little bit more.

The concept certainly isn't new. Consider the phrases "put your money where your mouth is", "talk is cheap", "actions speak louder than words", etc. Note that the first two idioms make a direct reference to money. The latter refers to "actions" which take time to implement, and time is often equated with money. That's a kind of a stretch, though, so I'll generalize that people will make an "investment" in the things that they care about. Investment does not even necessarily have to refer to time or money. Rather investment, in this context, simply means the use of something valuable to further, reach, or effect an end.

My point in all of this is this: A person will invest in things relative to the importance of those things to him. As I've said, this investment doesn't necessarily have to be money, but money is easily quantifiable and is almost, if not completely, universally regarded as valuable. So, here are some examples (in addition to those above) of money showing what is really important to people:
  • It's a generally accepted fact that Christians, on average, tithe 2-3% of their income rather than the commanded 10%. (The slightly bigger house, fast food, cable TV, etc. are arguably more important than the 10% "donation".) [By the way, please don't flame me. I fall into this group, and I know it's wrong.]
  • Walmart is still in business (and profiting) despite its wide regard as a pariah among businesses by its employees and customers. (Low prices and employment are a bigger concern than Walmart's business practices and the "plight" of its workers.)
  • Consumers have rejected the compostable Sun Chips bag because of its aesthetics despite the wide outcry for "green" products. (The loudness of the bag is a bigger factor than "saving the planet" via reducing waste.)
It is absolutely not my intention to "call anybody out" as a hypocrite for saying one thing and doing another (i.e. if you fall into one of the aforementioned groups). My point is simply that investment (usually money) is perhaps the best way to determine what is truly important to people.


  1. Nobody truly believes that there is Global Warming outside of the U.N. or Hollywood....great mind..yep

  2. good post. Especially liked the sun chips comment. Money really does seem to bring out people's true opinions

  3. There is no commandment for Christians to tithe. That was an OT rule. We merely need to support the Church.


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