Money Makes The World Go Round English Literature Essay


The quotation ‘money makes the world go round’ was first used in a musical play ‘ Cabaret’, it was written in the 1960’s. the play was a melancholy one, in one of the songs the female lead expresses her wish for love, the male protagonist replies with this line in the song. The main aim of this line was to say that it is money that makes the world turn, not nobility or love. It highlights the fact that our society is heavily dependent on money. [1] Charles Dickens further stresses this point in his novel ‘ Dombey and Son’ where Paul asks his father about the powers of money. Hisfather replies it can do everything, little Paul then intelligently questions his dad as to why money did not save his mother. Charles Dickens very clearly portrays both sides of the argument.

The phrase basically means that everything in this world would stop without money. To some extent this statement is true because without money you cannot afford a shelter on your head, have food, go from point A to point B, etc. It is often said that money can take you places, in many instances it proves true because money can and often does open up many doors for a person.

However, in today’s world we are all too preoccupied with the notion of acquiring wealth, so much so that other aspects of life that are equally important are neglected. The main reason behind this is our distorted view of success. The word ‘success’ is usually taken to mean material success; the more the money the more successful one is. This includes the amount of money one earns, the type of car he drives or the size of his house.

The importance of money becomes very clear when a person has no money, Money for a poor person is everything, it becomes very important for him to earn so that he can fulfill his basic needs. However, recently everyone has become consumption oriented. We want to buy anything that is new on the market and catches our interest and we are falling prey to the attractive packaging and advertisiments of a product. Thus we buy things that we have little need for which in turn makes us want more money.

Money enables us to afford a better quality of life; more money means bigger and better houses and cars, better quality products, better entertainment etc. Another advantage is less stress in paying bills and other household expenses. Money may also allow a person to persue his dreams, for example a person who wants to attain higher education may not be able to without money. Literature also supports this in many places, one such example is where Charles Dickens in another Novel ‘A Christmas Carol’ [2] shows how love is pushed aside for money. This happens when young Ebenzer Scrooge had made a promise to a girl Belle to provide for her, however Belle chooses a crooked businessman Jacob as he offers her a quick gain of fortune to the girl.

A number of quotations from the book ‘the great Gatsby’ by F.Scott Fitzgerald [3] also highlight the importance of money. One such quote mentioned the effect that money has on Gatsby when he is unable to even speak in front of Daisy Buchnan as he gets intimidated by her wealth.

This shows how wealth encompasses every aspect of our lives, so much so that it even reflects in the voice and mannerisms of a person. Another description from the same book is about a character Tom whose wealth has given him a lot of power. It allows him to treat others how ever he likes and his elitist nature also makes him condescending towards other people. Thus another thought is that wealth gives one power.

Money may be a motivator it influences human activity from geological exploration to politics. Money itself may not be evil, it is the greed for money that becomes the root of evil. Despite popular arguments I believe that money does not make the world go around. ‘we have created the monster and allowed it to take over and control our lives’. [4] Even though money does have some importance in our lives as every aspect of our lives revolves around money, but if we tried to be content with less we may not face such dependency. The variety of products that we are faced with makes it very difficult for us to be content with what we have.

We have made money so central to our lives that we place it above life and even happiness. This never ending pursuit of money has made the society a selfish one. People forget that there are many things that money can’t buy. A Chinese proverb summarizes this argument very well by saying that money can buy a house but it cannot make a home, that it can not buy time, sleep knowledge, health, respect and a good life only the material aspects can be bought but not ones that come from within. Stephen R. Covey in his book ‘ seven habits of highly effective people also mentions that some of us tend to be centered around money and so our sense of security and happiness is directly related to how much money we have and since its human nature to never be satisfied with what one has he is likely to remain unhappy most of the time. Even a huge increase in wealth is unlikely to satisfy such a person. For this purpose we need to alter our centres to what we really want at the end of our lives.

Money can buy a lot of things but it cannot buy good health, respect, love, inner peace etc as these only come from good principles. A person can have million in his bank account but still feel poor because he is not content with his life, more money gives him only minimal satisfaction. Security come from within from knowing that what you have is enough for you to be happy, it comes from believing in your self. All of us tend to think that happiness comes from outside i.e. through money. A short story that supports this notion is “A Christmas Memory’ by Truman Capote it is the story of a child who does not get anything for Christmas except handed down and worn out except for a kite but he is still satisfied and goes out to fly it. In another instance was when the family was offered money for a new Christmas tree but they refused it believing that their old tree was more precious and nothing could replace it. Both these examples reflect the importance of contentment and satisfaction over money.

One important error that we make is that we equate money with success, this is not true. Success can be divided into 8 categories, these are: health, personal needs, family, career, spiritual, financial and community. To be truly successful you need to be more than just financially successful.

There have been many cases whereby a rich man was unable to spend all his fortune due to his health and died despite his accumulated wealth. Such a man cannot be called wealthy as all that he accumulated was left behind, and it was not able to help him when he needed help the most. Thus a rich person who lacks in other aspect of life is as good as being poor. Let us not get carried away with the idea of acquiring wealth and money and fail to consider other aspects of our life.

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