Childhood and Money

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Once upon a time there lived a beautiful young woman and a handsome young man. They were very poor, but as they were deeply in love, they wanted to get married. The young people’s parents shook their heads. ‘You can't get married yet,’ they said. 'Wait till you get a good job with good prospects.' So the young people waited until they found good jobs with good prospects and they were able to get married. They were still poor, of course. They didn’t have a house to live in or any furniture, but that didn't matter. The young man had a good job with good prospects, so large organisations lent him the money he needed to buy a house, some furniture, all the latest electrical-appliances and a car. The couple lived happily ever after paying off debts for the rest of their lives. And so ends another modern romantic fable. We live in a materialistic society and are trained from our earliest years to be acquisitive. Our possessions, 'mine' and 'yours' are dearly labeled from early childhood. When we grow old enough to earn a living, it does not surprise us to discover that success is measured in terms of the money you earn. We spend the whole of our lives keeping up with our neighbours, the Joneses. If we buy a new television set, Jones is bound to buy a bigger and better one. If we buy a new car, we can be sure that Jones will go one better and get two new cars: one for his wife and one for himself. The most amusing thing about this game is mat the Joneses and all the neighbours who are struggling frantically to keep up with them are spending borrowed money kindly provided, at a suitable rate of interest, of course, by friendly banks, insurance companies, etc. It is not only in affluent societies that people are obsessed with the idea of making more money. Consumer goods are desirable everywhere and modern industry deliberately sets out to create new markets. Gone are the days when...