Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Money Vs Power – What Do You Choose?

If you are a big fan of Netflix's original TV Series 'House of Cards' as I am, you would be aware of the various instances where Francis Underwood, the shrewd politician brilliantly played by Kevin Spacey often talks directly to the viewers and provides some useful insights into politics and human behaviour. Often he compares money and power. The power-hungry politician not only advocates power over money but throughout the show becomes a prime example of how he and his wife conquer and overthrow their enemies with power, determination, and planning.

I found myself thinking about this comparison time and again. My first reaction was to search the internet but then I decided it would be far more interesting to conduct an exploration of my own. So I asked 20 of my closest family and friends the following three questions
  1. What would you choose –  power or money?

  2. Whom would you rather be President of the USA – Barack Obama or the richest man on Earth – Bill Gates?

  3. Why?
Well, it was disconcerting if not unexpected that 55% of my family and friends opted for money over power, contrary to what I read on the internet.

So I shall begin with the reasons given to me by those 55% people who chose money over power. The most common answer I got was that money is power. The more money you possess, the more power you wield which was true to some extent but I urged on for more. The second most common answer I received was that power comes with huge costs, i.e., responsibility and criticism. Most of them said with power and authority, they would be constantly liable and accountable both in respect to their money and time. Some said to be under constant scrutiny or limelight and complete ruining of their private lives was not acceptable to them. Last but not the least, I was told that
money is permanent but power is not.

The rest 45% who chose power over money said that money is a subset of power. Wherever power is, money follows and again I urged them to give me more than that. I got a variety of answers from these 45%. Some of them answered that with power provided them with a sense of accomplishment that money didn't. One of them even went as far as saying that anybody can earn money but not everybody can earn power or have the ability to maintain it. Some wanted to pursue power because it accompanies fame & respect and two of them specifically wanted to do public good. Power means authority and control and to stand out among millions and have a sense of purpose, create history. Ultimately power controls and dictates all, even the rich. It directly affects lives of all people. It provides satisfaction and security that money does not. You have to continuously earn money and have it to feel safe but power once possessed leaves a lasting effect, probably a lifetime.

It is interesting to notice that people who chose money over power were all millennials and constituted the Young generation. Power seekers included people from all ages but majorly constituted older generation. Where the Younger generation is more focused on improving the self and earning money, the older generation is more concerned with attaining power as a matter of honor and respect. Although it is appreciable that the Young realise the responsibility that power entails. Whereas it can be said that since the Young are new to earning money, they do not realise the true potential of power that the older generation do.

In a country like India, differentiating money from power can be difficult but it is quite evident that power can make you tons of money here. Power in most areas can override money in a country like India and the Young tend to dissociate themselves from the corruption-ridden power. Nonetheless, it is safe to say that power and money are two sides of the same coin and in most respects are dependent on each other.

So what would you choose?

Written by Sanya K. Aitwani
Complicated thinker with a creative streak and perceptive outlook.

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