Awesome, I thought. Here were members of our noblest class declaring their hypocrisy.
That letter to the Health Minister announced to us all that no; they didn’t go into medicine to heal the sick and comfort the dying; they went into medicine to make money. They took the Hippocratic oath for appearances. Seems you have to take it before you can begin extorting money for desperately needed services.
And the doctors weren’t alone in trying to milk the potential Ebola gravy train. Someone representing health care workers made a similar quadruple pay demand.
Makes me wonder: What would happen if a completely un-announced Haitian scale earthquake leveled our country? Would these doctors and health care workers withhold their services unless paid quadruple their normal pay? My guess is no.
Come on! They’re not heartless to human suffering and their patriotic duty. They would probably just work quarter day.
Trinidad is suffering from an Ebola-like disease called “Bling disease” or “Money Lust”. Mild sufferers sacrifice their happiness for the sake of money while acute sufferers will lie, steal, cheat or even kill to acquire it. Like Ebola it can affect anyone and like Ebola it eradicates human potential.
Timothy 6:10 reads “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” An extremely powerful insight at a time when capitalism—the most powerful money seeking ideology—had not yet been invented.
The bible is very clear that it’s “the love of money,” and not money itself that is the source of evil. Money is inherently helpful as a universal medium of exchange and as a means to assess value (through free markets).
The problem with money is that it does its job so well that we have come to see money as the source of value.
But money is only a manifestation, a representation of people’s capacities to produce value.
It is people’s capacity to produce what other people want that is the true source of value. Not money!
If you have trouble with this, imagine giving everyone in the world all the money they think they need and then have everyone stop working.
Clear now? Money by itself is worthless, and it only has value because there are people working (there’s that word again) to produce goods and services that people care about.
But when people think that money is the source of value, they focus on money at the cost of all else, with evil consequences. Here are three:
1) We neglect Our Capacity to Produce Value: Like treating a symptom and not the cause of the disease, people give their attention to acquiring money and not on their capacity to produce value. They focus on the gold egg and not the goose that produces gold eggs.
This is why people tolerate meaningless jobs: because it gets them a paycheque at the end of the week.
They will act to get more money, please the boss, get a degree etc, but these actions have no relation to whether or not they are increasing their capacities to produce anything that a free market values.
2) We separate ourselves from other human beings: With money, there is no need to connect with others. We can be rude, lie, and move around at work without producing anything people care about because money is the only thing that matters, and the current system produces money for us.
3) Money encourages us to lie, cheat and steal: Money’s illusion as the source of all value encourages us to produce ‘fake value’. People will say and produce almost anything to persuade us to give them their money; knowing full well that what they are selling is useless, harmful, destructive and even deadly. The love of money drove yesterday’s snake-oil salesmen, and drives today’s corrupt businessmen and politicians.
The love of money drives us to create products of war and the narratives of fear and hatred required to sell them; it is the love of money that has us lie on our resumes, give lucrative government contracts to our friends, and resist change.
To be clear, not all doctors are in their field only for money. I know many Trini doctors and nurses who went into medicine for the right reasons and not everyone has contracted “Bling disease”.
But like Ebola we must identify the cultural mechanisms spreading bling disease to our young who are swimming in money glorifying narratives, and imagery at the cost of their future happiness, peace, and fulfillment.
And as they go so goes the future of our country and the planet.
Our education system must explicitly explain the meaning of Timothy 6:10 to our nation’s children. They must come to look at money not as the reason for their education but as a by-product of it.
Peter Anthony Gales is a speaker, consultant and trainer who helps businesses realise human potential in the workplace. www.PeterAnthonyGales.com