(noun, etymology Dutch from ‘boedel’: estate, possession, inheritance, stock.). 1. Crowd, pack, lot, as in ‘the whole boodle.’ 2. a. Counterfeit money b. Money acquired or spent illegally or improperly, particularly when used in bribery for political purposes. 3. Slang for money in general.

Meaning Money

Posted on: Feb. 1, 2011  |  By: Ronnie Kahn  |  Category: Boodle-cise, General




Here is a twisted syllogism:

Money is social

Reality is a social construction

Therefore, money is reality.


Huh?  Money is just a form of exchange.  I know how much I have in my wallet and can read what it says on my bank statement.  I know what my assets and liabilities are so I must know my net worth as well.  That is pretty clear.   What does that have to do with social?


Are you rich or poor?


Neither.  I am in the middle.


How much do you have to show on that bank statement or net worth of yours to be rich?


Helluva lot more than I have now.


Well, you brought up the ‘money is just numbers stuff.’  So give me a number.


Oh all right, if you insist, in this day and age I would say five million dollars.


So if you have 4,999,999 you’re in the middle, right?


Oh, I see what your doing.  But it doesn’t work that way.   You don’t just add one dollar more and, poof, your rich.


So what you are saying is the definition of rich and poor is not a number thing, it is a social label.


You did all this just to prove that point.


(Cue Warner Bros. Cartoon Music)

That’s all, folks.


Money may seem like just dollars and cents and why you have to go to work but it is much more than that.  It may make life easier to see the world in black-and-white such as rich or poor or powerful and weak.  They are really just two sides of the same coin (pun intended).  Money, in its social form is not black-and-white though.  It’s not just an exchange to buy food, products, and services either.  Money is motivation, willpower, action, energy, transcendence, cheating, trust, image, substance, and about anything else of worth and value that you call that green boodle of reality.

So what if that currency was transformed out of the market realm of products and bank statements to all the other social constructions that go with it.   What if fifteen cents of your dollar went to the currency column but all the rest went into the meaning column.  You aren’t just making a paycheck, you are making meaning.  So how about working on making yourself rich?

Here’s how.  It is no secret that money and happiness are not linked.  You can be wealthy and content or you can just as easily be loaded with money and Prozac at the same time.  It’s also important to note that while persons find it easy to rationalize taking such things as office supplies from work they tend not to steal cold hard cash.  Lastly, if I paid you to be a good parent or offered you a gift for being nice, you would be highly insulted.  Consider also, that being a good parent helps your child to appreciate such things as helping others which in turn makes for better economic outcomes.  Building trust and being honest lowers costs as well as also making for better economic outcomes, and so on.  Our minds want us to think that there is a market side to things and a separate social side to things yet each one interrelates and makes up the other.

As more and more individuals of the world attain the ability to put food on the table and avoid political oppression, meaning can spring out.  So let us use currency for not just buying things but for meaning.  Each part of the meaning column can go for such things as honesty, building trust, helping others etc.  Keep an extra account for all that makes money give meaning to your life.  While you may not want to pay yourself for being a caring person or parent, those things have hidden economic relationships besides providing meaning.  Returning the wrong change you received at the store may help someone keep their job or keep a hard working merchant afloat a little longer.   Helping two persons having a disagreement to respect each others points of view may lead to one of those persons being more generous toward someone else.

Money connects us all in ways that go beyond profits, market shares, and hot new phone apps.  There is an honesty currency, a trust currency, a service currency, and even a spiritual currency.  We fail to recognize the unseen forces of money for being cooperative and not just competitive, for building a trust that allows progress, and for attaching itself to meaning and purpose.

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