Two-bit Guru | Money & Equality | Photo of a roll of dollar bills.

Today I’m thinking about money and inequality. Since the material choices of life without money aren’t very attractive, most of us would like to have more, preferably lots more. But if everyone had lots more we’d still all be in the same boat, except everything would cost more, including the boat.

To be better off than your neighbor means that there will be inequity between what you have compared to what the Jones’s have. That’s what better off means. Maybe you worked harder, or married well, or were luckier, or smarter, or were born into the right family, or won the lottery. Human beings that we are, if we come up on the better-off side we usually believe we deserve it. And this camp often believes that the worse-off deserve their station, too.

The other side of the coin (a pun-tentional) is the belief that everyone deserves to have as much as everyone else, no matter what. The people who are ahead in the material game don’t like this idea at all, and the people who can’t find a job undoubtedly feel that it’s not their fault that there is no work to be had, or very little of it, or that all the work available is not rewarding or fulfilling.

Among the winners in the materialistic game there’s them that ruthlessly amass everything they can for themselves in any way they can, immorally, unethically, illegally, or legally but in a mean sort of way. Among those on the short end of the stick are folks who are eager to grab anything they can because they are incapable of taking responsibility and believe that they deserve not only a free lunch but a free ride right on up to the end where they get a free funeral.

This mish-mash of humanity is what we’ve got to work with. Life isn’t slick like stainless steel and laminate countertops, or always sweet like lollipops and chocolate. It’s complex, more like the ocean or the soil or the convoluted entity known as your significant other’s mind.

The traditional approach to solving problems of opportunity and equality, or inequality, is that both sides fight it out, either with words or with weapons. One side wins. One side loses. this is how the human population has dealt with these issues in the past. Not much of a problem-solving method, is it?

Considering everything that’s amiss in the world today, I’m pretty sure that going forward, choosing up sides to fight isn’t going to work to the benefit of ourselves or the planet.

What we need to do is adjust our “principles” to house more than the methods that we have used up until now. To include the entire family of human beings in our calculations, however that might work out. Difficult? Very. Necessary? Yes. I believe our future depends on it.