“Love of money”, it is said, “is the root of half the evil in the world; lack of money is the root of the other half.” Both these statements are broadly true. The implications of the first statement are obvious enough the love and lure of wealth generally prompt people to resort to all sorts of malpractices, such as hoarding, black market, deception, miserliness, greed and dishonesty.
Any one who develops this madness for money becomes, like the greedy Jew and the miserly Slot, a devotee, or rather a slave, of the goddess of wealth. He earns and hoards money by every possible means, denying himself and his wife and children a good living in the attempt to save every penny he can lay his hands upon.
Love of money often compels a person to take to evil and antisocial habits, and consequently he is not tolerated or welcomed in decent. Honest society. Such lure also leads people to commit thefts, resort to cheating in office and company accounts, and in tax returns, in business and industry; in fact, deception spreads in every branch of human activity.
Cases have been known of people whose love of money led them to work all the time without rest and thus ruin their health. They spent the rest of their lives trying to regain their lost and ruined health—but all in vain. Thus they lost both the wealth they had earned by laboring ceaselessly, and the health in the process.
It is rightly believed that the power of the purse is a great power; it brings prestige, influence, friends, flatterers and admirers, just as hone; brings flies and comforts and conveniences of life. When pockets a cherished more than hearts and brains, human bodies, justice and dignity? And deterioration of character and of morals sets in, gradually but surely. The love and possession of wealth also bring in their wake callousness and dislike of the weak and lack of sympathy towards the helpless.
The human factor, which is undeniably vital, tends to be ignored. The rid man is generally found coming in the way of progressive movements. Moreover, large quantities of money do not bring high intelligence. Nor do love of money and greed for gold necessarily ensures culture, his standards and good breeding.
In fact, the knack of earning money and hoarding it for the sheer love of it teaches a person many evil things; it debases and dehumanizes him, thus defeating the very purpose of life and of creation. The quest for money does not ensure happiness and contentment; on the contrary almost always leads to discontentment, constant fear that the hoards money might be lost or stolen; it is the cause of sleepless nights, of illusions and psychological suffering, of cruelty to fellow human beings and a gross distortion of human values, apart, of course, from glaring and heart- breaking economic imbalances which by themselves are a cause of more evil.
The second statement that lack of money is the root of the other half is also true, though saints and philosophers have often said that love money brings in its train more evil than the lack of it. When there is: enough money and there is stark poverty and destitution, people star and starvation prompts them to resort to every conceivable method to some money anyhow from anywhere, regardless of the violations of la and of the principles of morality.
Poor people sometimes commit suicide; kill their children and act in sheer disgust. They commit thefts robberies because of the deep-rooted frustration that the lack of money creates. Many thieves confess in court that it was sheer poverty and deprivation that compelled them to commit a theft or rob a rich person.
Whenever there is misdistribution of wealth, and of the good things of life, there is jealousy and despair in the deprived section of human. And misdistribution of wealth is to be found everywhere; it is only in an ideal society that everyone has the same and equal share of the ma and wealth earned by a country. In the absence of economic equality it is no wonder that crime and criminals flourish.
Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in his famous book “Discovery of India”: “There was poverty and the innumerable progeny of poverty everywhere, and the mark of this beast was on every forehead. Life had been crushed and distorted and made into a thing of evil, and many vices had flown from this distortion and continuous lack and ever-present insecurity. That was the basic reality in India.”
The sight of half-naked, starving children should move every soul, but it does not; rather, when the sight is common, people tend to become indifferent to all the misery and poverty that stares countless people in the face day after day and ruins their lives beyond measure and beyond redemption.
So the conclusion is, in the words of Goldsmith, “I’ll fares the land to hastening ills a prey, where wealth accumulates, men decay.” But such decay also seems inevitable where there is utter, soul-killing poverty.