Money, it’s why we go to work. It’s a thing we all hope to possess in abundance. It’s the cause of wars and the solution to them. Created to eliminate the problems generated by the barter system that humanity previously used, it seemed like the perfect solution. But is this solution now causing more problems in human society than it fixed? And, if so, what is the solution and would man be willing as a whole to enact these solutions?

Why Was Money Created?

It is best for us to start by identifying the problem that money was invented as a solution too first. You see, tens of thousands of years ago when humans stopped roaming as hunter/gatherers and setting up permanent dwellings, the way people got things they did not have was through trade. So, people started specializing in doing certain things. You had fishers, hunters, farmers, masons, builders, herders, loggers, and much more. Now, let’s say you were a fisher and had a bunch of fish that you wanted to trade for, say, firewood. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem except that the guy with the firewood just traded to another fisher and didn’t need anymore fish. Unless there was another logger close you you that needed fish, you were out of luck unless you traveled to another village (possibly hundreds of miles away) hoping that they had a logger and that the logger needed fish. The problem with this setup is quite easy to see and humans, being the smart little critters that we are decided we needed a solution.

The principle of value had already been established. A herder wasn’t going to trade a cow that could give milk every day for a bundle of wood that would only burn for a couple of nights. And so humans simply started assigning value to completely invaluable items. Pebbles, shells, and the like eventually evolved into copper, silver, gold, etc. It seemed like the perfect fit. These worthless items that humans had given a value could be used to buy almost anything.

And That’s When The Problems Began

It didn’t take humans long to realize that the more money you had, the better off you were. With enough money you could get, do, or be almost anything you wanted. So people started storing it, amassing huge quantities of it so they could do just that. But then, some of the people that had gathered huge sums of money realized how easy it was, that anybody could do it, and this did not sit well with them. If they had gathered enough money to become kings and queens, how could they get the respect befitting a king or queen if anyone could do it. So money became regulated, and remains so til this day, in such a manner that it is very difficult for the “average person” to get ahead.

Don’t believe us? Take a large corporation, say McDonald’s, and look at their annual income ($27.57 billion for McDonald’s in 2012). Yet, the average salary for a McDonald’s employee is below $30,000. Yet, the average McDonald’s CEO brings home $8.75 million per year. Could McDonald’s afford to pay a premium wage? Of course, but they prey upon the less fortunate to do their dirty work for them. But it’s not only McDonald’s. There are tones of huge corporations that display huge pay gaps between the working man and the suits in the office.

Obviously, this willingness of corporations and even individuals to take advantage of others creates poverty throughout the world. But poverty leads to a whole Pandora’s Box of problems. In part two of this post, coming tomorrow, we will examine them. Until then, weigh in. Could and should large corporations pay their employees more?