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Faith in Focus: Counting cost of money.

Byline: Rev Ian Tutton

HAVE you noticed how money appears to have taken on a life of its own? For most people, money is a means of exchange, used to buy and sell.

Of itself it has no value, it is used to put a value on other things.

If we work we are paid in money according to how much our work is valued, and we use that money to buy things.

How we value something is an issue in itself. Who decides? Especially when it comes to how much someone ought to be paid? We all think we're worth more.

But how do you decide between people qualifications, experience, `added value', contribution to society...the list is endless, and there isn't a right answer.

It's the same with prices; why is one thing more expensive than another - supply and demand, costs to cover, profit margins...again the list goes on, and it's never fair. So it's hard enough dealing with money when it comes to prices and incomes, buying and selling - valuing people and things.

Now we live in an age when we can buy and sell money and make money in the process. We are bombarded with information about stocks and shares, mortgages and annuities, investment portfolios, government bonds, pension plans, interest rates. There's a whole new world of financial services to be explored.

It appears that we can all make money nowadays, not just those who work at the Royal Mint. Many of us have been persuaded to invest our money to make more money.

We've been swept along on a tide of euphoria buoyed up by a marketplace that's always booming. Now boom is turning to bust, Enron and Worldcom are probably the tip of an iceberg; who knows the extent to which companies have hidden the truth from their investors in order to persuade them to invest even more by declaring profits that never existed.

Just how much are those share certificates worth today, how confident can we be in the earning power of savings plans designed to take the worry out of retirement? There is a certain narcotic quality about money, however much you have, you always want more.

Just as society quite rightly condemns those who would destroy lives through the supply of hard drugs - feeding an addiction they themselves have created - so we need to take action against those who would push money.

We are in danger of valuing money at the expense of life. The capitalist community celebrated the fall of communism.

Capitalism needs to learn the lesson of its demise - the seeds of its own destruction were sown from within itself, eventually bursting forth in revolution.

If capitalism is allowed to proceed unchecked along the road of the manipulation of the true value of its assets, then it runs the risk of imploding on itself, a global `south sea' bubble, bankrupting us all.

Somehow or another we need to rediscover how to make money work for us, rather then be conned into believing that we ought to work for money.

We need to invest in those aspects of life, which just because they are what they are, will never lose their value; they can only gain in importance as life moves on. Money of itself isn't `the root of all evil', the love of it is.

CAPTION(S):

HORSING AROUND The carousel horses bask in the light at Barry Island in a rare day of sunshine this summer.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 29, 2002
Words:579
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