Cultural Studies Paper on Impact of Money and Power

The hegemony of money and power is perhaps the most influential in every human relations. The influence that comes with this hegemony is especially interesting given its determining ability in not only everyday economic life, but also the social standing of one in the society. Both money and power remain influential aspects in everyday life, to an extent that they change the behavior of the individual in possession of either of the two or both. The drive to have money and power have, however, been seen to cause great impact to the people pursuing the two and society. For a majority, acquisition of money (excessive in this case) is the source a lot of evil in society today, where aside from the need to amass and use the money (consumerism) many are willing to “sell their souls to the devil” in their pursuit of money and power, all of which have a negative impact on society.

Current nature of the world is such that many attach monetary value to everything they do. The constant attachment of monetary value, thank to the proliferation of the idea of monetary worth has had a negative impact on social relations and how people view one another. Research indicates that people continually find life satisfaction in having money and spending it than they would through socialization (Harnish et al. 189).  The most affected group according to the research are young adults, who through the consumption from the media in celebrity lifestyle, see money as the penultimate source of life satisfaction, whose absence therefore means failure of the individual within the society.

Aside from its impact on life satisfaction, money also has a great impact on the social wellbeing and the business value individuals place on time and effort. While the idea of working together and helping each other out formed the building blocks of societal interactions, introduction of money (and the need to amass as much as one can) has changed this very fabric of the society. Efforts no longer matter as much as they did due to the placement of monetary value on time and effort. People are more likely to put much effort into actions when they feel they get the value (monetary) for the effort and time used in performing the activity. Measured against monetary reward, people’s actions are therefore more reliant on the incentive at the end of their actions than on the general good that such actions may have on society. Today therefore, people at workplaces deliberately underperform on feeling that they do not get the worth of their time and effort in the rewards/benefits they get as salaries or wages.

Self-sufficiency, self-view and ethics are all impacted by money. With more people focusing on money, it is evident that a focus on money pushes people to higher levels of self-sufficiency, mostly bordering on selfishness. The idea of self-sufficiency and focus on money particularly impacts on self-view, showing the differences in viewpoints of the poor and the rich.  The rich essentially believe that their wealth is part of their genetic make up and identity; that they are entitled to the wealth, the entitlement largely based on personal circumstances and actions (Michael and Dacher 247). Moreover, the rich believe in the fairness of life, with everyone getting what one deserves; a contrast with the feelings of the poor who feel life is not fair, and that class has no relations to genes but rather anyone can be either rich or poor (Michael and Dacher 247). The “monied” sense of entitlement, the view of their superiority in genes, and self-sufficiency hugely impacts their behavior, increasing their propensity to engage in unethical behavior. Often, the rich cut off vehicles at stop signs, cheat in games, take more than they need (even when their actions could mean others missing out), and break rules. At the minimum, such individuals work to get the maximum in interest for themselves without the care of how their actions impact others.

Money’s impact transcends ethics and attitudes to provision of everyday services. Possession of money means access to world-class healthcare, hospitality, education, security, and transportation. Preventive and alternative treatments as well as access to facilities absent in one’s location is possible when one is rich and can afford such luxuries. Such privileges are inaccessible to the poor, who cannot afford the cost of such luxuries.

Of equitable impact on human relations and perception is power. Yang et al. argue that power gives people the ability to control outcomes within their environment and within themselves. The lack of power, the author argue, disrupts an individual’s sense of humanity. Possessing power therefore impacts both the individual with power and the one without power. Lack of power for an individual creates link with dehumanization, a process in which refers to the failure in attributing feelings of mind to humans (Yang et al. n.p.). Power especially leads to dehumanization of the powerless, as most of them view themselves as less human in comparison to those in positions of higher power. Moreover, the lack of power/people with low power believe that those in power see them as less human, a fact that impacts on their emotions and self-confidence (Yang et al. n.p.). Such people are less assertive, easily allowing those in power to do as they please, knowing there would be minimal, if any, repercussions to their actions.

The ability to control and have influence over others for those in power makes them particularly reluctant towards leaving the positions of power. Often, those in power put effort in ensuring that they remain in power, sometimes at the cost of the powerless. Most of those in power use their influence to gain more power, while at the same time suppressing and dissenting voices. Within vertical individualistic cultures, therefore, those in power see power in personalized terms; as tool for gaining status and recognition (Torelli and Shavitt 959). For individuals in vertical cultural setups therefore, power becomes a tool for propagating stereotypes, protecting the elite, and guarding against additional membership into the exclusive elitist club.

The impact of power, is however, never exclusively selfish, particularly in horizontal collectivist societies. In these societies, power is a tool enriched with resources for the benefit of society and for helping others (Torelli and Shavitt 959). Such societies and individuals see power as a mean of engaging society and bringing cohesion. Transition here is smooth and there is a lot of inclusion. The idea is that power is for the good of the society, where individuals in positions of power do not have a sense of entitled, rather an inclining towards service.



Works cited

Harnish, Richard, J. et al. “The impact of money attitudes and global life satisfaction on the maladaptive pursuit of consumption.” Psychology & Marketing, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 189-196

Michael, Kraus and Dacher, Keltner. “Social class rank, essentialism, and punitive judgment.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 105, no. 2, pp. 247-261

Torelli. Carlos, J and Shavitt, Sharon. “The impact of power on information processing depends on cultural orientation.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 47, no. 5, pp. 959-957

Yang, Wengi et al. “The Impact of Power on Humanity: Self-Dehumanization in Powerlessness.” PloS One, vol. 10, no. 5, pp. e0125721.