Money vs people might be the single biggest debate I’ve come across in my work.
I’ll confess that I don’t get it. Money has little to do with numbers and everything to do with energy. Those who move money are more like lightening rods than accountants. And humans run on energy, too. It’s easy to forget, but electricity animates us.
Money, otherwise known as currency, is a human invention. Its denomination changes region by region and decade to decade, not only in terms of “worth,” but in terms of what it can and can’t stimulate. Currency, after all, is about flowing from one to another.
Some places currency it’s aspirational, the proverbial carrot. Some places currency is just a Point A to Point B transaction tool. Other places currency is a weapon, used to wield power and stimulate hierarchy. Other places currency is an afterthought, like the sand that gets stuck in your swim suit after a day at the beach. You might almost forget that cash is involved if you’re really focused on the experience or opportunity it affords.
Money vs people only makes sense if humans are a drain on or a distraction from your goals. In this line of thinking, businesspeople are expected to have a production-forward ethos, whereas “the people,” are in the way or a distraction from progress.
But people are where your business’ and products’ values come from. Without people, no matter what you produce, it has zero value. Does a tree that fall in the woods make a sound if no one is there to hear it? Does an IPO have meaning without humans reading the Wall Street Journal?
With currency, the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse are value, cost, worth, and profit. All of these are subject to human perception. Money was not only invented by humans, its meaning is entirely at the mercy of humans. Not only are humans not in opposition to money, we function as money pollinators.