The obvious answer for those of us who are born or have lived long enough in the belly of the beast of capitalism, is of course yes. However, some people would have us believe that money does not matter. That living with austerity to the extent of being content in poverty is closer to piety.
But there is no evidence of this conclusion either through the logic of reason or the guidance of Quran. The Quran teaches us to be powerful not powerless, to be learned not ignorant, to be generous not miserly, to be secure not vulnerable, to be content not miserable. All benefits accruing from money at some level.
Earning money without exploitation or oppressive practices is not to be condemned or frowned upon. Money provides protections and securities in a world where it is spoken as a language of universal understanding and acceptance.
The overwhelming evidence of the influence and importance of money is everywhere for us to see. From the endless fundraisers we do, to build the institutions of faith and service we cherish, to rigorous demands we face for education, housing and health care, there is no dearth of proofs. And that influence, although corrupting from its abuses, is sadly to be seen as well in the marketplace of our political life as well. And if you believe in what the pollsters have to say, we could preserve our marriages against the misfortune of divorces, if we had some extra cash to sweeten the affairs of our wedlocks.
It may not buy happiness, but it does buy comforts. So, to argue against money is to deny the reality of our lives and the teachings of our scripture.
How we use the money we earn is of course the more relevant question to debate. Some may use it for self-indulgent narcissistic pursuits. Some may use it for personal power to gain. And yet some may use it in the service of causes that benefit the other; in meeting the needs of their families, in protecting the environment, in promoting the establishment of a more just and compassionate society.
But it all starts from learning. Without education, either formal that leads to a career for livelihood or informal that teaches us the options for investments, that can make us multiply our wealth, there are no easy ways to achieve financial security. Few among us have the good fortune to be born in riches and even then, without learning, we will squander away our wealth, as time and again we witness for those who hit the lottery.
For a long time we have argued at CBC that without a sound platform of economic security and financial freedom, no community can expect to gain social and political empowerment. Hence, we continue to provide opportunities at CBC to learn from the people who can teach, in the ways to manage money prudently and successfully.
Money management is not such a complex and difficult subject after all that we cannot understand, and without doubt, no one can care as much for our money, as we can. Taking personal responsibility for its management is a sound investment in time, that we all can and should undertake, to reap rich rewards in personal welfare and community strength.