I’ve just come back from an exhibit at the National Bank of Serbia today, where I lifted some bars (well, pretend ones!) of gold, and other precious metals.
It’s one in a long line of money museums I’ve visited over the past year. Recently, at the Bank of Lithuania money museum, I actually got to weigh myself in gold.
When I started this blog a year ago, I used the ‘About me‘ page to tell the story of my childhood dreams of a money tree. How I planted my pocket money in the hopes that it would sprout into an everlasting supply of wealth.
Because the truth is, there is such a thing as a money tree.
‘Invest in me, and God will invest in you’. This is how Tanya Levin characterises the message of those who preach ‘prosperity gospel’, one of a number of closely related teachings also known as abundant life or seed faith. ‘Refuse, and you only have yourself to blame’.
Prosperity gospel or theology is defined as ‘a religious belief among some Christians who hold that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth’. Although Enrichmentality is not a religious blog, prosperity gospel lies at the intersection of the two topics this site deals with: language (‘positive speech’) and money (‘donations’). The lessons from this example are far reaching.
Yes, and no. Now we know what it means to be poor, we can talk about what it would take to end poverty.
You may remember that ‘absolute’ poverty is defined ‘in terms of the minimal requirements necessary to afford minimal standards of food, clothing, health care and shelter’. Meanwhile, ‘relative’ poverty is defined ‘relative to others in a country; for example, below 60% of the median income of people in that country.’
One of these can be eradicated, but the other is a different story…
One of the things Japan is famous for is its fancy toilets. There are ‘washlets’ that wash and dry your nether regions for you, heated toilet seats (take it from me – you should not use these after coming inside from below freezing temperatures like I did once after skiing – you’ll feel like you’ve seared your rump off), and even the delightfully named 音姫 (‘Sound Princess’) which makes a noise to cover up any audible productions of your own in public restrooms.
As it turns out, these ‘super toilets’ may just be the perfect example of the kinds of financial compromises we are willing – and not so willing – to make when it comes to personal comfort.
There is a Russian proverb that ‘Only mousetraps have free cheese’ (бесплатный сыр бывает только в мышеловке.) It’s reminiscent of the English saying (though slightly more brutal) ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’.
As I sit here digesting one such ‘free lunch’, I must admit, I do feel somewhat like a trapped mouse.
The relationship between time and money is complex. We talk about ‘saving’ and ‘spending’ both money and time. It’s very tempting to say to ourselves that we could get everything we needed to done if only we had a great expanse of uninterrupted time.
‘I could organise my finances if only I could have one afternoon a week spare, or a whole day to set aside to do my taxes!’
‘I could write that novel if I were rich enough to be holed up in an hotel for a year!’
‘I could learn French if I could live in France for six months!’
What is much harder to see is the amount of time we could be spending, each and every day, on these bigger goals we’d like to achieve.