As outlined in my previous post, I recently had the opportunity to attend (and give a presentation at) the Money Talks? Conference held in Budapest. Not only is the name of the conference a pun, but it’s posed as a question. Does money talk?
From ‘time is money‘ to ‘tightening our belts‘, we’ve examined quite a few money related expressions and metaphors on Enrichmentality. But does such language have any real power over how we think – and act?
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.
When it comes to spending, it’s easy to get excited. You don’t have to try hard – advertisers do all the work for you, making the acquisition of shiny new things look and sound fun and appealing.
Spending, however, requires a little more creativity on our part. But even if you manage to get hyped about saving yourself, your family might think you’re a grump if you’re constantly reminding them to switch off the lights and close the doors and buy the cheaper detergent.
So how can you get your family on board with saving? How can you use the same sorts of tricks advertisers do to make spending seem so appealing to convince your family – and perhaps yourself! – that saving is the best course of action?
“‘Money talks’ because money is a metaphor, a transfer, and a bridge. Like words and language, money is a storehouse of communally achieved work, skill and experience… money is a language for translating the work of the farmer into the work of the barber, doctor, engineer, or plumber” (McLuhan, 1964).
There are many metaphors for money. We talk about money and related financial concepts as solids (eroding capital, cutting budgets), liquid (pooling assets, pouring money into an investment, the farce of trickle-down economics), and even gas (inflation). But McLuhan suggests that money itself is a metaphor – for example, for work.