The power of money
The power of money
The modern society has accorded absolute power to money as it boasts of making everything in the world to tick. Money is a major source of many of the temptations that have plagued men today. It also acts as a motivator to many people today, as many kingdoms and empires have suffered from decimation and raise due to the lucre lure. Many issues have been raised ethically about mans’ nature in relation with money and there is a general agreement that a lot of potential which is constructive, is applied in its making. It is a clear fact that we all need money to survive in this world and that is why a lot of power is accorded to it.
The Power of Money
In the west, the first empire Athens was successfully built due to the availability of money. During the 5th century B.C, the navy growth in Athens was fueled by money and this made it the most powerful empire in the Aegean. Most of the silver coins that were used as monetary exchange were made from silver which was locally mined. When the Greeks defeated the army from Persia, a lot of emphasis was put on increasing the military strength to protect the kingdom from invaders. They build large war ships with the revenue generated from the silver mines. Before the Persian war, no wealth had been used in waging wars against enemies, but after winning, the Greeks spent a lot of money in strengthening their army. The rest of the wealth was used in building monuments that were so huge and temples for the several Greek gods. The Athenian power grew tremendously during the 5th century and yielded a lot of influence due to the availability of money from the mines. Later on, Sparta waged war against the Athenian empire and won due to the financial help it got from Persia. It is clear that the ancient kingdoms acquired power due to their monetary might and defeat was as a result of its scarcity (Kuttner, 2001).
In a democracy, there is a perception that both the rich and the poor are equal but this is just an empty statement. Moreover, money has the ability to crowd democracy as it known to influence everything in the society. A person who is rich can buy a superb car, house, have his kids attend good schools, eat better foods and be accorded courtesy in services. Most of all, he can purchase more influence politically and justice. This is a paradox that has a lot of profound effect on the radical idea of democracy. All the fronts of democracy are under the threat of the resurgent power generated by money (Kuttner, 2001).
During the political campaigns of any election in most countries in the world, billions of dollars are poured into guaranteeing that candidates wield more power than their opponents. A lot of money is spent in media as several candidates try to outdo each other in debates. Bill boards are put up throughout the country and t- shirts, banners and caps are given freely to the supporters of a certain candidate. The rich individuals and corporations will come out in droves to financially support a specific candidate in order to gain power over their competitors if their candidate emerges the winner.
The power of money has penetrated most industries that are supposed to be guarded by morals. The pharmaceutical industry is making billions of dollars in selling drugs at exorbitant prices to people who have no health insurance. Doctors also charge high fees for proper treatment something that has restricted proper health care to be afforded by the rich. America, which has the strongest economy in the world, can easily invade any country without the veto powers of the UN as evidenced in the attack of Iraq during the Bush administration. America has been involved in many wars where billions of dollars have been spent in winning or loosing the war (Kuttner, 2001). The reason why America is viewed as a super power is because it has the richest economy in the world, something that it has used to gain a lot of power. The collapse of the USSR in the early 90s was attributed to the economic hardships that the Soviet Union was going through due to the large amounts of money it had spent in the cold war era with USA. The disintegration of USSR is a clear indication that without money, one cannot hold onto to power as it will be relinquished by those with monetary might.
The recent financial recess that is being felt in the world is a result of money. The crunch was started by greedy banks which made huge investments in the mortgage markets with an aim of making outrageous, quick profits. Unfortunately, there was a bust in the house market as the prices fell and people started defaulting in payment of monthly premiums. Liquidation became a problem and massive layoffs became the order of the day. All the economies in the world have been affected by this recess and it shows that we are all held ransom by money. The recess, which as a result of money scarcity, has halted, and slowed down developments in all the countries in the world, showing the power that money has over humanity.
The Power of Money Based On Maltese Falcon Movie
This movie is based on a Maltese falcon, which is a gold statue of good size completely painted in black and was seized by pirates en route to Spain to be presented to Charles V. This piece of token which is priceless is what most characters are trying to get their hands on as it is made out of rare jewels. Sam Spade and Miles Archer, who are both private detectives in San Francisco, are approached by Ruth Wonderly who wants them to find her lost sister Corrine, who had been seduced by Floyd Thursby. She claims that Thursby is dangerous although she planned to meet him that night. The two detectives agree to take up the case, but later on during the night, Miles is shot by unknown gun man (Horsley, 2000).
Polhaus who is a police sergeant and a lieutenant known as Dundy inform Spade about the death of his partner and demands he tells them the name of the client they were investigating. Iva is Archer’s wife, who Spade was having an affair with. The next morning Dundy and Polahus inform Spade that Thursby had been murdered and when he tries to call Miss. Wonderly, he finds out that she had left the hotel and did not leave any forwarding address. Later on, she calls Spade and tells him she had moved to Coronet apartments which were within California. When Spade goes to meet her, she confesses that the story she had told them earlier on was a lie and her real name was Brigid (Horsley, 2000).
Spade is not shocked as he knew she was lying and tells her that they took up the case due to the two hundred dollar fee she offered. However, Spade assures Miss Wonderly that he did not tell the cops anything about her. She begs for help from him and in return, he asks for more money from her. He is given 500 dollars by her and he asks if she could pawn the jewelry she had. He leaves after taking the key to her apartment and assuring her he would be back.
On returning to his office he finds a man who name is Joel Cairo waiting for him. This guy offers condolences for the death of miles and confesses that he was looking for a black bird statue. He offers Spade a fee of 5,000 dollars if he recovers it. Cairo who points a gun at Spade tries to search the office as he thinks the statue is there. Spade manages to overpower Cairo who offers 100 dollars as a retainer. He is however insistent that it has to be raised to 200 dollars, as he had no idea about the location of the statue (Horsley, 2000). They have a mutual agreement which Spade takes up easily without thinking about the murder of his partner whose death resulted from the hunt of this precious statue. Spade is only interested in the money that he will get from the deal and does not show interest in finding out who was behind the murder of his partner.
As Spade goes to visit Brigid at her apartment he notices that he is being followed. He tells her about the offer that he got from Cairo, but she insists she could offer him more. He makes a declaration that she had to offer him money so that he could proceed with the recovery. It is clear that Spade is offering his services to the highest bidder and making deals with everyone who offered him more money. Later on, the three of them meet in Cairo’s apartment and brigid admits that she would get the statue from where Thursby hid it and sell it. Cairo is curious if she was willing to sell the statue to him, but when she mentions a certain fat man, a scuffle ensures (Horsley, 2000). Spade not only stops the fight between the two but also manages to get rid of the cops who had come knocking at the door.
Spade who is now curious about the value of the statue interrogates Brigid who tells him everything. She states clearly that a fee of 500 pounds had been offered to her for her theft of the statue from Turkey and both Thursby and Cairo were her accomplices. When Brigid and Thursby learnt that Cairo had a plan to trick them, they double crossed him. Brigid learnt later on that Thursby was no better as he planned to trick her too. Spade pretends to be amused by Brigid intelligence and spends the night with her (Horsley, 2000).
The next day when he goes to see Cairo, he tells him that he had to spend the night with Brigid to find out about the location of the statue. It is clear that Spade is double crossing both his clients while he gets money from them. Gutman, who is the boss of the whole operation, later phones Spade, and arranges a meeting, where he tells him about the history of the black bird. It was given to the emperor by the knights after granting them the island of Malta. Gutman confesses to have searched for the statue for 17 years and located it in Istanbul where his offer to buy it was sabotaged. Spade is offered a fee of 25,000 dollars by Gutman if he found it and an additional amount once it was sold. He greedily accepted the deal since it was the highest bid he had gotten (Horsley, 2000).
This was a ploy since Spade passes out after being drugged by Gutman. He wakes up and is lucky to find a newspaper where a ship from Hong Kong arriving on that day is circled. When he rushes to the dock, he finds the ship on fire and dejectedly makes his way to the office. The ships captain delivers the statue to his office shortly before his death and Spade mails it to himself. Brigid is used to lure him with a distress call where he finds the whole gang waiting for him in his apartment. Spade demands that Gutman gives him the 25000 dollars installment before he hands over the statue, but he only gets 10,000 dollars. Spade further suggests that Wilmer, who was Gutman’s body guard, should be the fall guy for all the murders that were committed. A disagreement arises but a unanimous decision is reached that Wilmer would be the fall guy. His position as a body guard made this money hungry gang to reach this decision, as he was supposed to do the dirty work while they leapt the benefits (Horsley, 2000).
When Spade unveils the statue in front of everyone in his office the next day, it turns out to be a fake something that enrages everyone. Gutman manages to cool down the gang and urges them to continue looking for the real falcon statue. He also declares that Wilmer would not be sacrificed as the fall guy and draws a gun demanding the 10, 000 dollars back from Spade who takes $1000 for all the work he did. Gutman, Cairo and Wilmer leave the office but Spade calls the police who round them up. He intensively grills Brigid who confesses having killed his partner Archer. Brigid declares her undying love for Spade hoping he would not hand her over to the police. Eventually, Spade turns her in by declaring that he had to do something about the murder of his partner. This is so insincere since he was having an affair with his partner’s wife and at no particular time had he been interested in finding his killers (Horsley, 2000).
This story is a clear indication of the power wielded by money as everyone is a double crosser caring only about the monetary gains. Spade is a dishonest detective who makes deals with the client who offers him more money. He sleeps with Brigid in a bid to find out where she had hidden the statue. Later on, he meets with Cairo and Gutman and takes their money promising to discover the statue. At the end of the movie, he suggests that Wilmer should be the fall guy to get the police who had been trailing him off his back. When it turns out that the statue delivered to his office is a fake, he calls the police to arrest the gang which had offered him money and this is a total betrayal. The gang was no different from Spade as they kept betraying each other with a dream of individually keeping the priceless falcon.
This led to the murder of Thursby and retrieval of a fake falcon. The individual greed by each character culminated to the loss that is experienced at the end of the movie. Spade is pretentious in handing over Brigid to the police as he did not care about his partner’s death. He was after all having an affair with his wife and it was clear throughout the movie that the gang he was readily making deals with and raking money from was responsible for his partner’s death. His last resort of handing over the gang to the cops is seen to have culminated from the discovery that the statue was fake a not out of good intentions. The above reviews shows that money has a lot of power and can drive human beings to betray those that are close to them.
Horsley, C. (2000). Film classic: the Maltese Falcon. Retrieved on May 11, 2009 from http://www.thecityreview.com/maltese.html
Kuttner, R. (2001). The power of money: Boston Globe published on 18th 2001. Retrieved on May 11, 2009 fromhttp://www.commondreams.org/views01/0218-09.htm