Go to Chapter 15                           Midas Jones Home Page                        Go to Chapter 17

On This Page:

Money: The most magical substance in the human universe. Nothing makes trouble go away like money. Nothing can change remorse to joy like money. Nothing attracts friends and lovers like money. Nothing will affect your life like the money in your life.

Dinero Diseases: Do you have one of the many undiscovered and undiagnosed money diseases? Check the list of symptoms below.

 

$$$$ - Money - $$$$

Money, wonderful money. Money, glorious money. Let us sing in praise of money. Bread, cabbage, cash, chink, chips, clams, coin, coin of the realm, coupons, currency, dinero, do-re-mi, dough, filthy lucre, greenbacks, jack, kale, legal tender, lettuce, long green, loot, lucre, mazuma, mazulah, moolah, pesos, plunder, rupees, scratch, shekels, smackers, sugar, swag, treasure, wampum. By any name, money circulates through every part of your life like blood circulates through every part of your body.

 

As far as money is concerned, most human beings live from month-to-month or, less fortunately, from day-to-day. The kind of money that only remains in your wallet long enough for you to pay your bills - bill money - is not the kind of money that changes your life. Bill money keeps your life from getting worse but it does not make it better.

 

It is surplus money that is the good kind of money. Surplus money is the money that remains in your account after your obligations to your essential creditors and your grocer have been satisfied. Surplus money is the money that you should use to keep yourself out of debt, except for the strategic debts that are part of a personal economic plan. Surplus money is the money that will see you through an unexpected crisis like the bankruptcy of your employer or the illness of a family wage earner. Surplus money buys accountants, doctors, psychiatrists, bodyguards, lawyers, ghost writers, advisors, tutors, and other problem solvers. Surplus money is the kind of money that will solve your problems and advance you toward your goals. Surplus money will also attract lovers, and their love may well be genuine. Some find wealth to be as attractive as a cute butt, a love of pets, a desire to take long walks on the beach, or a hot car. There are others, of course, who love only the money, not the woman who has it.

 

Unless you are currently wealthy, you need to be building a pile of surplus cash for the unknown demands of the future. The way to increase your supply of surplus money is to spend less than you earn. (This is not rocket science.) If you are spending less than you earn, then you are handling your money well. Try to earn even more and spend even less until you possess a comfortable bundle of swag. If you are spending more than you earn, then your life is out of control.

 

The surplus income of your Domain is the fuel that will protect you and advance you toward your goals. The golden rule of money is this:

 

Any resource that is not carefully tracked will be squandered.

 

This means that someone, probably you, will have to do the tracking. This is difficult for most of us. We love to be generous to those we love. We want others to be aware of our successes so they will admire and envy us. We wish to display our high social status for others to see and envy. In a consumer society, we can do all of this by decorating our homes with expensive doo-dads and our bodies with expensive textiles, minerals, leather, and metals. Some of us try to reduce our own insecurities by covering them up with expensive clothing and jewelry.

Some of the most brilliant men and women in our society design the marketing campaigns that stimulate our envy, our insecurities, our desire, and our vanity. They then convince us that their expensive junk will satisfy the emotional needs they created in us. They have transformed us into a population of consumer junkies, forever lusting after another fix of fad, fashion, gadgets, and clutter. When it comes to money, many of us are out of control, squandering resources on products that improve our lives very little, if at all. We shop for recreation. A trip to the mall is considered entertainment by many. People read catalogs instead of novels or magazines for pleasure. When we get unexpected money, we start fantasizing about which product we should purchase with it.

 

In your Domain, you must establish firm control over the expenditure of money and other exhaustible resources. This is because the others in your Domain will spend your cash and squander your possessions without regard to the value that is gained. They will go through your resources like tomorrow will never come.

 

Consider the diamond, a precious stone. In terms of weight, brilliance, hardness, clarity, fire, and cut, a cubic zirconium has about as much value as a diamond. It is only in price that they differ. The real differences between the two stones are detectable only by a jeweler or a scientist. So why would anyone pay more for a diamond if it has no practical superiority over a cubic zirconium?

 

 

Dinero Diseases

 

There are many mental diseases associated with money. They have never been discovered by medical science because so many doctors and psychiatrists have them and assume them to be normal.

 

Miserliness - An unwillingness to spend money when it is in your interest to do so. Skinflints are afraid to spend for fear that the money spent can never be replaced. The carry light bulbs from room to room, and save aluminum foil. Shoppers crush each other in their desperation to purchase a coveted item.Money is to be used to advance you toward your goals, not hoarded.

 

Monetary Obesity - Wealthy individuals who have more money than they can ever spend continue to frantically pursue more money for no obvious economic reason. They are like 800 pound men who wolf down three giant cheeseburgers for lunch - sick. The fact that our society admires such individuals is no reason to believe that there is any basis for such admiration.

 

Economic Zombies gather around malls on sales days like zombies in the campy horror flicks who gather around the houses of living people so as to eat their brains. When the mall doors open, they rush in crushing each other and trampling each other in a stampede. Why are they trampling their fellow shoppers underfoot? So they can buy something that will be out of fashion and worthless a year later.

 

Marketing Simpletons believe what they read and hear from marketing firms, who are hired by the manufacturers of consumer goods. They believe that social status is packaged with the product. They follow fads and trends as if they were real things. They believe that you get what you pay for. They believe that products endorsed by a celebrity are more desirable. They believe that last year’s cute clothes are now undesirable. They walk around the mall, looking for something to want. They purchase for the pleasure of the shopping experience, as if a store is a carnival or an amusement park. That these behaviors do not seem strange to us demonstrates how strange we’ve become as a result of the thoughts that marketing campaigns have implanted in our minds.

 

Fad Fetishism - Many people have a bizarre obsession with the “latest” or “current” fashion. Whether lingerie, cell phones, or automobiles, manufacturers have learned to make meaningless or cosmetic changes in the color or cut of their product to make it again “new” and the product they were hyping last year to become “old”. The primary symptom of this disease is the discarding of usable but “unfashionable” products and replacing them with similar products. A secondary symptom is the wearing of “fashionable” clothing that may well make one look less attractive than did last year’s “fashionable” clothing. The powerful desire to discard usable products so that one many own more recently manufactured products is an epidemic in our culture.

 

 

value

 

People buy diamonds because of the thoughts and attitudes planted in their minds by advertising. It is this attitude rather than any quality in the stone that tells them that a diamond is a highly desirable thing. There is nothing about the diamond that makes it prettier or more comfortable to wear than a zirconium. In fact, your jeweler could have switched your expensive diamond for a zirconium or a cheap diamond (this is frequently done) the last time you had your jewelry cleaned, and you would not know the difference unless you later visited an honest jeweler. The only difference between an expensive natural diamond and a less expensive synthetic one is that the synthetic one never has any flaws, while the natural one always does.

If you own a diamond, what is it that you paid for? What value did you get for the extra money that it cost? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The extra dollars you paid for a diamond reimbursed the jeweler for his advertising bill and gave him considerable extra profit. In short, you bought marketing, not product. You paid for expensive sizzle, not the cheap steak. You paid for the ads you read and you paid the jeweler with the cleverest advertising a bonus for his cleverness.

 

I own a seven dollar pocket watch that I bought at Big Lots - a cheap surplus and broken lot store. It keeps time as reliably as a Rolex. I tell my friends that my watch is better than a $10,000 Rolex because I know what time it is and I still have the extra $9,993. One friend told me that the Rolex would last a lifetime and that the cheap watch might last no longer than a year. I pointed out to him that a hundred years worth of cheap watches would still cost only $700. He then reminded me that a Rolex makes you feel good about yourself. I replied that I already feel good about myself and that owning a Rolex would make me feel like a fool for having spent $10,000 when I could have gotten the same thing (a reliable timepiece) for $7. If you were asked to choose a real Rolex from among several excellent counterfeit Rolexes, could you do it? And if you can’t tell a real one from a fake, then what makes the real one better? The answer: marketing.

 

Many businesses sell you a thought in your mind instead of a product. Cheap jeans wear as well as expensive jeans, but expensive jeans make you think you are classy. A cheap MP3 player sounds as good as an expensive iPod, but the iPod makes you feel cooler. A cheap car takes you to work and back as reliably as an expensive car, but while driving the expensive car you can imagine how people are admiring you. A simple cell phone makes calls as reliably as an expensive one. Why do cell phone manufacturers advertise the looks of the phone rather than its logical menu or its reliable connectivity? Because there is no real difference in the performance of the various brands of phones. They are all the same. So, they are selling the phone as a fashion accessory.

 

When you make a purchase, be sure you get material value rather than pretty thoughts or reduced personal insecurity. Products cannot make you a more secure person.

 

This does not mean that the Machiavellian has to be a skinflint. A Machiavellian can be anything he wants to be. It means that you should not be a sucker whose thoughts are little more than marketing campaign implants. And, you can constrain the pointless recreational spending of the more shallow personalities in your Domain.

 

Chapter 16

 

www.MidasJones.com

 

 

Download or read online: Machiavelli’s Prince in English translation by W. K. Rowling

 

Read a brief summary of Machiavelli’s life and works,

written by W. K. Rowling as the Introduction to his translation of The Prince

 

A readable summary of Machiavelli’s Prince can be found at

http://www.princeton.edu/~ferguson/adw/prince.shtml

 

 

 

 

The Modern Prince:

Better Living Through Machiavellianism

 

Click to read a couple of sample chapters.

 

Download Today - $4.95

Order the Book - $14.95

Amazon Kindle - $1.00