Lack of Money is The Root of All Evil

December 5, 2011

Political Theory


We all seem to know the value of money, but it’s not everyday that we take the time to sit down and really think about the influence that money has on society. When we think of the power that money possesses, we think about how the more we have of it, the more luxuries we have or can afford. We often get caught up in relating this luxury to material items. We don’t think about lifestyle. We don’t articulate how money controls someone’s entire life. It’s much too hard to actually grasp the idea that a 3 by 7 inch piece of thin, special paper has the power and influence to start a war, bring about economic depression, and tear apart families. People work their asses off day in and day out, missing out on important family events and emotional life opportunities, not because they necessarily have a real passion for what they are doing, but because they need money to support their lifestyle and to gain credibility.

While this concept may be hard for us to grasp because we still have yet to really experience the harsh reality of money, there actually have been instances in which the power of money has directly effected us. For example, the number of out-of-state student being admitted into universities aren’t skyrocketing for no apparent reason. The increase in out-of-state student admissions  is a direct result of the exorbitant tuition they pay. While admission officers dress-up their reasons for recruiting out-of-staters by claiming diversity is important, the truth is university officials privately acknowledge the integral role that out-of-state tuition plays in the long run. When out-of-staters pay double, if not more, than an instate tuition student it should come as no surprise as to why universities have strategized towards choosing more out-of-state students, especially given the current economic downturn. In theory, this new admissions tactic can be sen as strategic because it readily creates bigger profit, but it has harsh consequences on both in-staters and out-of-staters.

ImageBased on past statistics, in-state residents expect to be accepted into their state school. So, they are frustrated when they receive the same scores and grades  as out of state applicants, but can’t get in. As a result, in-staters are thus forced to pay an expensive price to go either out of state or attend a private school in order to receive the same level of education. For non-residents, though their chances of getting into an out of state school has increased, they have to spend a lot of money to receive the same quality of education that a resident would have access to.

This brings up an important question in relation to what we have learned in class in regards to fairness. Is it fair for the college admissions boards to accept more out-of-state students because it helps to improve revenue for the state itself in order to improve the school’s economy? Does this reason even justify such actions? And is this a form of inequality? From our lecture on Justice as Fairness (11/17/11), the distributive institutions state that social and economic inequalities be attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity and the difference principle.

With the help of these two institutions I was able to form my own opinions on this controversy.To me, fair equality of opportunity in this case means that each person deserves the same chance to get into a public university despite residential boundaries. So, even though university admissions take grades, essays, and extracurricular activities into account when accepting students, the fact that they have the fiscal budget in the back of their mind when making decisions provides a bias within the system. Also, the difference principle states that social and economic inequalities are to be the greatest benefit of the least advantaged members of society. In this situation this is not case, as residential students are placed at a  lower economic status than non-residents. It is instead that non-residents are at an advantage because they provide the university with greater economic benefit. Therefore, with the goal of generating revenue in mind, admission offices see this as a perfect way to better the budget. Though I suppose this idea is justified for it allows the university to reach its budget goals, it goes against the idea of fairness, which internally can cause those in-staters’ morales to go down when they denied admissions.

 What does this teach us? Some could say that all this time we have spent the past 12+ years thinking that grades, test scores and knowledge would allow us to at least get into a desired university. Perhaps that was the best excuse our parents and teachers had when it came to motivating us to succeed. These adults have been in our shoes, they already know that in the end we could be the smartest person in the world and it could mean barely anything when it came to making something of ourselves without a fat check supporting us. But, instead of corrupting our innocence, these father figures put us through the agonizing years of stress and needless work just so we can figure this harshness of reality on our own. But then again, without such disciplined motivation, where would we be in life? 

What it comes down to, uImagenfortunately, is that the money has the power to create outcomes that lead to success. Therefore, people who lack money or don’t provide as much revenue to the institution are automatically at a disadvantage because they don’t bestow the greatest financial benefit to society. However, the only thing that can overpower the influence of money is the motivation to do something extraordinary. This motivation comes from the dedication we had during those 12+ years that we spent preparing for our futures. It took us so long to realize that money is really what matters, so we use what we already know to fulfill our need to succeed.  And, as a result, most of us are able to rely on our own success rather than the success money brings, which inevitably provides for the best internal benefit in the end.

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2 Comments on “Lack of Money is The Root of All Evil”

  1. ywjpeter Says:

    I agree with you on all the aspects of your argument. Money has become the driving force behind everything we do. It even reaches far back as to choices of clothing or such, and money hinders us or helps us to strive. Universities definitely have been realizing that they do need to meet a budget therefore accepting students from out-of-state. I feel as though this is definitely the wrong approach as to go about the situation. This unfairness causes for a tilt in balance. In-state students who are not in the greatest financial situations would love to go to their state schools or public universities within their state such as University of Michigan because it is cheaper and provides an excellent education. This is the desire for many but reality is money continues to strive in our society as a motivation to perform certain actions. I feel as though in your last paragraph you mention success we can bring to ourselves. This is often measured though by money and therefore is still driven by money. A successful career is the career with the highest pay.

  2. keroboim Says:

    College boards should not make admissions decisions based on whether the student is out-of-state or in-state. Applicants should be assessed objectively based on the criteria mentioned in the post and admitted based on overall qualifications. This is definitely unfair for not only students, but for society as well. Take Detroit for example. In the last few years, many students have been moving out of Michigan after graduating. This trend will most likely continue if universities continue to deny in-state applicants admission, especially when revenue maximization is the goal.

    Universities aside, money definitely has the power to create outcomes that lead to success. For example, money can influences who is in a persons network. If someone is wealthy, their network will most likely consist of other wealthy individuals. This puts those without a comfortable level of money at a disadvantage. They will not be as well-connected, causing them to miss out on opportunities for social and financial advancement, which is often used as a way to gauge one’s level of success.

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