It’s the moolah, stupid!

Published: July 30, 2018
The writer is former Ambassador of Pakistan and ex-Assistant Secretary General of the OIC

The writer is former Ambassador of Pakistan and ex-Assistant Secretary General of the OIC

Money is the buzzword these days. People who have it in truck-loads are hankering for more; those that do not spend the better part of their day cribbing about the lack of it. Be that as it may, money remains the centre of everybody’s universe! The ‘money game’ is ‘in’ and fast taking over from the ‘rat race’ of yore.

Money cannot buy happiness, goes the well-worn cliché. Most people continue to believe, though, that money does buy a hell of a lot of things that, in the troubled world of today, help keep sadness at bay. The aforementioned may not make a lot of sense to the uninitiated, but, then, how many things in our ken do?

Take one case in recent history, if you will. The ill-starred Saddam Hussein, nabbed long ago by the Americans, reportedly had a bundle of cash to keep him company. One never found out what he intended to do with the three-quarters of a million US dollars that the American press claimed he had on his person.

Any qualms about the usefulness of money should be shed right away considering the way hordes of people in the Land of the Pure are hankering after the stuff. How can so many people be wrong? Could it be sour grapes? It is a moot point, though, whether having lots of money can actually add to one’s popularity. Parasites and hangers-on often congregate around moneyed people, but then can these species really be termed “friends”?

History of the love affairs between Man and his money should make interesting reading. For one thing, one finds that power and money somehow go hand in hand. Which comes first is the moot point. It is awfully hard to tell though, being somewhat akin to the chicken or egg syndrome. People born with silver spoon in their mouth go about taking advantage of their wealth to acquire influence and eventually to capture power. And if in the process the wealth too gets a boost it is all to the good! Then there are others who take advantage of their power and influence to amass wealth.

Moving on to another historical case: some years ago, the German television had aired a documentary entitled Hitler’s Money. This documentary appeared to insinuate that the fuhrer, in addition to doing what he had set himself to do, actually spent much of his spare time in amassing, what was termed, a vast fortune. Thanks to the aforementioned German television documentary, one now knows that even Hitler, of wretched memory, failed to keep his nose clean!

Be that as it may, study of the mad quest for fortunes by the history’s high and mighty should make an interesting subject for research. Though a lot of individual treatises on the subject may be at hand, no attempt has apparently been made to study this very arresting phenomenon in its entirety. Why do despots, for instance, feel the urge for stashing away all those dirty millions when they already possess all the power and glory to revel in?

While on this lamentable subject, how about giving a thought or two to the tendency shown by the already rich and powerful to rake in even more by the sack-full? It is a well-known fact, authenticated by recent history, that most have not lived long enough to enjoy the loot — or, in some cases, to regret it! And yet, human nature being what it is, humankind continues to tread the same beaten path, refusing to learn a lesson or two from history.

If one had the urge to delve a bit deeper into this affair, one could indulge in a bit of research into the possible linkage between power and the urge to rake in millions. Power begets money and money, in turn, gives rise to the urge to grab power. It is a vicious cycle of sorts. Ultimately, it is extremely difficult to pin the whole thing down. As mentioned earlier, it boils down to something of a hen and egg situation. What comes first? On second thought, it would perhaps be preferable not to touch on this somewhat delicate subject, since it is bound to touch a raw nerve or two!


Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2018.

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