Not just money makes the world go around

Dianne St. Jean
Not just money makes the world go around

Don’t ask me why, but I got a sudden, unexpected flashback the other day of a movie that I watched years and years ago, whose title and plot I can’t even recall at the moment.

All that came back to me was a clip of a cabaret performance with actors donning Nazi dress and singing in a German accent, “Money makes the world go around.”

Maybe it’s because just about every news headline is about some corporation, government or politician that involves money, be it a take-over, or blackmail scheme or some other form of control.

I have often heard it commented, “It’s always about the money”, but I’m not so sure about that.

Despite the assumption that most if not all people are motivated by money, that’s not always the case. Some people just don’t care about having a lot of money.

I would say instead that money is just another means of a greater motivator, one that might use money but doesn’t always need to, one that is used by both rich and poor alike.

I’m talking about the drive for control or power.

Here’s a case in point. When I was young I recall (without realizing at the time what I was observing) how a somewhat elderly lady would get others in the family to do what she wanted.

This woman did not have a lot of money, nor did she care about it or materialistic things. She did, however, like to get her own way.

But it was the way she went about it that took me a while to catch on to.

When we think of people who like to have control, we often visualize some snarly person barking orders, or stomping their foot, or perhaps even yelling to get others to do what they want.

But that was not this seemingly gentle and innocent woman. She was proper and well controlled in her mannerisms. I don’t recall ever hearing her raise her voice, nor ever a foul or swear word out of her mouth. She would do unasked-for favours for family members, helping them with this or that.

Eventually an event or situation would arise where she wanted things done her way. I’m not talking about things concerning her own life, then my point would be irrelevant. Everyone has the right to decide what they think is best for themselves. And that is my point. This woman would take it upon herself to decide (without asking or consulting the people first) to tell them what they should do.

If they disagreed or resisted, she would say things like, “I’m just trying to help you” or “I know better”.

One day I came across a website on different personality types, and while perusing the different types I found this description: “Controllers are hard to spot and can turn tables on you… they might make up excuses for their behaviour like “It was well meant” or “I was just giving you some advice.” (Psychology Today/Evans 2009. Controlling People, pg. 128)

The thing is, there is a difference between simply giving advice, and becoming upset when others don’t do what you think they should. The difference between an advice-giver and a controller is that the controller tries to pressure you to do what they think you should do and make you feel guilty if you don’t. 

Getting back to my example, I recall seeing that woman tell others who didn’t do what she felt they should, that they were ungrateful. There would also be this mantra, “After all I’ve done for you…”

So while money certainly turns some wheels in society, I wonder just how much control-seeking and manipulation, with or without the money, is really behind the scenes in news headlines.