The morality of money and power
Nelson Mandela

Dear Editor,

There was a comment made that, "Politics has a morality of its own." Perhaps a more accurate saying ought to be, "Money determines morality."

When cheap slave labour was needed on the sugar cane and cotton fields in the Caribbean and America, there was no moral outcry about exploiting another human being to maintain one's wealth and prosperity.

There are so many other examples worldwide, as what can be considered generally immoral seems to be accepted by many simply because of the economic benefits of staying quiet or supporting the immoral cause.

The reporter that was allegedly killed in an embassy did not cause the world bodies to hold that embassy responsible for murder, perhaps because of its economic power. Apartheid in South Africa was apparently supported by major European and Western countries, perhaps because it was economically convenient. Many initiatives of the United Nations are ignored despite the overwhelming number of votes in support of them. It seems the major economic powers simply go ahead with their agendas, confident that their economic prowess will nullify whatever moral arguments the many may put forward. Thus, it may be fair to conclude that money and power determines the morality of a nation.

In Trinidad and Tobago one can conclude that we are operating under similar levels of morality. The many who take sides on the war in Gaza and other global issues, presumably based on morality, see nothing wrong when politicians condemn a leader today and praise and support him/her the next day for their benefit. The items that they condemn in the strongest terms one day are OK when the economic factors or power is introduced.

While many may see that possibility as debilitating, it may be pertinent to note that neither money nor power has been the source of greatest joy or value to mankind. Think of one's own life, the joyous moments — music, celebrating the festivities, sharing times with family, watching the ocean, the sunrise and sunset. These bring a level of peace, joy, and happiness that money cannot buy. Think of the people who understood the real value of life, such as Nelson Mandela, who was offered the opportunity to be an "honorary white" in apartheid South Africa and chose instead to spend 27 years in prison seeking a better quality of life for black Africans.

There are many similar people whose work has led to a better life on Earth — the many musicians who fill the Earth with joy; Albert Einstein and the many other scientists, mathematicians, inventors, and philosophers; as well as children all contribute to real joy. Moreover, happiness and self-satisfaction come from embracing a real morality and love for other human beings.

Perhaps it is time to embrace our good side and not be bought by the artificial morality of power and money.

Steve Alvarez

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