Money. As the saying goes, money makes the world go round. Money is a power of large proportions that can be used in many scenarios. Notice how I said many and not all. Today we shall talk about money and its ability.

To what extent can money solve problems?

I can’t really answer this question on my own. To answer this question, we must delve into several different works.

The first work we shall look at is a book called The Grapes of Wrath. I shall provide a brief summary to those who don’t know about it. The Grapes of Wrath is a book written by John Steinbeck that takes place in the 1930s in The United States of America. We follow a man by the name of Tom Joad, who recently got released from jail, and his family as they travel west to California to find new jobs because the Oklahoma was not the best place to farm due to the Dust Bowl and California was offering many jobs at the time. They must travel with nothing but what they could fit into the car and each other.

This book provides many examples of when money could have solved their problems. It also provides the opposite as well, things that can’t be solved with money. Let’s start with the beginning of the novel. If the Joads had enough money to sustain themselves during the Dust Bowl, they could have just stayed in Oklahoma and not have gone on that journey to California. They could buy the food needed to live and they don’t need to farm for money.

Notice how the problems are. They are problems that are caused by the lack of something physical. It may be the lack of food or possibly the lack of jobs. Most of the problems encountered in the book involve the lack of something.

Here we delve into the problems of the people themselves. Let’s talk about Tom’s uncle, Uncle John. In chapter we listen into the details of Uncle John from Tom as he tells it to Casy. Tom calls him the “lonest goddamn man in the world.(68)” We learn that he lost his wife after he dismisses his wife’s stomach pains as just a stomachache. Tom then tells Casy that he brings a doctor every time one of his nieces or nephews gets stomach pains. Tom even states that John had given most of what he had so he could make it up to his mistake, but he is still not happy in the end. We even learn that he buys liquor and prostitutes to try to feel better. His money has not solved his problem at all. Sadness haunts him no matter what he does. Now we look at Tom. No matter how much money Tom has, he cannot escape the fact he murdered a man due to anger in chapter 26. Tom knew that he couldn’t get involved in anything that might get him in trouble, but he did it anyway. He understands that he is a burden to his own family and he realizes that he must leave them for there is no saving him. There is no solution that could get him out of his predicament. Even money can’t help a wanted man. The psychological change in a person that comes from killing another lasts for the rest of person’s life. Money can’t fix that.

Another work that we will be looking at is the book Nickel and DimedNickel and Dimed is a book written by Barbara Ehrenreich that details her journey as she attempts to live through a month of her working at a job that pays minimum wage at different locations in the United States. In this book, one can learn about all the ways money could help improve the lives of the people mentioned in the book.

In the chapter “Serving in Florida”, she learns about the struggle of the people that only work for minimum wage go through. She learns about George, a Czech dishwasher that lives on 5 dollars an hour that lives with other Czech dishwashers. He was accused of stealing in third to last paragraph of the chapter. It is easy to see that money could improve his life. If he had money, he wouldn’t need to do things like stealing. He wouldn’t have to live with other Czech dishwashers. Lives such as his could be fixed if they had more money.

The last work we shall examine is a work in a website called The Globe and Mail. In it is an article that deals with problems that money can’t solve. It was conveniently called “Problems that money can’t solve.”

John Heinzl states that many wealthy people are not as happy as we think. He states that with money comes problems that people that don’t have much money experience. If a person wins the lottery, the sudden change from having little to a lot of money is too much. The person that won the money will not understand the new problems that faces them. They begin to spend more and more money as they don’t know how to manage it as it seems inexhaustible to them. Providing money to children is a bigger problem than before as you must worry about not spoiling them. Providing too much money will lead to children believing they can get everything they want in life by just asking you. Problems appear in everywhere in the world regardless the amount of money you have.

In examining these works I have come up with a conclusion. There are problems that can be solved by money, but there are not many problems that can only be solved by money. In the end, money is just a solution to problems that have many answers. I would love to have a lot of money, but I know that not all my problems will go away. Some problems you cannot control. Some cannot be solved at all. With that this discussion is brought to a close.


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