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The Limitations of Money

THE LIMITATIONS OF MONEY There are millions of dollars on earth but not a penny ever leaves it.

It has been said, and truly, that no one needs much money for actual personal use. The amount any one of us requires for the neces sities of life is small. But "necessities" for one man may seem like the most extravagant luxury to another.

Where shall the line be drawn? That mirror of daily life, the newspaper, 'shows us that the line cannot be drawn. Here is a news item which states that Judge -R. orders a man to pay fifteen dollars a week for the support of his wife and child. In the same issue of the paper, Mrs. B. petitions the court for permission to draw from an estate eighteen thousand dollars per annum, in stead of twelve thousand, for the support and education of her daughter. The court grants the request. In both cases the amount is fixed at a sum deemed sufficient to provide the petitioner with the necessities of life. Ap parently, then, the term is an exceedingly elastic one. In its lowest terms, it must pro vide shelter, food, and clothing. Beyond these, money can purchase countless things that may readily assume the phase of neces sities after the manner of life to which the in dividual accustoms himself.

The world is full of things that create de sires. It was recently reported that a society leader ordered several pairs of shoes to be made of the breasts of humming birds. It probably never occurred to this woman that there are thousands of people, especially chil dren, who have no adequate protection for the feet; not enough to guard them against cold and dampness.

The well-to-do youth whose annual clothing outfit includes a dozen suits, is convinced, no doubt, that to have fewer would be a real hardship.

A man of fifty, who is a chronic borrower, owing money to every friend and stranger who listens to his tale, whose conversation turns to the high cost of living whenever anyone will listen to him, finds it necessary to be a member of six or eight clubs.

These cases, types of countless others, show that so far as the necessities of life are concerned, there is no limit to the variations that may be played upon the expression.

There is no limit to the apparent need for money, once desire begins to lead the way. Two exceedingly serious social questions are included in the act of the woman who orders shoes made from humming birds' breasts : 1. Has she any moral right so to use her money in a world full of suffering and misery? 2. Is she not a benefactor to those working people who are skillful enough to make such shoes? The money is released and goes into circu lation. The woman gets the shoes, and sev eral people receive payment for assisting in producing them. A distribution of money has been made that is beneficial. Whether it is the best possible distribution, is another ques tion. But turning from the state of affairs that requires a woman and child to meet the demands of life on fifteen dollars a week, from the little girl whose up-bringing appears to the court to be reasonable at eighteen thousand dollars a year, from the countless children who pass through childhood shoeless and stockingless, and passing from the feet clad in humming bird shoes, we conclude that the necessities of life differ for practically every human being. But if we observe, even casually, the various types that make up our population, we discover that everyone, from the poverty-stricken to the over-rich, is sub ject to happiness and unhappiness; to content and to discontent; to joy and to sorrow. These conditions seem not to belong any more to the rich than to the poor.

Money is no guarantee of happiness, neither is the lack of it a necessary excuse for unhap piness. To be wealthy in material things does not necessarily imply equal wealth in mental and spiritual resources. It does not take long for rich or poor to learn that all the true pleasures of life are not to be had for money. If a man has learned to have joy awak ened in him at the sight of a beautiful picture, it matters not what his condition is. The gift is his. The poor cannot sell it, nor can the rich buy it.

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life, dollars, shoes, man and necessities