Ryan Mega on Money
It pains to admit the power that money has on the world. It’s a damn shame. You would think that man, a creature with the ability for complex thinking could fathom a way for the world to exist without currency. But alas, through our interdependent society, financial systems have dug themselves deep into the psyche and lives of the modern man. Everybody has a price. How much money do you cost?
It’s been my experience that people who aren’t motivated by money are equally demotivated by it. There is still the constant awareness of its power, even if they have a nihilist mood built from years of failing to attain it in measurable amounts. Yes indeed. Being broke at 30 does give a nigga the chills. What to do? First, you have to understand the systems of money and why they are so ingrained in us all. Once again, let’s start from the beginning.
The first men and women to walk the earth were not all about the Benjamin’s. Can you fucking believe that? If only they would have invested in something. Imagine the interest on flint spearheads alone. But the first forms of currency took hold not long in the eon of man. Ancient Africans traded skins, beads, shells, gold, and other collectible items for everything from food to slaves to other currency. A few people somehow won a lot of money and started calling themselves Caesar and Pharaoh. They used and abused the resources of their land, fought wars, taxed people, and traded money to other countries in the hopes of getting more money.
We began to coin it – money measured in weigh-able amounts. Jesus died for 30 pieces of silver. The middle ages brought forth issues with money and population distribution or class. Man’s value was firmly placed in the ability to buy and own land and those around him. Hell the word currency, from Middle English curraunt, means in circulation. Throw it in the air. As in “Nigga can you make it rain or not”? Even then, life was all about making those around you do something strange for some change and dance for them bands.
With this distinguishing reason, society established class lines based on money as equity became a factor in life, from health care to education to choosing a mate. The world was a more dangerous place and with populations fighting for limited resources, wars and conflicts were constant and nearly necessary for civilization to expand. The royal classes consisted of people who were able to keep their wealth in beads, gold, and spices from one generation to the next. There was no interest or dividends. What you owned, you protected with an army, or you lost it. Western civilization’s dominance, especially financially, is preceded by the transfer of money and trusts between old European nations in the times of the crusades (I am very sure if the Arabic nations would have won, we would definitely be spending Arab money). You were given a title to show your wealth. You may have been a king or a queen, a lord or a lady, a duke or a duchess, a marquise, an earl, a baroness, or even an esquire, if you were lucky enough to own land or money. If not, you were yeomen and gentlemen at best. That title told your family’s saga better than you could and you spent your life fighting for a higher class. With these titles came expected modems of decorum and etiquette. And why? The rat with the coke has the best parties. In laymens, you have to trust a man who has so many people dependent on him to survive that he can’t move his foothold. These are the trusts that bind families and nations and are only broken with the consequence of war.
We don’t really use the titles anymore, and the classes have blurred slightly, but it’s still the same. Broke people are expected to hate to get 30 pieces of silver. People with money are expected to be honorable all the time. That’s all class is – the value on expected modems of decorum and etiquette. Little has changed since the era of silver and gold.
If you don’t catch what I’m saying, don’t worry. I’ll break it down. No need for cliff’s notes. Why is it all about class you ask? We have been chasing dollars and owning each other for so long, we have tied our entire sense of self-worth to money. While money is the end result, class is the everlasting aesthetic that encompasses the culture of money. If you want money, you must first understand its use and to know its use, you have to understand class. Now we might call it middle class or working class, and then it may have been the noble class or the gentry, but in the end, you knew what to expect. If someone is lower class, chances are they are not only broke, but highly degenerate. It correlates that intelligent people are usually not lower class as education is either paid for or earned in working hours devoted. When you consider class, know its the measure of your money. It’s where money becomes a noun, a verb, and an adjective and not just an abstract concept. It’s a wealth scale and the more you have the higher your expected class. So what do you do if you are like me? What do you do if you are born in the low-class but want to live a high-class lifestyle? You fake it until you make it.
I don’t mean go out and buy all the fake jewelry you can so you pop shit in front of teenyboppers who drive 80K cars. I mean carry on the etiquette and tradition of the higher class while living modestly. Remember, money is just a sign of expected behavior. It’s easy to carry yourself in a civilized manner. Those things are a dime a dozen. If you don’t know, read a book on etiquette and get familiar. Try to use proper English for one. If you don’t give a fuck, don’t. But if you aren’t faking it, chances are you won’t put in the work to make it either, so your broke as should stop reading this now.
There is only one way to make it. You have to learn how. Money is Power. Knowledge is Power. These trite statements are not false or coincidental. In our modernity, you do not need much money to go the library and read enough books to match a rich man’s(the noble class of new) wit and mannerisms or ethics. There is really no excuse to lack of intelligence today when there are so many avenues to chase smarts for those who truly need some brains. A focused intelligence is the only thing needed for a man to stand out in his class. Booker T. Washington and W.E.B DuBois were meaningful because they could read and write eloquently, when millions of other slaves were not as educated. I’m just saying. You can be a subject matter expert or tradesman (the ugh class or trade smiths of yesteryear) and at least get paid and have a respectable title in the village from a focus in knowledge alone. I didn’t live then, but I imagine it’s easier to become a master craftsman now then it was then. If you are smart and enabled, you will learn a trade early in life, some rudimentary skill that peasants struggle their entire lives to apprentice then master. If you are not, you do nothing, not even finishing high school. If you are smart and enabled you add other education on top of the trade or master your common education. If you are not, you never do anything more than master a trade, never even learning how to read and write a sign advertising sales and discounts – or you never master your common knowledge, never becoming an expert in anything but common bullshit. The more intelligence you build the easier it will be for you to fake it until you make it, because you will stand out as unique which will help on the path to making it. This is what they need to tell kids in school. You might need to have 1000 hustles or you might find out that you can shine the best at something you may not like, yet with a skill you have, so you never know what you to need to know, so learn it all.
I know some of this shit sounds like some sell out shit. I love being working class. No one roots for the Cubs and the Bulls like working class Chicagoans. But I want to be rich. Who doesn’t want the riches? As far-fetched as it is to make wealth, I can transcend what is expected of my class while chasing it. You can live rich every day. Nothing is stopping you from doing that. Our ignorance alone is the only cause for our poor lifestyle. It’s front, but it’s easy to master when the clout (real money) is so much harder to obtain.
I can’t be wealthy in this lifetime because wealth is a sign of richness passed from generation to generation and unfortunately, my family name isn’t Hilton (though I could always fuck and marry into the Hilton’s name). At most, I can get rich and pass it on if I find the right assets to own. That’s the beauty of this generation of black people in America; we may be the first to truly hold our own financial future in our hands. The myriad of economic barriers and trickery are still prevalent, but if you can overcome them then you may be able to build a sustainable bundle of wealth before you leave the earth. Think about copping your great great grandkids Jordans in the year 2090 when you consider balling out at the club.
If you see me in Dockers and some Rockport’s, it’s a big chance I am cashing big checks. I love to dress in t-shirts and sweats but these days, I am really chasing Gs, so I try to rock a suit more often than not. It’s not hard to find a good suit, the uniform of the higher classed, or the gentleman aka the gentry man. I am over 30 so if I am in gym shorts, I am in the hood or I am at the gym. I dress for success.
In life, I figured you have to take steps if you want to be rich. You emulate your idols and the people with money you admire, usually because you want to be in their group of friends aka their class. You are a baller in training. You get a job and you learn to pay bills and fix debt. You learn what to waste money on and how to save. You are a baller on a budget. Then if you figure things out you can learn to use your money to make money and spend the dividends. You are big balling. If you don’t ball till you fall, you should have a nice goose egg and a lot of property to pass on to your next generation, making them born of a higher class and thus starting the cycle of building wealth. If not, they come into the world brainwashed by you, and likely to follow in the cycle of yeomen birthing yeomen (at best). And it’s nothing wrong with yeomen in the overall sense of society and all, but this is the first generation of black people who are able to build real wealth and keep it, so you have to go for as much as you can get and hold as much as you can hold.
If the drug trade were legal, black and brown people would have built real wealth two centuries ago. If you think that Christopher Columbus and all of those white people sailed across the seven seas for a little cayenne pepper you are out of your fucking mind. Don’t get me wrong. They were cooking up shit differently, but it was the cocaine and sugar cane that kept them coming back for more. Everybody wanted rum and coke. Instead of doing fair business with the Indians, the whites eviscerated them and brought slaves for guns and rum, who they murdered and tortured in exchange for free labor and the massive buildup of the capitalist wealth system of rule that is American democracy. The drug trade is not legal, and the fact that most cocaine and poppy comes from brown people means it will probably stay illegal, even if a few white people manage to capitalize on legalized marijuana (and thus assume power on its import and sale and wealth creating potential). It’s the same thing with foreigners and oil ownership. If the true owners of oil were in control of it for the last 100 years, its chief abuser, the USA, would have made every nation we get oil from rich. Instead, white people used guns and war to usurp the resources of another continent. I am only bringing up race to put class into perspective. When you have built enough wealth that you can bar another person from being your equal based on race, creating a second class of expected behaviors and etiquette based on race, and flood the market with this way of thought so that people believe this as true, money is no doubt about drawing class lines. If you don’t have it, your resources will be drained by someone who does have it. You will be delegated to being a second class citizen if you are not aware of the resources around that have yet to be claimed. Since the dawning of the new world, and the conquering of new people and new lands, the game has been about money. You can waste years denying it, or accept it and learn to win with the awareness of it. You can’t win the game if you don’t know the finish line and the rules to get there. The rules might change, but the goal will always be to build wealth and matriculate classes.
So now that you know, get out and go learn a trade. Then another one. Then brush up on the arts and the humanities the many ways that the higher classes like to relax, and practice and live a higher class of life and pass on that higher standard of living to those of your breed and never ever forget this. Stay classy.