When we watch Mary Poppins as kids, we're pulled into a fantasy story full of flying nannies and carousels that come alive. The fact that the workaholic dad is a banker is besides the point, and this song, as a kid, went over my head, full of big words I didn't understand.
But now? Wow. Some highlights:
- Giving our money to banks for "safekeeping" doesn't mean it stays in the vaults. As the bankers point out, it goes to fund ships and tea farms and all sort of non-banking related things. Investing, whether it's an interest-earning savings account or bonds and stocks for retirement, necessarily means you're owning and contributing to something other than the bank, something bigger and largely unknown.
- Money choices are wrapped up in emotions. Good salespeople know this. The bankers say the boy will achieve a sense of "stature" and "conquest"- emotional, rather than logical words. So much of what we do about our money is driven by fear, pride, or some other emotion. Advertisers know this, and play on it in every advertisement. Be aware.
- Money choices always support something. It's not always obvious, but when we give our money- whether it's buying a shirt at the mall, or opening a savings account- we're promoting or upholding something- whether it's child labor or local food or, in this boy's case, dams, railways, and shipping. Thinking beyond the immediate thing we're paying for can help us decide what exactly it is we want to support.
- Banks are core to our economic system. Today, we say "Duh" to that- look what happened to the economy when the banks got in trouble! I don't think it was always obvious. The bank owner says "While stand the banks of England, England stands. When fall the banks of England, England falls."- has that been true of nations during this crisis?
- Charity isn't logical. Giving the tuppence "to the birds" is a compassionate act that will bring the boy joy, but doesn't make sense in the adult world of interest-earning propositions. In the end, he had to stay determined to do what he views as right and good.