Dirty Money

by David Dennis


Filthy rich. Rolling in it. We as a society equate percieved wealth to be somehow contaminated. I was hoping to find an image that I remember from studying the second world war at school. As part of the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany a propaganda campaign was waged in which the Jewish, with the intention of portraying an image that they were wealthy through the exploitation of 'good German folk', were vilified in images where they were literally rolling in their own defecation, or indeed ingesting the effluence of swine. A google image search has failed me, likely because there aren't many people who have a use for such bilious imagery.

It was an effective campaign, the Nazi's reign of terror and murder over the Jewish population is well documented. It relied on this perception though, this established notion that wealth is somehow dirty. Such a corruption and warping of opinion is not easily done simply by spreading vicious untruths - these are too easily fought. It is much easier to inflate some dislike or distrust that already exists on some level, and prey on a shred of perceived plausibility which can be distended into blatant falsehood in a much more insidious way.

But where does this perception come from? It might be easy to cast the blame at base emotions such as envy and desire. As much as we are ready to use such unfair descriptions we are for the most part likely twice as quick to accept such wealth if we were lucky enough to happen upon it. But in the mean time we're happy to demean those that possess what we desire out of jealousy.

Perhaps we are tarring unfairly a wide demographic with one dirty brush. Perhaps the propaganda has the answer and we've merely lost sight of the original insinuation. That sometimes riches are illegitimately earned and therefore tainted. So when you casually cast this aspersion, consider what you're actually implying.