Horace (-65 to -8. BC), Roman poets, friends of Virgil, he composed the Secular Song and wrote many satires, letters, and other works.
In this extract, Horace denounces the behavior of the man who accumulates wealth after wealth, and never uses it. Contrary to the ant, which works and then uses these riches, the man that Horace describes preciously keeps his treasure without touching it. What is the point of keeping such a treasure, since one cannot touch it? No matter how great the wealth accumulated, it will not be more profitable to you than to me, adds Horace.
Original text by Horace: Does money make you happy?
Does money make you happy? – Horace
That farmer who turns the heavy earth with his hard plow, that deceitful innkeeper, the soldiers and sailors, who boldly traverse the whole sea, pretend that they endure toil thanks to the thought of retiring when old in safe leisure after having amassed enough to live on; so it is that the tiny ant capable of great labor (indeed, it is to be taken as an example) draws with its mouth all that it can and adds it to the heap that it builds, lacking neither experience nor prudence as to the future.
Now this one, as soon as the Aquarius darkens the return of the year, crawls nowhere and makes wise use of what she has acquired before, while you, neither the scorching heat, nor the winter, nor the fire, nor the sea, nor the iron, distracts you from profit, nothing hinders you, provided that there is not another man richer than you.
What good is it if, after digging the earth, you bury in it a huge quantity of silver and gold in secret with fear?
“It is because if it were touched, it would be reduced to a heap of little value.”
But if that does not happen, what charm does the pile you have made have? Your threshing floor may have crushed a hundred thousand bushels, but your belly will not absorb more than mine.
To Actualize Horace’s Thought
Society has given a word to this behavior: hoarding. To hoard is to accumulate money without spending or investing it.
It is because of this treasure that banks can afford to extend credit, and even pay those who hoard. Thus, saving money on an account, as for a passbook, allows collecting interests in return. What is the advantage for the banks? This money put to rest is interesting because it brings funds. In the light of Horace’s teaching, it would be good to question ourselves on the multiplication of these passbooks, on the greed of each one to keep money for love of this money, without ever using it.
In particular, when it is a question of seeking only to be richer than the other:“provided that there is not another man richer than you”. Behind the will to acquire unceasingly salary bonuses after salary bonuses, would it not sometimes hide the desire to be only better paid than the other? Without even knowing what to do with the money.