Money Is Not Power
What happens to the rich when their money is worthless?
Description Needs Help Needs Examples Already have?

(permanent link) added: 2013-03-16 18:43:47 sponsor: AinSophAur33 (last reply: 2013-03-21 18:08:09)

Add Tag:

There's always that rich Jerkass -- the corporate snob, that one with the Lexus, that arrogant prick who's always looking down his nose at everybody else. He can have anything he wants, because Screw the Rules, I Have Money!.

But then shit hits the fan. Maybe it's a natural disaster, an unstoppable disease, the Titanic, or even The End of the World as We Know It. Or maybe it's merely a Communist revolution or a hyperinflation that makes all those money funny. Suddenly, all that wealth isn't worth so much, because people are more worried about plain ol' survival rather than making money. However, it could be on a much it's a much smaller scale -- maybe Kids Just Prefer Boxes or money simply isn't important to somebody.

Getting hit with this trope is typically a huge moment for any character used to money solving all their problems. Sometimes it can lead up to a Villainous BSOD or even a Heel-Face Turn. Or sometimes he just dies.

Compare Screw the Money, I Have Rules! and Worthless Yellow Rocks.


Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, opium kingpin Takeda Kanryuu tries to bribe Kenshin out of attacking his mansion. This works about as well as you'd expect. Discussed by his Dragon-in-Chief Shinomori Aoshi:
    Aoshi: You don't get it. Your money's of no use here. Himura Battousai does not live for gain--I told you.

Comics
  • V for Vendetta: this is the final fate of Rich Bitch Helen, having lost all money and power, with her husband (who was in charge of the Norsefire party's Sinister Surveillance) dead, having just killed her lover (an up-and-coming street rat, who she was grooming to become the chief of Norsefire's goons), and the total collapse of the Norsefire party leaves her on the street. She desperately flings herself onto the first guy she recognizes as a former party member, trying to seduce him that with her they'll seize power. He no longer cares about any of it, and leaves her screeching.

Film
  • The Dark Knight Rises: Corporate mogul John Daggett gets hit in the face by this trope when Bane stops doing what he's told.
    Bane: [to Stryver] Leave us.
    Daggett: No, you stay here. I'm in charge! [Bane puts his hand on Daggett's shoulder; Daggett craps his pants]
    Bane: Do you feel in charge? [Stryver leaves]
    Daggett: [almost whimpering] I paid you a small fortune!
    Bane: And this gives you power over me?
    Daggett: What is this?
    Bane: Your money and infrastructure have been important...'til now.
  • Titanic: Cal tries to bribe his way off the doomed ship. While it appears to work initially, the money is thrown back in his face when it matters most.
  • The War Of The Worlds 1953. As Los Angeles is being evacuated, people are rioting in the streets while trying to obtain transportation out of the city.
    Man: Let me up. I'll give you $500 for your place. I'll make it $1,000.
    Man in truck: Money's no good anymore!

Literature
  • Making Money plays with this trope: Moist Von Lipwig, Boxed Crook, works for the government as the leader of the National Bank, treating it as a complex con game, which, in a very real sense, it is. He faces the resistance of the Turvy family, who are the Royally Screwed Up shareholders of the bank. And while their money definitely grants them power, this power is mere leverage, not just Moist, but also their true opponent, the Big Good[[hottip:*sort of]] Vetinari, know and understand this much better than they do.
  • This is Koreiko's plight in The Little Golden Calf and the reason why he patiently awaits the end of the Soviet rule. Ostap Bender also learns to appreciate this trope when he finally makes it big.
  • In Battle Royale Oda is a rich asshole that claims he doesn't belong in the Program because his father works for the government. He finds out that they don't care one bit who you are. Everyone goes to the Program at random, even rich people.

Real Life
  • Late Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar had a saying: "mi plomo o mi plata" ("my lead, or my silver"), which basically was saying if you don't take my money (and play ball), you'll take a bullet--basically an added incentive against Screw the Money, I Have Rules! for those who might otherwise be so inclined.
replies: 21

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy