They say money changes people, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and money is the root of all evil. The Greek philosopher Plato had a brother named Glaucon who believed that men only showed integrity because what they cared about most was their reputation. He said if you gave men power such as the mythical ring of Gyges which made those who wore it invisible, that men would be treacherous, and commit all sorts of crimes because they no longer had to fear being caught nor deal with negative judgement from their peers.
Personally I lean a little towards the beliefs of Glaucon but I'm not as cynical. I agree more with the phrase I once heard which said, "If you want to know the true integrity of a man, then give him absolute power." In a world where we care so much about what others think of us, and for some of us who are financially dependent, a world in which our professional performance and attitude can have an adverse affect on our lively hood, power or the lack there of is the only thing that keeps us from losing self control.
Think about it this way, how many times at your job have you not liked a co-worker, disliked your boss, your work, and you've wanted to tell them what you really feel? Now ask yourself why you didn't. I can tell you why you didn't, it's because you need your job to take care of yourself and your family. You know that flipping out on your boss and making a scene or arguing with a coworker and refusing to do work could cost you your employment and the last thing you want to worry about is how you're going to feed your family or pay your bills.
But let's go to an alternate reality, a reality in which you are very wealthy. You don't need your job and there are folks who you cant wait to put in their place. More times than not you would feel more secure in yourself to act on that urge. Why? Because now you are under the impression that your well being and life aren't in someone else's hands.
Funny how the perception of power changes how secure you feel. Money and power are not the root of all evil. If it were, how do you explain wealthy athletes or powerful people who devote their life to philanthropy and other humanitarian purposes? Those aren't acts of evil, they are amazing deeds, and without the money or power these people wouldn't be able to do their positive work on such a large scale.
Some refer to public figures who blow money or act irresponsibly as an example. Well it's a poor example, because I'll argue that that's a reflection of their upbringing and moral value. That moral value has always been there, it was just hidden for survival purposes. The perception that thier survival depended on others perceptions of them as individuals. Once that veil was removed, there they were, letting their true colors and desires bleed through.
There are plenty of public figures who have come from wealthy families and don't know what it's like to struggle and have refused to do anything positive despite being given the world. There are self made millionaires who have chosen to forget their humble beginnings to become elitist snobs and folks who will live their whole life in poverty, yet their heart and character are richer than all the treasures in the world and they give more than the wealthiest man around. The point I'm trying to make is you are who you have always been. Just as pressure can burst pipes, great moments can also bring out the best in people.
What you choose to show the world depends on how secure you are within yourself. Everyone has a story and everyone has a "self" that they have yet to show the world until that opportune moment! So do you see now? Money doesn't change people at all, it talks. Money tells people exactly who you are!