The American culture usually references money and success synonymously. Nearly everyone who has grown up in America has probably, at one time or another, thought "I wish I had that much money!" Similarly, the public usually perceives those with money as the most successful, happy, and powerful.
Americans usually limit the term "Money", to simple monetary units; however, "money" encompasses more than simplistic pieces of metal and paper, cash in the bank, or credit. Money includes anything that you can trade for something else including, but not limited to, skills, talents, a strong body witht he ability to work, and essential knowledge.
To define the link between money and success using this definition, you must redefine "class". Gregory Mantsios defines the current views about class in America Class in America: Myths and Realities, "We don't speak about class privileges, or class oppression, or the class nature of society" (Mantsios, 1).
The people I know and have read about do not like to talk about class, unless they're trying favor a minority. The ability to succeed varies among different people; in my experiences, if someone wants to succeed and has a skill or talent, our culture seems to help them achieve that goal, through scholarships or financial aid, regardless of their monetary wealth, especially for the poor or minorities.
I believe a link exists between morals and the desire to succeed. Although Americans usually define success as having monetary wealth, someone can succeed and still not have the world's wealth. On a very shallow scale, money and success balance out as the same; but when we redefine money and success, the worldly definitions become less accurate.
The traditional definition of class dictates that the lower class has very little money and the higher class has an abundance of money. But, when we redefine money as anything that someone can trade for something else, we see a transformation of the current class layout; a change comparable to sorting a phonebook by first names instead of last names. Suddenly, those without monetary wealth, but who have skills, might appear at the top of the class list. Lazy rich people no longer crowd the "upper class".
I believe that many first generation rich, upper class folks have skill, but the second and third generations no longer need skill because their inheritance blinds their motivation; however, exceptions can and do exist.
Barbara Ehrenreich, a journalist who has great monetary wealth, decides to try a minimum wage job and live without her wealth in order to understand the working-class. She finds a very difficult life where you don't always have money to pay essential bills; when she returns to her former home to take care of business from her previous life, she realizes how differently people who do not have work spend time. "The e-mails and phone messages addressed to my former self come from a distant race of people with exotic concerns and far too much...