Is money the root of all evil?

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jethro's picture

Hye over at spaceofreality wrote an article titled "Is money the root of all evil?" I decided to write a comment on that post.

Here it is

If I may I would like to sum up some of the other commenters comments.
the phrase "money is the root of all evil" is oft quoted as you wrote, but it is always quoted incorrectly. As a couple of commenters wrote the correct quote is "the love of money is the root of all evil"
This is quite an important difference.
I have to disagree with those commenters who agreed with the quote because they clearly do not understand an important point. Money - and any other inanimate object can not be attributed with moral characteristics. That is money cannot be evil. Have you ever seen a 1 dollar note rape or murder someone? Of course not. Just like the oft quoted statement "guns don't kill people, people kill people". The technical explanation is that money is amoral. What that means is that money cannot in and of itself have any intrinsic moral value. It can as some people pointed out be used for good or evil but of itself it is simply an inert object.
The second point I would like to clear up is about wealth and greed.
Wealth is not bad or evil. Greed is. However most people who are wealthy are clearly not greedy. In fact the opposite. Being greedy in most cases will not make you wealth but rather make you poor. A miser is someone who loves money for itself. These people are rare. Most people love money for what it can do for them - whether that be to acquire things, use it for good, use it for evil, for power over people or for status. It is in these uses that the quote makes the most sense. For those who love money will tend toward grasping and greediness - usually for power or material goods.
A good wealthy person actually does a lot of good. Consider the economic impact of some one who buys a million dollar yacht. They are keeping hundreds of people in a job by doing so. Boat builders, finishers and designers, fitters, marina attendants, repairers, a captain and crew etc. Their apparent act of greediness is actually beneficial to society. Often the yacht is then used to entertain family and friends, to run charity functions and the like.
Please readers, think carefully about this statement before making uninformed comments.

What do you think?


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hisherness's picture

My views on the subject are

My views on the subject are approximately two cubits from Thrasymachus.