The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gimme more

"Greed (for want of a better word) is good." said Gordon Gekko... a character in the movie "Wall Street."

Too many people believe that movie is an honest portrayal of Wall Street and capitalism.

It isn't. Gekko was right. Greed and capitalism are what has taken us from near starving wanderers trying to survive to civilization and plenty.  Let me toss out a few words and phrases...

Selfishness (perhaps enlightened self interest)
Paranoia (perhaps just heightened awareness)
Greed (perhaps just saving for a rainy day)

Greed is also providing for one's family. After all, that's why we try to amass wealth, isn't it? To make sure your family can get through the hard times? So that sons and daughters do not want?

There's another phrase I often hear... "money is the root of all evil." It's a distortion of a bible quote that takes it out of context. The actual statement is: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." [Timothy 6:10]

It's an excessively pious statement, I think. The out of context version implies that money is inherently bad. That money is evil in and of itself. It isn't. It is, as Ayn Rand described it, just a tool that allows us to engage in commerce on a large scale. Before there was money, people bartered with goods. The wheat farmer traded part of his crop for other foods, for tools, for housing, for whatever he could get that he desired or needed. Money came to represent goods and could be traded for other goods.

Ah, but the love of money... that can be bad. If one loves money more than one's wife or family then one might neglect that wife or family in its pursuit. One might be tempted to do bad things in exchange for money. Money is only evil if one lets it be.


Tom Sightings said...

So money is like food . . . you need enough, but too much is unhealthy? Ah, but money is also power. And that's a whole 'nother issue, isn't it?

Douglas said...

I suspect you need to read the post more carefully. Money can be power, though, because we equate the two. We pay more to people who are in positions of power, don't we? We claim we cannot attract the "best and brightest" without doing so.

And yet, the president of the US does not make as much money as just about any CEO of a national or international corporation. So why would someone run for that office? It cannot be that he equates money with power.

When I was young, teachers were paid pretty poorly. One wonders why people wanted to enter that profession at that time. Now they are paid more and our educational system seems wanting. Maybe we should have just kept the pay low and kept hiring those who wanted to teach.