• You are currently viewing our forum as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community, you will have access to additional post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), view blogs, respond to polls, upload content, and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free, so please join our community today! Just click here to register. You should turn your Ad Blocker off for this site or certain features may not work properly. If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us by clicking here.

Is money the root of all evil?

Burning Paradigm

Vibe Curator & Night Owl
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
1,969
MBTI Type
ENTP
Enneagram
731
Instinctual Variant
so/sp
We agree we need money and resources to survive. But, what do you think about the idea of money being the root of all evil?

My personal thoughts: It isn't a sin to be rich if it's genuinely earned, and there are times when money can reflect genuine value creation in business or other spheres. But, it's when we turn our fixations in life from the things that give us a more holistic sense of purpose and focus exclusively on the material that negative results come about. I wager this is the line of thinking most people have when they say or hear "Money is the root of all evil", but what do you guys think?
 

Siúil a Rúin

To the waters of the wild
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
13,267
MBTI Type
ISFP
Enneagram
496
Instinctual Variant
sx/sp
I think selfishness and disregard/harming of others is evil, and money serves as a great way to express that concretely.
 

Anantashesha

adishesha
Joined
Dec 3, 2017
Messages
4,545
MBTI Type
ISTP
Enneagram
648
Instinctual Variant
sp/sx
Evil is an intent, possessed by humans. Money cannot be inherently evil. Psychological mechanisms of shifting blame aside, the evil comes from the human that uses the item for nefarious ends. When this shifting of blame occurs, the individual points at money being the cause of their own evil, and being evil itself, instead of they. A more accurate question for me would be if money has a particular propensity to incite evil intentions, and further, whether or not that poses a problem. Folks go too far and brand it evil and vow off it entirely, but following that logic, anything that could incite evil (which is- many, many things) would be a 'bad' thing to partake in. Convenient items like knives, business arrangement, sex- these can be distorted into 'evil' things, so branding it evil and scooting away from it is not quite right either.

Money is a necessity for the world to run as we know it. Personally, I consider it a communicative device, and its utility lies in its capability to be standardized across many people (whether this is done well or no and the intentions behind it is an entirely different question. I'm leering at anything between the shit like movie theatres that bloat prices to high brow high society 7 star hotels that also bloat prices to ridiculous levels or things that sells a brand instead of selling a utility). We are able to trade items with money as the common denominator that can then be traded for other things. Money buys value, and that is where the value of money itself lies- in what value it can be traded for. My $40 is a worth a night of eating out, or whatever else I use it for. Without the medium of exchange, they literally are pieces of paper (or numbers on a screen)- that's no philosophical mumbo jumbo, just simple economics. I think that itself is not a 'bad' thing, it is convenient.


I think things go foul when money itself becomes a measure of Prestige, and that prestige itself becomes something that is valued by the individual and society. There is something going on here that I think is a mis-application of the value of money, where it is seen as valuable on its own, instead of being measured by goods and services of equal or comparable value it can be exchanged for (which is literally why money came to be in the first place).

That's how we have folks with bloated bank accounts and fancy cars sitting in a basement, unused. It literally is nothing- the money left untouched does not feed anyone, it does not fix anything, build anything, transport anything, or acquire anything. It's 'value' literally becomes nil. A vast majority of that unused money can vanish without negative repercussions to the livelihood of those in severe excess. However, it remains regardless, seemingly simply because $1.000.000.000 is a very, very nice number to look at for a variety of brain-deaddening and flashy reasons. I think that is a bad thing on various levels- cultural / sociological, moral / ethical, and economical which can go further into 9000 details of 90000 examples I won't paste here since it's too long and that's not the point of the thread.


I've had these thoughts bouncing around for quite a while. Thanks for letting me ramble.
 

John Catstentine

Hellblazer
Staff member
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
18,413
The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil ...that's not the same thing ime as money in and of itself.
 

silverknightgothic

i'm ready, aim and fire
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
4,986
MBTI Type
LEFV
Enneagram
461
Instinctual Variant
sx/sp
I think people are the root of all evil. Money is just a vehicle.

This is why we can't have nice things.
 

Lord Lavender

Bluered Trickster
Joined
Oct 21, 2016
Messages
5,786
MBTI Type
EVLF
Enneagram
739
Instinctual Variant
so/sp
I don't see money as the root of all evil but rather millions of years of evolution and Darwinist laws and money is just the modern incantation of this. For millions of years our ancestors had to be "evil" to a degree to survive (After all you wont survive if you give up your food or shelter to another in a non group structure at least) but now we have big enough brains to move up the Maslow's pyramid and ponder questions like "what is evil" where as our four legged forebears would just be like "I have food they don't I survive".

Evil though has many other roots in my opinion apart from money. Power is a big one as well as pleasure. Plus again evil just exists because we have big enough intelligence to think in abstract moral terms like that rather than *What can I eat".
 

Tellenbach

in dreamland
Joined
Oct 27, 2013
Messages
6,060
MBTI Type
ISTJ
Enneagram
6w5
Money and desire for stuff accounts for much of it, but not all. I think evil materializes only when that desire is acted on, so it's the lack of impulse control or the disregard for boundaries that's the problem.

Some people possess bad brain chemistry and delight in torturing little animals or causing harm to humans. That's another source of evil.
 

Vendrah

New forum night mode looks cool!
Joined
Mar 26, 2017
Messages
1,745
MBTI Type
NP
Enneagram
952
Burner said:
But, what do you think about the idea of money being the root of all evil?

Definitely not, only for those who are shortsighted.
Money is just an application, something else could be put in replacement.

My personal thoughts: It isn't a sin to be rich if it's genuinely earned, and there are times when money can reflect genuine value creation in business or other spheres.

Well, you seem to forgot that we don't live on a real meritocracy by any means; Ok, actually you don't since you used the word genuinely, and this genuinely earned is a rarity if we take it rigorously. It also depends how far you go to the rich word. Many humans mistake fortune as Godness, yup I made up that word, and believe they are the Gods on earth; But, well, regardless of beliefs, they are humans after all; Humans doesn't build pyramids alone, they need to work together to create one. Billionaires couldn't ever made a really big fortune even out of hard work, because they still are human after all. Their fortune is created based on the works of others, who goes forgotten, but they distort the value and use the "hey, money trades value flawlessly, everything value what moneys says, so if money say underpaid workers value nothing, they value nothing". Some millionaries, though, might be another story, but that depends a lot on the context.

People don't take the idea of meritocracy for real; I did have only a few readings (because even finding something that is a genuine argument for meritocracy and not something attacking the whole idea or just used as an excuse to defend the status quo and pride of some people) on it, and, if taken seriously, it is indeed complex.

Lord Lavender said:
I don't see money as the root of all evil but rather millions of years of evolution and Darwinist laws and money is just the modern incantation of this. For millions of years our ancestors had to be "evil" to a degree to survive (After all you wont survive if you give up your food or shelter to another in a non group structure at least)

You made a little bit of a common mistake here: See Darwinism only in the individual perspective, forgetting the group perspective entirely. Humans, as lots of animals, lives in terms of groups. In short, a group that is full of selfishness, evil and psychopathy is unlikely to survive. Groups that has people that eventually sacrifice themselves for others ends up saving the group and that interferes on the Darwin evolutionary theory, specially if they don't do that when they are young and do it after they had children.
 

Red Memories

Haunted Echoes
Joined
Jun 3, 2017
Messages
6,318
MBTI Type
ESFP
Enneagram
215
Instinctual Variant
sx/so
Money itself? No.

But money is power and power corrupts.
 

Cor Luctis

Between the Shadows
Staff member
Joined
Apr 18, 2010
Messages
26,599
MBTI Type
INTJ
Enneagram
5w6
Instinctual Variant
sp/sx
We agree we need money and resources to survive. But, what do you think about the idea of money being the root of all evil?

My personal thoughts: It isn't a sin to be rich if it's genuinely earned, and there are times when money can reflect genuine value creation in business or other spheres. But, it's when we turn our fixations in life from the things that give us a more holistic sense of purpose and focus exclusively on the material that negative results come about. I wager this is the line of thinking most people have when they say or hear "Money is the root of all evil", but what do you guys think?
There is much to unpack here. First, we need to remember that money is just a medium, the middleman of economic value. We can't eat it, wear it, live in it, drive it around, or do anything with it directly. (OK - someone at work makes origami out of dollar bills, but you get the idea.) It's what money gets us that is useful and enjoyable. So, are the things money can get us evil? Some certainly are. We can use money for everything from substances to abuse, to bribing public officials, to ordering a hit on our ex's new boyfriend. Many more things are good, though, like the necessities of life, artwork, entertainment, experiences. Money is then a tool like any other, that can be used for good for for ill.

Perhaps a clearer question is whether wealth or simply material possessions is the root of all evil. I have heard it said that it's the lack of money (read: resources) that leads to evil. Desperate people will often resort to desperate measures, but that seems closer to self-preservation than true evil, as the intent isn't to harm others but only to save oneself. Some focus on material goods and the money we need to obtain them is thus not only healthy but necessary. Without it, we perish, or live hopelessly barebones existences.

But what happens after all our basic needs and simplest wants are met? Some people want more than that, much more; more than they can use or enjoy in a lifetime. Is this evil or harmful? If it becomes wasteful, I consider that bad, if not exactly evil. I don't like to see things go to waste, especially when someone else might be able to use it. Then there is the question of how the person goes about obtaining this excess. Are they doing it at the expense of others? That would be bad also. You mention the notion of genuinely earning one's money/wealth, and that is certainly better than stealing or swindling to get it. But the opportunity to earn is also a value, and one that is not unrelated to preexisting wealth. People who start off wealthy, or at least in a wealthy family, have easier access to the resources (education, connections) that will lead to a high-paying job and the chance to earn that wealth.

How then if at all is evil connected to money or material wealth? I think greed is a big part of the answer. When people start wanting it for its own sake rather than for how it will enrich their daily lives, and when they get it at the expense of other people, that may be close to evil. This ties into the notion that resources are finite, and getting things is to some degree a zero sum game. Most societies nowadays ration things based on ability to pay, i.e. how much money the recipient or "customer" has. This can lead to a competitive greediness, in which people want to have more than their neighbors just for the sake of it. It can also lead to resentment on the part of people of limited means, who are unable to obtain many of the same things that the wealthy can obtain readily.

I suppose this may all be leading to the notion that the true evil lies not in money, or wealth, or the desire for it, but in income inequality. I wasn't intending to make a political statement with all of this, and enforcing equal income/wealth would hardly solve the problem, for reasons stated above. Income inequality severe enough to leave many without the basics of life, while others pursue wealth as a self-serving game may not be evil, but it certainly is not good.
 

Burning Paradigm

Vibe Curator & Night Owl
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
1,969
MBTI Type
ENTP
Enneagram
731
Instinctual Variant
so/sp
Guys. I'm aware our economic system isn't a meritocratic one. If you speak to me for two seconds, you know my political and economic views reflect that. In the OP, I was speaking strictly in an abstract sense; perhaps, I should've rephrased it and written "It isn't a sin to desire money if it's genuinely and honestly earned." This can apply to all socioeconomic brackets, and I wasn't trying to imply we live in a strictly or even a largely meritocratic system. Hopefully, that reframes and clarifies my viewpoint and what I'm trying to get at.
 

Cor Luctis

Between the Shadows
Staff member
Joined
Apr 18, 2010
Messages
26,599
MBTI Type
INTJ
Enneagram
5w6
Instinctual Variant
sp/sx
Guys. I'm aware our economic system isn't a meritocratic one. If you speak to me for two seconds, you know my political and economic views reflect that. In the OP, I was speaking strictly in an abstract sense; perhaps, I should've rephrased it and written "It isn't a sin to desire money if it's genuinely and honestly earned." This can apply to all socioeconomic brackets, and I wasn't trying to imply we live in a strictly or even a largely meritocratic system. Hopefully, that reframes and clarifies my viewpoint and what I'm trying to get at.
OK - a shorter answer: it isn't a sin to desire money, assuming it can be genuinely and honestly earned and not at the expense of others. It is, however, misguided. Better to desire the things that money can provide, and that will add meaning and joy to your life.
 

Red Memories

Haunted Echoes
Joined
Jun 3, 2017
Messages
6,318
MBTI Type
ESFP
Enneagram
215
Instinctual Variant
sx/so
OK - a shorter answer: it isn't a sin to desire money, assuming it can be genuinely and honestly earned and not at the expense of others. It is, however, misguided. Better to desire the things that money can provide, and that will add meaning and joy to your life.

I much prefer the adorable beanie boos I can get with said earned money :p
 

Lark

Active member
Joined
Jun 21, 2009
Messages
29,639
We agree we need money and resources to survive. But, what do you think about the idea of money being the root of all evil?

My personal thoughts: It isn't a sin to be rich if it's genuinely earned, and there are times when money can reflect genuine value creation in business or other spheres. But, it's when we turn our fixations in life from the things that give us a more holistic sense of purpose and focus exclusively on the material that negative results come about. I wager this is the line of thinking most people have when they say or hear "Money is the root of all evil", but what do you guys think?

Maybe the "love of money" is wicked rather than money per se.

Like the love of any dead thing, goes against the natural biophilious nature/essence I think we all possess and takes you down the opposite road towards the necrophilious/death driven existence, through entropy and atrophy in your character. At least that's how I understand psychological evil.

Though money is only meant to be a medium. Its not meant to have intrinsic value. Its only meant to have an exchange value but its grown to have an intrinsic value. That's more within the realm of economics though than moral psychology or moral philosophy, which I think is the more appropriate point of reference when you are talking about good and evil. In economics there's less good and evil as unintended consequences.
 

Lark

Active member
Joined
Jun 21, 2009
Messages
29,639
I think selfishness and disregard/harming of others is evil, and money serves as a great way to express that concretely.

I agree in so far as psychopathy, sadism, similar empathy fails are an extreme variety of selfishness.

The whole harm prohibition version of ethics is a good idea, I think, although lately I've been considering that virtue ethics could be a legit rival and possibly even superior.

Though as I understand it this is because virtue is congruent with human essence.
 

Lark

Active member
Joined
Jun 21, 2009
Messages
29,639
Guys. I'm aware our economic system isn't a meritocratic one. If you speak to me for two seconds, you know my political and economic views reflect that. In the OP, I was speaking strictly in an abstract sense; perhaps, I should've rephrased it and written "It isn't a sin to desire money if it's genuinely and honestly earned." This can apply to all socioeconomic brackets, and I wasn't trying to imply we live in a strictly or even a largely meritocratic system. Hopefully, that reframes and clarifies my viewpoint and what I'm trying to get at.

Sure, there's such a thing as legitimate self interest and it can involve earnings and money.

Even the most altruistic, reciprocity or even communistic values are going to have to admit some degree of self-interest or conceive of their thinking as ultimately valid because they serve that end. We are all an individual self at the end of the day and not a hive mind and I do not understand why anyone would want it any other way.

Though, I dont think risks and rewards reflect merit, even if they did I would not think that the ultimate arbitrator/determinant of value, there is intrinsic value too besides someone or something's utility, usefulness of the moment etc.

I would not want to take part in a race where they killed the last three to finish and rewarded the first three fabulous wealth, even if I could not tell if I would be in either category, had an equal chance of being in either category etc.
 

Lark

Active member
Joined
Jun 21, 2009
Messages
29,639
OK - a shorter answer: it isn't a sin to desire money, assuming it can be genuinely and honestly earned and not at the expense of others. It is, however, misguided. Better to desire the things that money can provide, and that will add meaning and joy to your life.

Yeah, it should not be an end in itself, rather a means to an end.

However, even in that respect money could be a great facilitator of evil ends. Such as when destitution compels someone to do the bidding of a sadistic other who objectifies them, mistreats, exploits or kills them. At other times there have been other mediums than money but money is perhaps the latest and greatest example I can think of. Drugs/narcotics could be another.

Plus, I would add, there is a difference between the way someone who has nothing or has nothing could be tempted by the love of money, and someone who is an old money legacy experiencing gross corruption because they envious of other similarly rich people out ranking them in the Fortune Five Hundred. At least I think so. Unashamed champion of the underdogs in the class struggle though.
 

Tomb1

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
Messages
831
I don't reach an answer to that question because the good/evil either/or parsing of reality is baloney and doesn't reflect actual knowledge about the world or the people in it. Good/evil is an overly-simplistic dichotomization which may carry, for many, social/practical utility but at the end of the day is just another human construct that doesn't exist in reality.
 

Virtual ghost

Complex paradigm
Joined
Jun 6, 2008
Messages
15,879
I am pretty sure a man can do horrible things without having any money and for the reasons that wouldn't provide him with money.


Therefore the most problematic word in the title is "all".
 
Top