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Is money the root of all evil?

anticlimatic

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It's value, quantified. NBD really.

Greed is a weakness, not an evil. Christians have it on their list of "deadly" sins, if im not mistaken- a warning oriented to the individual, as everyone is susceptible to greed. It's a consequence of human nature and a temptation that will unintuitively lead an individual to ruin. Much time is spent on how greed harms the non-greedy- which is rubbish. Greed harms the greedy the most.
 

тень

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No, humanity/human nature is the root of all evil. Failure to acknowledge our animal desires within society, and people. Is a failure to recognize our potential for evil, no matter the circumstances. Evil will always exist, and sprout even from the best intentions.
 

Siúil a Rúin

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If money is the root of all evil, then I must be a saint.
:D:D:D
 

Doctor Anaximander

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I don't know, but I think we were much better off when we bartered with items and services of substantial value, before we moved to credit and paper/gold backed currency. Once attainment of an abstract marker of value became the name of the game, I think greed really spiraled out of control and people started becoming more in it for themselves.
 

Anantashesha

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I don't know, but I think we were much better off when we bartered with items and services of substantial value, before we moved to credit and paper/gold backed currency. Once attainment of an abstract marker of value became the name of the game, I think greed really spiraled out of control and people started becoming more in it for themselves.

Greed will find a way. They'll hoard all the goats and charge three chickens, a cow, and your daughter's hand in marriage for a bottle of goat milk. It's already happened with diamonds and god knows what else.

I get your point though, I like it. Money has become its own value instead of being valued for its buying power.
 

Cor Luctis

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Greed will find a way. They'll hoard all the goats and charge three chickens, a cow, and your daughter's hand in marriage for a bottle of goat milk. It's already happened with diamonds and god knows what else.

I get your point though, I like it. Money has become its own value instead of being valued for its buying power.
Before money, it was gold, silver, gemstones, and other things that had value primarily as tokens. You can't eat, wear, or travel in those any more than you can in currency. You have to exchange them for other things.
 

Doctor Anaximander

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Greed will find a way. They'll hoard all the goats and charge three chickens, a cow, and your daughter's hand in marriage for a bottle of goat milk. It's already happened with diamonds and god knows what else.

I get your point though, I like it. Money has become its own value instead of being valued for its buying power.

Yes. It's really become about the status that comes with wealth. But as you note, that's not something new.
 

ceecee

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Apparently, greed doesn't really harm anyone but the greedy. The amount of mental gymnastics, not to mention a totally fucked up moral and value system, required to type that is mindblowing.

But if you're looking for what is evil, look to see who the greed apologists are and what they're saying.
 

Kephalos

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It's a problem that one cannot not want money or wealth, if only to physically survive, because most things that people need and desire can only be obtained in exchange for money. Money stands for what you can desire, and there's theoretically no numerical limit to how much money you can obtain. So people tell themselves that they need money to pursue money in order to pursue their goals, but there's a thin line between pursuing money to pursue your goals and simply doing something in order to make money. Pursuing money convinces individual people and organizations to compromise on ethical and legal principles -- and that's when money is the cause of evil. Another layer of the problem is that we exist in markets where other people and organizations compete with us -- others are, like us, pursuing money by doing the same things we are doing which increases the pressure to compromise integrity for money.
 

Falcon112

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How could money be the root of evil if there were "sinners" long before the capitalism era?
I'm not sure whether there is such a thing like "evil" at all. We probably should start with the definition as we may have different points of view. Is it something with negative consequences balance? How to measure it? From whose perspective? Or maybe it is something done against someone's moral code? But still, whose moral code? Mine? The society's? Against the law? What if the law is "evil" itself - how can we tell it then?
We have some intuition what is "good" and "bad", but our morals might just have behavioristic roots. So we think that the "evil" is something we would be punished for by our early environment, isn't it like that? So I think that the praise-punishment system is to be blamed for the "evil" in general. This assumption should cover the minor ones (like - personality traits, lack of thoughtfulness, lack of an ability to predict consequences of our actions). To make it even more general, I could say that our biology is to be blamed.
 

Lark

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How could money be the root of evil if there were "sinners" long before the capitalism era?
I'm not sure whether there is such a thing like "evil" at all. We probably should start with the definition as we may have different points of view. Is it something with negative consequences balance? How to measure it? From whose perspective? Or maybe it is something done against someone's moral code? But still, whose moral code? Mine? The society's? Against the law? What if the law is "evil" itself - how can we tell it then?
We have some intuition what is "good" and "bad", but our morals might just have behavioristic roots. So we think that the "evil" is something we would be punished for by our early environment, isn't it like that? So I think that the praise-punishment system is to be blamed for the "evil" in general. This assumption should cover the minor ones (like - personality traits, lack of thoughtfulness, lack of an ability to predict consequences of our actions). To make it even more general, I could say that our biology is to be blamed.

If morality is only a matter of behaviourism or conditioning then how and why did it become emergent in the first place to go on and become normative? Any reductionist suggestion that morality is a product of social engineering largely falls down when you ask the question who are the engineers? Unless the questioning of morality and the suggestion of conditioning by some shady, sketchy engineers is the whole point in the first place, which I find ridiculous.

I am willing to admit that some sorts of behaviourism and conditioning exist, even that it is simultaneously unconscious and conscious/deliberate, but it is as a consequence of class struggles, a long history of scarcity, rather than post-scarcity, which can be a result of social atrophy and social entropy or a sort of social "maturational crisis". Although, not all morality boils down to social norms. There is an objective order besides human understanding or comprehension of the same. This applies to psychology and morality as much as physical or natural science.

I think that evil and good have a relationship to psychology, developmental psychology and an objective human nature/essence. Some of its got to do with the conflict between essence and existence, there are limits to human adaptation, being perfectly adjusted to an existence which is divorced from human essence will result in illness and sometimes the first sign of it is behaviour traditionally thought of as wicked or evil. If you're interested in these ideas then I'd recommend Midgely or Fromm.
 

Infinite Metamorphosis

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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?
The possession of money aside - when I hear "money is the root of all evil" I interpret it as though it means precisely what it says, which causes me to not believe it.

I could go back and forth with people about our ideas pertaining to evil/good all day, but this excerpt is from the Bible and the Bible has its own definition. How is evil defined? That matters. I mean, it's basically saying that money is the root of everything the Bible deems evil.

One thing the Bible deems evil is fornication. Do I believe people are only having sex without marriage because of money? No.

The Bible calls adultery evil. Is that rooted in money? Not always.

How can money be the root of all evil, therefore?

Furthermore...if Johnny shoots Suzy and murders her for no reason, was the gun the root of (what the Bible calls) evil? Were the gas chambers the root of Hitler's Jewish genocide?

I think this is yet one more oversimplification. I think the Bible offers many of those.
 

Firebird 8118

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I don’t think money itself is the problem. Greed is. Greed ensures we never stay satisfied with whatever we have. And if it’s not greed, then it’s the fear of losing what we already have that makes us want to earn more...

Either way, it’s a downward spiral.
 

Infinite Metamorphosis

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I don’t think money itself is the problem. Greed is. Greed ensures we never stay satisfied with whatever we have. And if it’s not greed, then it’s the fear of losing what we already have that makes us want to earn more...

Either way, it’s a downward spiral.
A quick disclaimer first so that my intentions here aren't misunderstood - I'm just going to challenge this idea. I mean no disrespect and my attitude is not one that's conflict oriented, so I hope it's not taken as such and I hope you don't mind me debating/challenging it. I just love religion as a topic and I get enthusiastic. In other words, I'm not challenging or being combative toward you, but rather, the concept. This is not because I disagree even necessarily, nor is it intended to stampede over / invalidate your thoughts. (When I challenge concepts/ideas people share, sometimes it's seen as me being combative even though it's not how I see things. I see concepts/ideas as separate objects, not as personal associations with people.)

I've shared the same thoughts as you here before, but at some point I started thinking differently. It's so easy to look at someone else and go, "well this is greed, if they cared about other people more then they wouldn't do X, Y, Z." The problem is...you don't know what they've been through and how those experiences have molded their beliefs and perceptions of the world. You don't know whether they grew up being taught that was right, you don't know whether it was an adaptation to survive, you don't know if they even believe decent human beings exist at all--how can they think about others deserving better treatment if they don't even know good people exist? There are people who have never felt what it's like to be loved, people who believe the world is basically a hostile environment.

Then if you look into other things like narcissism, which is heavily on the rise, you begin to understand that the cause of it is from childhood development combined with temperament (personality) / genetic factors. More specifically, it often develops from parenting that promotes achievement without tending to the child's emotional needs, and not being taught empathy. This is not necessarily the fault of the parents, and sometimes you do have good parents who end up with narcissistic children still. We also know that very few are actually able to change in adulthood, even with efforts. Some may think, "well these are the minorities / exceptions, most people aren't narcissistic" which is true, but at the same time, if you look at many of the most successful politicians, CEOs, celebrities, and other successful and wealthy people, you find that many of them are narcissistic. In fact, that's the very reason why a lot of them have risen to their success. Narcissists are more motivated than others to go, "hey, look at me, I'm great, right?" They often have a high drive to be successful because of their narcissism--and not just successful, but the best, the greatest. Therefore, narcissists are often those rich people we see being "greedy." When they try to change with the help of professionals, most of them can't, and they find that they just can't genuinely care despite their efforts. Does all of this come from greed, or is it the result of human defect?

One more point I'd like to add that would probably trigger most believers, but I'll say it anyway because I'm more interested in truth and facts than censoring myself to shelter peoples' feelings...
If it's something that comes from defect rather than greed (presuming that being greedy or not is a choice like the Bible suggests) - is it the child's fault they were raised in the way they were? Is it their fault this is how their development went? Did they choose it? Of course not. Yet, again, very few are able to ever change. Thus, if the child became this way because of conditions outside of their control, and usually cannot gain control...how is greed the root cause? Wouldn't God then be to blame for allowing those circumstances to develop them in that way?
 

indra

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“No one is an island”

Einstein has taught us that all matter exists in fundamental relation outside itself. Under the tent of reality is a circus act of balance, a chaotic see-saw of give and take.

Reality itself then, at its core, is a currency.

Whoever caged us is truly evil.
 

tony_goth

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Even without any standardized currency, some sort of money existed since the existence of private property. Even bartering used an implicit and subjective currency (i.e. value measure) we had in our brains.

Private property is... private. And it gives some power/right/privilege/liberty which is private, i.e. everyone else wouldn't use it without your permission. It means : you posess an house, everyone else in the world does not posess it.

You have a gas cylinder and a lighter. You can kill people on purpose with that.

You have a car. You can kill people on purpose with that.

You have sleep pills. You can kill people on purpose with that.

Everyone can kill anybody
, it's just not their interest because they'll be put in jail if they do. That's why it rarely happens at least at your scale.

I mean, private property is a power. With any power comes a responsibility. You've got a power. If you do wish to abuse it, there will probably not be any divinity preventing you to do it and divinities will usually let you make some evil with that even if these divinities won't like it and if your conscience had warned you. Believers might think divinities will give they would be given some sort of punishment (e.g. by letting someone else revoking some of their privileges).

But no private property except for your ability to have evil intentions is required to have evil intentions. Other private properties, including money and what you can do with it, will just give you the possibility to express your evil intentions materially.

Therefore, as money may reveal your evil (as a stocktrading trainer said to me), it is certainly not its strict and very root.
 

Kanra Jest

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A thing is never the root of all evil. Such foolishness. A thing is never evil. Period. THOSE who channel such things, however, are. By and large.
 

Indigo Rodent

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Money allows to make people entitled to consumption. For example without money a disabled person could depend on whims of the society. For example the food owners could decide that people who don't work shouldn't be able to eat, but because there is money, one can buy food even if disabled or unemployed as long as the government decides to make appropriate provisions.
 
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