The Root Of All Evil

For thousands of years those of a moralistic and idealistic persuasion have denounced “materialism”. Those of an acquisitive or cynical persuasion have retorted that “materialism” can invariably be translated as “someone else’s money”, and asked how one is expected to be hostile to the wherewithal of life. After all, the fowls of the air, who are allegedly fed by God, seem to the eye of unbelief to take quite a lot of thought for the gathering of resources. And yet economic resources are not quite identical with “money”. The point of money is long-term storage and exchange; in a state of nature, on the other hand, you must hunt and gather continuously, or die. It is hard to dominate a hunter-gatherer society without regular contributions to the pot and other demonstrations of personal prowess and merit. The millennia of grousing about money probably represent the protest of our animal wiring against the way that this new-fangled money stuff uncouples deserts and reward. It is not that we want all men to be equal in material rewards, but that we want the alpha to be on top where he belongs, rather than some runt who by pure dumb luck managed to steal or inherit some pelf.

Posted on June 17, 2009 at 11:00 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, The Monkey Agenda

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