St. Pauls voice thunders down the centuries: the love of money is
the root of all evil!
Oh yeah? Lets see.
Money is the most liquid form of wealth, the form most readily converted
into other forms. All forms of wealth are convertible to one another through
money. The alchemist dream of turning lead into gold is easy to accomplish
with money: sell lead, buy gold. So money can stand in for all wealth
in our thinking. To love money is to love wealth.
Is wealth important?
Well, wealth is what you eat. Wealth is the table you eat it from. Wealth
is what you wear on your back, live in, sleep on and ride around in. It
serves your life, and you cant live without it. Wealth is important.
Is wealth a value?
Well, a value is what serves life. This is just a re-statement of the
principle that life is the standard of value. Wealth serves your life.
Wealth is a value.
Is wealth a moral value?
Well, a moral value is a value that must be recommended to all, a value
that is not optional, a value that everyone should value. A value no man
can live without is evidently a moral value.
Wealth is a moral value.
As you see, this is the simplest conclusion in the world. It follows easily
from evident premises. It needs no laborious study of weighty tomes-merely
a moments thought, and a mental check mark. It also runs smack into
the prejudices and half-truths of millenia!
To love wealth is to love what it makes possible. And what is that? Life
is what wealth makes possible; wealth is the gamut of material things
that serve human life. To love wealth is to love life.
So Pauls doctrine amounts to this: the love of life is the root
of all evil. Anyone care to agree with that?
If you do, you land in trouble, big time! It commits you to saying that
life is evil! In that case, what on Earth is your standard of good and
evil-and why are you still here?
Paul was mistaken. Wealth is a good thing, and a means to good things;
you gotta love it!
Wealth is so tightly connected to self-interest that a man who scorns
one will be driven to scorn the other. Anti-wealth breeds anti-selfishness.
Anti-selfishness breeds anti-wealth. This creates a logic jam; the two
errors support each other.
The cure is obvious: uphold wealth in the name of egoism. To do this,
it isnt enough simply to say wealth is good. We must say something
about what it is good for.
Those who say money cant buy happiness and love just dont
know how to shop! Money can buy all sorts of things which can make you
happier and more loveable. The list of possibilities is as long as the
list of human values. Anything from a toy to a business to a painting
could contribute to happiness. Loveableness could be enhanced by anything
from a course of lectures on ethics to a stick of deodorant! Of course,
these are just wisecrack retorts to wisecrack slurs, but they point to
a deeper truth.
Money isnt everything? In a sense money is everything, every value.
For a start, it is a means to everything which is for sale-other forms
of wealth. When you think about how much of your time is spent earning
the wealth you need, a new perspective on money opens up.
Money can buy time off work.
So what? So you can use that time off work for anything you can do, you
can devote it to any value whatever. So money can buy any value whatever!
You can use time off work to do (or to discover) the things that make
you happy, or to seek love. So we conclude, astonishingly to conventional
wisdom, that money is everything, money can buy happiness, money can buy
love, love of money is the root of whatever you regard as good.
This is no debating trick; it is a matter of everyday experience. You
prove it anew every time you say, Id love to do X, but I cant
afford the time.
Wealth releases your abilities from other uses, and lets you direct them
to whatever value pleases you. Wealth is as versatile a value as your
And more! When you live in society, your wealth is as versatile as the
abilities of everyone in that society! What you cannot do yourself, you
can pay others to do.
Maybe you dont have the ability to play a tune, but you can hire
a musician. By doing so, you help to make music possible-by freeing potential
musicians from the necessity of milking cows or hoeing potatoes for a
living! It is no accident that the arts have flourished in prosperous
eras, and languished in poverty-stricken eras.
Wealth releases ability. Another word for ability is power.
Wealth is power! In the first place, and fundamentally, it is your own
power. But it is also the power of anyone you can come to terms with.
Wealth is not power over men, wealth is the power of men.
Wealth is good, and-within limits so broad that the far edge has never
been seen-more wealth is better. The greater your wealth, the greater
your scope of action, the greater the range of values to which you can
aspire, and the better your life.
After the centuries of bad-mouthing wealth has suffered, will it be easy
to convince men that wealth is a moral value? Not at first, but by all
means tell them.
Once stated, right ideas spread uncontrollably, bypassing their opponents,
and strengthening the good guys who do accept them. In time the good guys
and right ideas win. This fact has been the despair of despotisms throughout
Wealth is power is a right idea. Wealth is a moral value
is a right idea.
While others make up their minds about them, you can make your fortune-with
the delighted blessing of an eager conscience.
Then, when enough of the others have caught on, youll have a free
country in which to enjoy your fortune. For the moral status of wealth
is the root of property rights, and hence of capitalism.
You neednt despair at the bad-mouthing of wealth-you can become
a Quackgrass activist! Copy this article! Keep the original for future
copies. Paper meetings with it! Paper your office! Leave a stack on your
business counter! If you expect hostility, use stealth and cunning-itll
drive your opponents wild! Be ingenious! Have fun!