When the Means Becomes the End
Good one, Jon! Very warm and fuzzy. Damn near euphoric.
So what do you think about capitalism?
What about greed? Is that something those into the money-as-a-tool philosophy should just ignore, kinda like background noise. Does greed have no effect on the enlightened? Are the filthy rich okay?
What about inheritance? With each successive generation, wealth accumulates for some while many more struggle to make ends meet. Families pass on their riches to their progeny while many have nothing to pass on. Meanwhile, the wealthy can afford to lobby against the dreaded Death Tax.
How does inequality play into money-as-a-tool? Is that not a fair question? Is this a question about fairness or is it about money?
Money is symbolic. It’s a universal medium of exchange. What does money represent? Its value is as a way and means to do things. That’s how it is seen as a tool. If you have it, you can do things. If you don’t, you can’t. In that sense money is freedom. Conversely, lack of money is slavery.
People need more money as a means to do more things. But people don’t know exactly what it is they want to do. So money magically transforms from a means to an end. This is the central problem that you see, but you may not have conceptualized it. At least you did not state it flat out in your essay.
Identifying the problem is important. It must be recognized so it can be addressed directly. Motivation is key. If people don’t need more money, if they don’t know exactly what they want to do with their excess money, they will likely succumb to greed. Money is no longer the tool — the means to an end. It is the end.
Thus, ironically, the tool that enables freedom comes to enslave the greedy.
What’s the point of all this? Acknowledgement of the issue. Greed is the central problem with money. Now, what can be done about it?
This is not a rhetorical question. Our very survival as a species could depend on discovering the solution. What can be done about greed?