"Money has ever posed problems. Not even Love, said Gladstone, has made so many fools of men. Throughout time the most obvious but universal dilemma-that there is never enough of it-has confounded everyone, from mendicants to monarchs, and their ministers."
"Money is the most important thing in the world. It represents health, strength, honour, generosity and beauty as conspicuously and undeniably as the want of it represents illness, weakness, disgrace, meanness and ugliness."
-George Bernard Shaw
"Riches leave a man always as much and sometimes more exposed than before to anxiety, to fear and to sorrow."
Theory of Moral Sentiments
"It may seem paradoxical, but what I am saying is that our lives have become a hell not because money is too important to us, but because, in a certain sense, it is not important enough."
Money and the Meaning of Life
-17th century proverb
"The use of money is all the advantage there is in having money."
"The richer your friends, the more they will cost you."
-Elisabeth Marbury (1856-1933)
"Money is good for bribing yourself through the inconveniences of life."
"Money is often lost for want of money."
-17th Century proverb
"Money is like sex in one respect: most people understand it, but not too well."
-Anthony M. Reinach
"We're out of money; it's time to think."
"Too much money makes one mad."
-17th century proverb
"No man ever had enough money."
"What is the use of money if you have to work for it.?"
-George Bernard Shaw
Man and Superman
"In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy._
"God divided the hand into fingers so that money could slip through."
"He that is of the opinion Money will do every thing may well be suspected of doing every Thing for Money."
"In this century the problem of getting money, though it remains considerable, has diminished. In its place has come a new uncertainty as to what money, however acquired and accumulated, will be worth. Once, to have an income reliably denominated in money was thought, as by Mr. Slope, to be very comfortable. Of late, to have a fixed income is to be thought liable to impoverishment that may not be slow. What has happened to money?"
John Kenneth Galbraith
Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went
"The predominant impulse behind our desire to rise in the social hierarchy may be rooted not so much in the material goods we can accrue or the power we can wield as in the amount of love we stand to receive as a consequence of high status. Money, fame and influence may be valued more as tokens of-and means to-love rather than ends in themselves."
Alain de Botton
"....Those who talk of money and teach about it and make their living by it gain prestige, esteem and pecuniary return, as does a doctor or a witch doctor, from cultivating the belief that they are in privileged association with the occult-that they have insights that are nowise available to the ordinary person. Though professionally rewarding and personally profitable, this too is a well-established form of fraud. There is nothing about money that cannot be understood by the person of reasonable curiosity, diligence and intelligence...."
John Kenneth Galbraith
Money: Whence It Came, Where it Went
"Too much money makes people stupid ,dull, unseeing and uninteresting, Be careful."
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller
(advice given to young Nelson by his Mother)
The complex mechanisms of the Modern World depend as certainly on the faith in money as the structures of the medieval world, depended upon faith in God."
Lewis H. Lapham
"There is no problem about money, except who has it."
Governor of the Bank of England (1931)
"Nothing is more humiliating and degrading than continued lack of money. Any man subjected to it for a long time, condemned to impotence in the face of the slow disintegration of things, ends by degenerating and becoming brutalized."
"Money is the root of all good."
"The final battle for Christianity will be over the money problem, and until that is solved there can be no universal application of Christianity."
Henry de Balzac
"Money becomes evil not when it is used to buy goods but when it is used to buy power....economic inequalities become evil when they are translated into political inequalities."
"Money, too, dreams of love, It’s tired of being crumpled in our pockets, insulted and maligned, blamed for everything that’s wrong. Money didn’t ask us to run up these debts, thinking money would save us. Money knows nothing will save us."
"We are frequently led into error by mistaking money for riches; we think that a people cannot be impoverished by a waste of money that is spent among themselves."
Of the Decline of Nations 1767
" I am not quite sure what the advantage is in having a few more dollars to spend if the air is too dirty to breathe, the water too polluted to drink, the commuters are losing out in the struggle to get in and out of the city, the streets are filthy, and the schools so bad that the young perhaps wisely stay away, and the hoodlums roll citizens for some of the money they saved in the tax cut."
John Kenneth Galbraith
"In the community regulated only by laws of demands and supply, but protected from open violence, the persons who become RICH are, generally speaking, industrious, resolute, proud, covetous, prompt, methodical, sensible, unimaginative, insensitive, and ignorant.
The persons who remain POOR are the entirely foolish, the entirely wise, the idle, the reckless, the humble, the thoughtful, the dull, the imaginative, the sensitive, the well-informed, the improvident, the irregularly and impulsively wicked, the clumsy knave, the open thief, and the entirely merciful, just , and godly person."
John Ruskin 1862
"No one is content with his fortune, nor discontent with his intellect."
Madame Deshoulieres (1634-94)
"That which exists for me through the medium of ‘money’ , that which
I can pay for (i.e. which money can buy), that ‘I am," the possessor of
the money. The properties of money are my own (the possessor’s) properties and
faculties. What I ‘am’ and can ‘do’ is, therefore, not at all determined
by my individuality. I ‘am’ ugly, but I can buy the most beautiful woman for
myself. Consequently, I am not ‘ugly’, for the effect of ugliness, its power
to repel, is annulled by money. As an individual I am ‘lame’, but money
provides me with twenty-four legs. Therefore, I am not lame. I am a detestable,
dishonorable, unscrupulous and stupid man, but money is honored and so its
possessor is good. Besides, money saves me the trouble of being dishonest;
therefore I am presumed honest. I am ‘stupid,’ but since money is ‘the
real mind’ of all things, how should its possessor be stupid? Moreover, he can
buy talented people for himself, and it is not he who has power over the
talented more talented than they? I who can have, through the power of money,
‘everything’ for which the human heart longs, do I not possess all human
abilities? Does not my money, therefore, transform all my incapacities into
Early Writings translated and edited by T.B. Bottomore….(London 1963)
"So the whole point of my ‘idea’ is that money is the only road that can take a man to the ‘top’, the only force that can propel him there, even if he’s a mediocrity. I, for instance, may not necessarily be a mediocrity, but when I look at my face in a mirror, I realize that my quite ordinary face is definitely a handicap. But if I were as rich as Rothschild, who would stop to look at my face? And if I just whistled, wouldn’t thousands of women come rushing to offer me their charms? Indeed, I’m absolutely convinced that in the end they would sincerely think that I was the handsomest of men. I suppose I’m quite intelligent. But even if my brain power were ten times that of any average man, I am sure there’d always be someone around whose brain power was eleven times the average, and what would become of me then? But if I were Rothschild, that fellow with the brain to the eleventh power would be no rival to me, for they wouldn’t even give him a chance to open his mouth when I was around. I may be witty, but if a Talleyrand or a Piron came along, my wit would appear dull in comparison with theirs. But if I were Rothschild, where would Piron or even Talleyrand be if they tried to outshine me? Money confers despotic power upon a man, but the same time it is the greatest equalizer, that’s where its main force lies: money eradicates all inequalities."
"The very rich have an obligation to the rest of the world to amuse us. In an age when too many of the rich are over-modest, running around in mini-cars and wearing fake jewelry, I applaud the Richard Burtons for spending their money in the grand manner."
Anne Scott James
"As a law of nature, wealth tends to separate everybody"
"The diligent hand makes Rich."
William Penn (advice to his children)
"As neither beauty, nor grace, nor kindness, nor cleverness, nor virtue can compensate for lack of money."
"The gods are those who either have money or do not want it."
$ workers earn it,
$ Spendthrifts burn it,
$ Bankers lend it,
$ Women spend it,
$ Forgers fake it,
$ Taxes take it
$ Heirs receive it,
$ Thrifty save it,
$ Misers crave it,
$ Rich increase it,
$ Gamblers lose it…..
I Could Use It.
"Wealth , in the strict sense of the word, that is, great superfluity, can do little for our happiness; and many rich people feel unhappy just because they are without any true mental culture or knowledge, and consequently have no objective interests which would qualify them for intellectual occupations."
"Money is never spent to so much advantage as when you have been cheated out of it; for at one stroke you have purchased prudence."
"People are often reproached for wishing for money above all things, and for loving it more than anything else; but it is natural and even inevitable for people to love that which, like an unwearied Proteus, is always ready to turn itself into whatever object their wandering wishes or manifold desires may for the moment fix upon. Everything else can satisfy only one wish, one need; food is good only if you are hungry; wine, if you are able to enjoy it; drugs, if you are sick; furs for the winter; love for youth, and so on. These are all only relatively good. Money alone is absolutely good, because it is not only a concrete satisfaction of one need in particular; it is an abstract satisfaction of all."
"We shall be able to afford to dare to assess the money-motive at its true value. The love of money as a possession ….will be recognized for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease. All kinds of social customs and economic practices, affecting the distribution of wealth and of economic rewards and penalties, which we now maintain at all costs, however distasteful and unjust they may be in themselves, because they are tremendously useful in promoting the accumulation of capital, we shall then be free, at last, to discard….We shall once more value ends above means and prefer the good to the useful. We shall honour those who can teach us how to pluck the hour and the day virtuously and well, the delightful people who are capable of taking direct enjoyment in things….But, of course, it will happen gradually, not as a catastrophe. Indeed, it has already begun."
John Maynard Keynes
(it seems to be happening ever so gradually) aa
"To suppose as we all suppose, that we could be rich and not behave the way the rich behave, is like supposing that we could drink all day and stay sober."
"Better authentic mammon than a bogus god."
"Misunderstandings about money have been, and continue to be, intentional."
"As a general rule, nobody has money who ought to have it."
"If you want to know what a man is really like, take notice how he acts when he loses his money."
New England Proverb
"Money helps, though not so much as you think when you don’t have it."
"Politics, war, marriage, crime, adultery. Every thing exists in the world has something to do with money."
"In our culture we make heroes of the men who sit on top of a heap of money, and we pay attention not only to what they say in their field of competence, but to their wisdom on every other question in the world."
"Money is the alienated essence of man’s work and existence; this essence dominates him and he worships it."
Karl Marx "The Capacity of the present day Jews & Christians to become free" (1884)
"Scope is everything when it comes to money. Imagination and scope. You lack either of these two things and you can’t make moral decisions, or so I’ve always thought. It sounds contemptible, but think about it, It’s not contemptible. Money is power to feed the hungry. To clothe the poor. But you have to know that."
Memnoch the Devil
"The general conclusion is that wealth and power have never been long permanent in any place…..and that they travel over the face of the earth, something like a caravan of merchants. On their arrival everything is found green and fertile; while they remain, all is bustle and abundance, and, when gone, all is left trampled down, barren and bare."
William Playfair (An enquiry into the Permanent Causes of the Decline and Fall of Powerful and Wealth nations….1805)
"Save a little money each month and at the end of the year you’ll be surprised at how little you have."
"Saving is a very fine thing. Especially when your parents have done it for you."
Sir Winston Churchill
"Money is one of the shatteringly
simplifying ideas of all time
…..it creates its own revolution."
Paul J. Bohannan
"It is easier to write on money than to obtain it, and those who gain it, jest much at those who only know how to write about it."
"The thing that differentiates man from animals is money."
"Money alone sets all the world in motion."
"Money ranks as one of the primary materials with which mankind builds the architecture of civilization."
"Money, like number and law, is a category of thought."
"We invented money and we use it, yet we cannot….understand its laws or control its actions. It has a life of its own."
"We are undone, my dear sir, if legislation is still permitted which makes our money, much or little, real or imaginary, as the moneyed interests shall choose to make it."
"From now on depressions will be scientifically created."
Charles A. Lindbergh SR. Congressman 1923
"There is no proletarian, not even Communist, movement, that has not operated in the interests of money, in the direction indicated by money, and for the time being permitted by money-and that without the idealists among its leaders having the slightest suspicion of the fact."
Decline of the West
"Perhaps only the rich can afford to be truly frugal."
"Thus much of this will make black white, foul fair, wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant….This yellow slave will knit and break religions, bless the accursed, make the hoar leprosy adored, place thieves and give them titles, knee and approbation with senators on the bench: this is it that makes the wappen’d widow wed again; she, whom the spital-house and ulcerous sores would cast the gore at, this embalms and spices to the April day again."
"No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he only had good intentions. He had money as well."
"The moment a man gets money so many men are trying to get it away from him that in a little while he regards the whole human race as his enemy and he generally thinks that they could be rich too if they only attend to business as he has. Understand, I am not blaming these people….We must remember that these rich men are naturally produced. Do not blame them. Blame the system."
A Lay Sermon
"The greatest waste of money is to keep it."
"It is a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money."
"Everything in the world may be endured except continual prosperity."
"I’ve always felt that if you could develop an answer to a need, this was the way to make money. Most people are more anxious to make money than they are to find a need. And without the need you’re working uphill."
"Money can be translated into the Beauty of living, a support in misfortune, an education, or future security. It can also be translated into a source of Bitterness."
"To be in business you must generate a profit , otherwise, its called volunteering."
Susan W. Antal
"My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income."
"There is no wealth but life."
"Money is human happiness in the abstract: he, then, who is no longer capable of enjoying human happiness in the concrete devotes himself utterly to money."
"To be clever enough to get a great deal of money, one must be stupid enough to want it."
"The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated."
"Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody."
"The rich aren’t like us; they pay less taxes."
Peter De Vries
"It is the wretchedness of being rich that you have to live with rich people."
Logan Pearsall Smith
"Ready money is Aladdin’s lamp."
"What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do."
"This was odd but nonetheless true: in a great democracy, where political power depended upon information and every interest clamored for it, the American culture had repressed the knowledge of money. There is no other way to describe the mass ignorance or explain it accept as a collective blacking out."
Secrets of the Temple
"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at those he gave it too."
Farmers Almanac June 1991
"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone."
"Money will pass away. Even now we are able to realize the futility of money. Had we not become the arsenal of the world, and thus staved off the gigantic collapse of our economic system, we might have witnessed the spectacle of the richest nation on earth starving to death in the midst of the accumulated gold of the entire world. The war is only an interruption of the inevitable disaster which impends. We have a few years ahead of us and then the whole structure will come toppling down and engulf us. Putting a few million back to work to work making engines of destruction is no solution of the problem. When the destruction brought about by war is complete another sort of destruction will set in. And it will be far more drastic, far more terrible than the destruction we are now witnessing. (the whole planet will be in the throes of revolution. And the fires will rage until the very foundations of this present world will crumble. Then we shall see whether the ability to make money and the ability to survive are one and the same. Then we shall see the meaning of true wealth."
"The world in which the new economy functions is more akin to an electronic "commons" than it is to an economy. And like any commons-a grazing commons in an ancient English town , for example-this new electronic space is owned not by governments but by the people who use it."
The Death of Money
8 hundred billion dollars exchanged each day in the world’s currency markets. 50 Billion of it traded each day in a single futures pit at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange; $150 Billion is traded in the bond market each day in New York. CS First Boston in New York, trades more money each year than the entire GNP of the U.S.
"Money is always there but the pockets change; it is not in the same pockets after a change, and that is all there is to say about money."
"Riches seem in so many cases to smother the manliness of their possessors, and their sympathies become, not so much narrowed as-so to speak-stratified. They are reserved for the sufferings of their own class, and also the woes of those above them. They seldom tend downwards much, and they are far more likely to admire an act of courage….than to admire the constantly exercised fortitude and the tenderness which are the daily characteristics of a British workman’s life-and of the workmen all over the world as well."
"Can anybody remember when times were not hard and money not scarce?
"About money and sex it is impossible to be truthful ever; one’s ego is too involved."
" There is something quite magical about the way money is created. No other commodity works quite the same way. The money supply grows through use; it expands through debt. The more we lend, the more we have. The more debt there is, the more money there is….."
"Indeed, as I approach the end, I am more than a little puzzled to account for the instances I have seen of business success-money-getting. It comes from a rather low instinct. Certainly, so far as my observation goes, it is rarely met with in combination with the finer or more interesting traits of character. I have known, and known tolerably well, a good many "successful" men- "big" financially-men famous during the last half-century; and a less interesting crowd I do not care to encounter. Not one that I have ever known would I care to meet again, either in this world or the next."
Charles Francis Adams II (1916)
"Money. It turned out, was exactly like sex; you thought of nothing else if you didn’t have it and thought of other things if you did."
"If women didn’t exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning."
"Paper Money is Theft!"
"The love of wealth is therefore to be traced, as either a principal or accessory motive, at the bottom of all that the Americans do; This gives to all their passions a sort of family likeness…."
Alexis De Tocqqueville
"The upper crust is a bunch of crumbs held together by dough."
Joseph A. Thones
"When I possessed all the money I needed I made the grievous error of believing money to be a permanent source of power. Now came the astonishing revelation that money, without faith, is nothing but inert matter, of itself possessed of no power whatsoever."
"Money is now an image, Simultaneously, it can be displayed on millions of computer screens on millions of desks around the world. But in reality it is located nowhere and needs no vault for safekeeping, Yet, while money has no real location, it has created an environment that is paradoxically everywhere while taking no physical space. An environment peopled by millions of investors, traders, bankers, money managers, stock brokers, arbitrageurs, analysts, policy makers, and government officials-all observing and manipulating money from different video terminals around the world. A community where neighbors, colleagues, and competitors are accessible only through electronics. In this new environment, millions of computers are linked in a vast twenty-four-hour, global-trading and information exchange of unimaginable complexity. This immense network has in some ways begun to resemble "smart" terminals of one kind or another are all interacting in a syncopated electronic dance, producing an overall rhythm of market ups and downs not unlike the rhythms pulsing through the brain. Money, in its new electrical form, jumps from computer to computer the way nerve impulses jump across synapses. But in the case of money, each time an electron makes its leap, units of buying power change hands.
Every day, through the "lobe" in the neural network that is New York, more than $1.9 trillion electronically changes hand at nearly the speed of light. These dollars-and the cares, hopes and fears they represent-appear as momentary flashes on a screen
Every three days a sum of money flashes through the fiber-optic network underneath the pitted streets of New York equal to the total output for one year of all of America’s companies and all of its work force. And ever two weeks the annual product of the world passes through the network of New York-trillions and trillions of ones and zeroes representing all the toil, sweat, and guile from all of humanity’s good-faith efforts and all of its terrible follies.
Sums of similar magnitude pass through the streets of Tokyo, London, Frankfurt, Chicago, and Hong Kong. They shuttle under the sea and bounce off the ionosphere. The financial system, using money that has been liberated from gold, each day conducts transactions hundreds of times larger than those in the so-called real economy-the part of humanity’s endeavors where goods are produced and services sold.
Computers have made these neural networks of money possible. They have made it so that distances do not mater, and time and time zones are irrelevant. They have moved us from gold to a megabyte standard-a standard based on microchips, computer memory, and ultra-high-speed technology. And in the process, by enabling money to jettison its finite mass, they have allowed money to evolve into something entirely new, filled with fresh possibilities
Although money is the principal means we have for storing wealth and purchasing power, economists have consistently failed to appreciate the significance of its change. Old-guard thinkers are engaged in debates about a world that disappeared long ago. They whisper the conventional wisdom into the ears of business leaders and presidents but are no longer able to produce a working forecast of interest rates, growth, or trade. They can no longer assess the growth of the money supply, predict a recession , or determine how much or how little Americans save or spend. They are like scholars educated only in the Bible who do not realize we have moved to a secular world."
The Death of Money\
"A married man with a family will do anything for money."
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigard (1748-1838)
"Providing for one’s family as a good husband and father is a
water-tight excuse for making money hand over fist. Greed may be a sin,
exploitation of other people might, on the face of it, look rather nasty, but
who can blame a man for "doing the best" for his children?"
"Money is a problem which requires a clarification. It is an extremely obscure matter. The first and most obvious and annoying enigma of money is that there are many people who seem to have loads of it to throw away and you never understand where they get it from. That guy who always says hello to you, that you seem to run into everywhere, who has a big car, beautiful women, a house in the very best neighborhood, a yacht, the one who is always sending you postcards from exotic places, the one who once confessed to that he was an orphan, the one whom you once asked, curious, "But what do you do for a living?" Who answered frankly, cordially, and yet mysteriously. "I do a bit of everything, whatever comes my way."
….The second enigma is that wealthy people are often simple people and frequently ignorant and silly people who would seem incapable of setting up a small shop on their own, but who in reality run a hundred supermarkets. You look at these mysterious beings and feel like an idiot.
The third enigma is that intelligent men and women, capable, industrious, hard-working, can barely eke out a living, often burden themselves with debts, and die worn out and destitute. This occurs at every level of society, among career people, factory workers, intellectuals, artists, and peasants. The best and most practical skills often do not bring money."
Money has been changing from a standard unit of value-a fixed and limited asset, a substantial and absolute "truth"-into something ethereal, volatile, and electronic. Over the last twenty-five years it has been moving from a government-mandated equivalency-$35 equals one ounce of gold, a concept first developed five thousand years ago-to a new electronic form. It has become nothing more than an assemblage of ones and zeros, the fundamental units of computing. It is these ones and zeros, representing money, that are piped through miles of wire, pumped over fiber-optic highways, bounced off satellites, and beamed from one microwave relay station to another. This new money is like a shadow. Its cool-gray shape can be seen but not touched. It has no tactile dimension, no height or weight….Money is now an image."
"Money is power, freedom, a cushion, the root of all evil, the sum of all blessings."
The People, Yes (1936)
"Money, big money (which is actually a relative concept) is always, under any circumstances, a seduction, a test of morals, a temptation to sin."
"Money often costs too much."
"Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul."
"No economic activity was more irrepressible (in the 14th century) than the investment and lending at interest of money; it was the basis for the rise of the Western Capitalist economy and the building of private fortunes-and it was based on the sin of usury."
A Distant Mirror
"Civilization depends on local control of purchasing power."
WHAT IS MONEY ANYWAY? (interview with Hazel Henderson ,Permaculture International Journal, issue No. 69 Sept-Nov 1996
Q. You’ve noticed that barter is on the rise?
A. Actually barter is where the action is, Barter is a sort of early warning indicator to me of a malfunctioning macro-economic management. When a country is managing its affairs inappropriately, many local barter systems and local currencies and local computer exchange Per systems are flourishing in that that country. For example, in my mother country, Britain, you have two hundred LET systems (Local Exchange Trading) and people are happily inventing money based on the name of the town that they live in: Bath money and Bristol money and Stroud money and Manchester money. It’s very similar with what’s going on in the US with Ithaca money and Time Dollars. People are beginning to understand that the evolution of money has come to the point now where we absolutely have to understand what money is: a symbol system. Money isn’t real . It’s a tracking system, a scoring system , to keep track of people’s transactions. The real resources are the human resources and the natural resources in these exchanges. We’ve gone from shells and barter to coins and paper money. Now we’ve gone to global electronic money. Suddenly people are realizing the possibilities in the "local information society."
Permaculture International Journal….Issue No. 60 Sept. Nov 1996
Scotland has adopted one of the World’s first national alternative currency based on the successful Local Currency Exchange Systems, LETS, already being used in many parts of Britain. So far, a whole range of voluntary organizations and community councils across Scotland have committed themselves to the Scottish Organizational Currency System, SOCS, set up by Rural Forum Scotland to boost the country’s rural economy.
So far the response to SOCS has been terrific. The scheme is being backed by Lord Sewell, the Scottish Minister for Rural Affairs. "It’s in its early stages but I think we could be building a model for other countries to follow. We have already attracted a lot of interest overseas."
See: Dollars or Sense…UTNE READER Sep/Oct 1999
"Take a company of well-bred men and women dining together. There is no struggling for food, no attempt on the part of any one to get more than his neighbor; no attempt to gorge or to carry off. On the contrary, each one is anxious to help his neighbors before he partakes himself; to offer to others the best rather than pick it out for himself; and should any one show the slightest disposition to prefer the gratification of his own appetite to that of the others, or in any way to act the pig or pilferer, the swift and heavy penalty of social contempt and ostracism would show how such conduct is reprobated by common opinion.
All this is so common as to excite no remark, as to seem the natural state of things. Yet it is no more natural that men should be greedy of food than that they should not be greedy of wealth. They are greedy of food when they are no assured that there will be a fair and equitable distribution which will give each enough. But when these conditions are assured, they cease to be greedy for food. And so in society, as at present constituted, men are greedy of wealth because the conditions of distribution are so unjust that instead of each being sure of enough, many are certain to be condemned to want. It is the "devil catch the hindermost" of present social adjustments that causes the race and scramble for wealth, in which all considerations of justice, mercy, religion, and sentiment are trampled under foot; in which men forget their own souls, and struggle to the very verge of the grave for what they cannot take beyond. But an equitable distribution of wealth, that would exempt all from the fear of want, would destroy the greed of wealth, just as in polite society the greed of food has been destroyed."
"Don’t look down on rich people….they’d be just as good as anybody else if they had an equal chance."
"Our civilization is, materially , a cash and credit system, dependent on men’s confidence in the value of money. But now money fails us and cheats us; we work for wages and they give us uncertain paper. No one now dare make contracts ahead; no one can fix up a stable wages agreement; no one knows what one hundred dollars or francs or pounds will mean in two years’ time.
What is the good of saving? What is the good of foresight? Business and employment become impossible. Unless money can be steadied and restored, our economic and social life will go on disintegrating, and it can be restored only by a world effort."
H.G. Wells (1918)
"All the perplexities, confusion, and distress in America arise, not from defects in their constitution or confederation, not from want of honor and virtue, so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation."
"Be not greedy of great riches. It is a shame and a disgrace of all unworthiness in a man to have great possessions when there are those of his tribe who are in want. When, by chance of war or of commerce, or the gifts of the Great Spirit that have blessed him with power, he has more than he has need of for himself and his family, he should call the people together and give a ‘Potlatch’ or Feast of Giving, and distribute his surplus to those who have need, according to their need, especially remembering the widow, the orphan, and the helpless."
The Gospel of the Redman
"While the people were watching and eating, the relatives of the dancers were giving away many things-horses and fine clothing, beaded work and maybe tipis; for giving is a sacred deed and is pleasing to the Mysterious One who gives everything."
John G. Neihard
When the Tree Flowered
"Only the superior forms of life are worth living, and the imbecile and miserly millionaire and the society beauty, rich and adulated, would envy, if they knew, the miserable rags, the verminous lodgings and scanty food of her who has found the source of love (the only love that is possible and real since no question of vulgar advantage is mingled with it) and who is able to take proud possession of the whole vast universe and its mysterious heart, to possess it and revel in it more fully than any ancient autocrat could revel in his illusive power."
"All property has its bounds and all power is subject to some law, but the tramp possesses the whole vast earth, whose only limits are the unreal horizon and his empire is intangible since he governs it and enjoys it in the spirit."
A DOLLAR OR TWO
by General Pike
With circumspect steps as we pick our way through
This intricate world, as all prudent fold do,
May we still on our journey be able to view
The benevolent face of a Dollar, or two.
For an excellent thing is a Dollar, or two;
No friend is so staunch as a Dollar, or two;
In country or town,
As we stroll up and down,
We are cock of the walk, with a Dollar, or two.
Do you wish to emerge from the bachelor-crew,
And a charming young innocent female to woo?
You must always be ready the handsome to do,
Although it may cost you a Dollar, or two.
For love tips his darts with a Dollar, or two;
Young affections are gained by a Dollar, or two;
And beyond all dispute,
The best card of your suite
Is the eloquent chink of a Dollar, or two.
Do you wish to have friends who your bidding will do,
And help you your means to get speedily through?
You’ll find them remarkably faithful and true,
By the magical power of a Dollar, or two.
For friendship’s secured by a Dollar, or two;
Popularity’s gained by a Dollar, or two;
And you’ll ne’er want a friend
Till you no more can lend,
And yourself need to borrow a Dollar, or two.
Do you wish in the Courts of the Country to sue
For the right or estate that’s another man’s due?
Your lawyer will surely remember his cue,
When his palm you have crossed with a Dollar, or two.
For a lawyer’s convinced with a Dollar, or two;
And a jury set right with a Dollar, or two;
And though justice is blind,
Yet a way you may find
To open her eyes with a Dollar, or two.
Do you want a snug place where there’s little to do,
Or at Government cost foreign countries to view?
A contract to get, or a patent renew?
You can make it all right, with a Dollar, or two.
For merit is proved by a Dollar, or two;
And a patriot’s known by a Dollar, or two;
Civil service rules?- Oh, oh!
They’re all humbug , you know;
Just use with discretion a Dollar, or two.
If a claim that is proved to be honestly due,
Department or Congress you’d quickly put through,
And the chance for its payment begins to look blue,
You can help it along with a Dollar, or two.
For votes are secured by a Dollar, or two;
And influence bought by a Dollar , or two;
Upon justice not braced with a Dollar, or two.
Do you wish that the Press should the decent thing do,
And give your reception a gushing review,
Describing the dresses by stuff, style and hue?
Hand Jenkins in private a Dollar, or two.
For the pen sells its praise for a Dollar, or two;
And squirts its abuse for a Dollar, or two;
AS contractors sell votes,
And banks discount notes,
That are not worth a damn, for a Dollar, or two.
Do you wish your existence with faith to imbue,
And so become one of the sanctified few?
To enjoy a good name and well-cushioned pew,
You must freely come down with a Dollar, or two.
For the Gospel is preached for a Dollar, or two;
Salvation is reached by a Dollar, or two;
Sins are pardoned, sometimes,
But the worst of all crimes
Is to find yourself short of a Dollar, or two."
General Pike (founder of Scottish Rite Masonry in the U.S.)
"Homo oeconomicus is not behind us, but before us."
"A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business."
"Not much in the history of money supports a linear view of history, one in which the knowledge and experience from one epoch provide the intelligence for improved management in the next. Of those who give guidance on these matters history says even less. Out of the 2500 years of experience and 200 years of ardent study have come monetary systems that are as unsatisfactory as any in the peacetime past. In recent times conservatives have reacted adversely to inflation, though not with great enthusiasm to the measures for preventing it. Liberals have thought unemployment the greater affliction. In fact no economy can be successful which has either. Inflation causes discomfort and frustration for many. Unemployment causes acute suffering for a lesser number. There is no certain way of knowing which causes the most in the aggregate of pain. It was the prime less of the '30s that deflation and depression destroyed international order, caused each nation to try for its own salvation, indifferent to the damage that its efforts caused to neighbors. It has equally been the lesson of the late '60s and early '70s that inflation too destroys international order. Those who express or imply a preference between inflation and depression are making a fool's choice. Policy must always be against whichever one has.
But also it is now evident that only in the extremes of inflation or depression is there a choice. Otherwise, of only the accepted and orthodox remedies are applied, we get both. For this combination no one, liberal or conservative, speaks. And at this combination, after 2500 years, we have at last arrived. Few histories could have a less happy ending."
John Kenneth Galbraith
" A SPECTER IS HAUNTING THE WORLD-THE SPECTER of money in its immaterial, electronic presence, possessing neither form nor figure. It prowls hungrily around the globe by day as well as by night; it knows neither national borders nor seasons of the year. This strange beast appeared so recently on the world scene that we do not even have a name for it. The specter that haunts the world is made up of the vast but invisible cloud of money-as-energy that rushes from one currency to another at the flick of an electronic switch or a programmed computer. It is as far beyond our control as the tides. It represents a mixture of humankind’s most basic desires, fears, and faith."
The History of Money
Read : The History of Money by Jack Weatherford
"In the global economy that is still emerging, the power of money and the institutions built on it will supersede that of any nation, combination of nations, or international organization now in existence. Propelled and protected by the power of electronic technology, a new global elite is emerging-an elite without loyalty to any particular country. But history has already shown that the people who make monetary revolutions are not always the ones who benefit from them in the end. The current electronic revolution in money promises to increase even more the role of money in our public and private lives, surpassing kinship, religion, occupation, and citizenship as the defining element of social life. We stand now at the dawn of the Age of Money."
The History of Money
HOW THE GREAT KAAN CAUSETH THE BARK OF TREES MADE INTO SOMETHING LIKE PAPER TO PASS FOR MONEY OVER ALL HIS COUNTRY
by Marco Polo
"now that I have told you in detail of the splendour of this City of the Emperor's, I shall proceed to tell you of the Mint which he hath in the same city, in the which he hath his money coined and struck, as I shall relate to you. And in doing so I shall make manifest to you how it is that the Great Lord may well be able to accomplish even much more than I have told you, or am going to tell you, in this Book. For, tell it how I might, you never would be satisfied that I was keeping within truth and reason!
The Emperor's Mint then is in this same City of Cambaluc and the way it is wrought is such that you might say he hath the Secret of Alchemy in perfection, and you would be right! For he makes his money after this fashion.
He makes them take of the bark of a certain tree, in fact of the Mulberry Tree, the leaves of which are the food of the silkworms,-these trees being so numerous that whole districts are full of them. What they take is a certain fine white bast or skin which lies between the wood of the tree and the thick outer bark, and this they make into something resembling sheets of paper, but black. When these sheets have been prepared they are cut up into pieces of different sizes. The smallest of these sizes is worth a half tornesel; the next, a little larger, one tornesel; one a little larger still, is worth half a silver groat of Venice; another a whole groat; others yet two groats, five groats, and ten groats. There is also a kind worth one Bezant of gold, and others of three Bezants, and so up to ten .
All these pieces of paper are issued with a much solemnity and authority as if they were of pure gold or silver; and on every piece a variety of officials, whose duty it is, have to write their names, and to put their seals. And when all is prepared duly, the chief officer deputed by the Kaan smears the Seal entrusted to him with vermilion , and impresses it on the paper, so that the form of the Seal remains stamped upon it in red: the Money is then authentic. Any one forging it would be punished by death. And the Kaan causes every year to be made such a vast quantity of this money, which costs him nothing, that it must equal in amount all the treasures of the world.
With these pieces of paper, made as I have described, he causes all payments on his own account to be made, and he makes them to pass current universally over all his kingdoms and provinces and territories, and whithsoever his power and sovereignty extends. And nobody, however important he may think himself, dares to refuse them on pain of death. And indeed everybody takes them readily, for wheresoever a person may go throughout the Grea Kaan's dominions he shall find these pieces of paper current, and shall be able to transact all sales and purchases of goods by means of them just as well as if they were coins of pure gold. And all the while they are so light that ten bezants' worth does not weight one golden Bezant.
Furthermore all merchants arriving from India or other countries, and bringing with them gold or silver or gems and pearls, are prohibited from selling to any one but the Emperor. He has twelve experts chosen for this business, men of shrewdness and experience in such affairs; these appraise the articles, and the Emperor then pays a liberal price for them in those pieces of paper. The merchants accept his price readily, for in the first place they would not get so good a one from anybody else, and secondly they are paid without any delay. And with this papermoney they can buy what they like anywhere over the Empire, whilst it is also vastly lighter to carry about on their journeys. And it is a truth that the merchants will several times in the year bring wares to the amount of 400,000 bezants, and the Grand Sire pays for all in that paper. So he buys such a quantity of those precious things every year that his treasure is endless, whilst all the time the money he pays away costs him nothing at all. Moreover several times in the year proclamation is made through the city that any one who may have gold or silver or gems or pearls, by taking them to the Mint shall get a handsome price for them. And the owners are glad to do this, because they would find no other purchaser give so large a price. Thus the quantity they bring in is marvelous, though those who do not choose to do so may let it alone. Still, in this way, nearly all the valuable in the country come into the Khan's possession.
When any of those pieces of paper are spoilt-not that they are so very flimsy neither-the owner carries them to the Mint, and by paying 3 per cent on the value he gets new pieces in exchange. And if any Baron, or any one else soever, hath need of gold or silver or gems or pearls, in order to make plate, or girdles or the like, he goes to the Mint and buys as much as he list, paying in this papermoney.
Now, you have heard the ways and means whereby the Great Kaan may have, and in fact has, more treasure than all the Kings in the World; and you know all about it and the reason why."
"Virtual money, like the virtual photon's time horizon within the "real" world, is strictly limited. The virtual photon achieves its life through a form of borrowing-the physical world's equivalent of an overdraft. In fact, physicists often use this banking analogy to describe the loan of energy. The virtual particle can "borrow" energy from the Heisenberg uncertainty principle that relates energy and mass, they say-but it's only for a certain constrained time. How long the photon can hold onto the loan and extend its shadowy lifespan will depend on the loan of energy's size: the greater the "energy" overdraft from the physical world, the shorter the loan's duration. In the meantime, before the world can know, the little particle may tunnel its way up and out."
Elinor Harris Solomon
"The amount of virtual money that circles the globe every day is truly staggering, The Federal Reserve's Fedwire and the New York-based CHIPS alone send out well over $2 trillion daily. Retail systems such as credit and debit cards deliver several hundred billion more. In fact, the combined dollar flow in one day equals over one-third of our gross domestic product for the entire year. Trillions of dollars of ethereal money soar around the globe, perched atop a very narrow "real" money base and with the recent dramatic growth of the Internet these vast numbers can only grow..."
Elinor Harris Solomon
Article: "Follow the Money" by Jack Smith….Robb Report
Book: "Millionaire: The Philanderer, Gambler, and Duelist who invented Modern Finance....By Janet Gleeson
Book: "Virtual Money" by Elinor Harris Solomon
"The money power preys upon the nation in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the republic destroyed."
"The sack of the United States by the Fed (Federal Reserve System) is the greatest crime in history."
"National Economies need monetary-coordination mechanisms and that is why an integrated world economy needs a common monetary standard, which is the best neutral inflationary coordinating device. But no national currency will do-only a world currency will work."
"In the United States today we have, in effect, two governments....we have the duly constituted government....then we have an independent, uncontrolled (by Congress) and uncoordinated (by Congress) government. In the Federal Reserve System, operating the money powers which are reserved to Congress by the Constitution."
Wright Patman, ex-Chairman of House Banking Committee
"The story of money, like the myth of the Holy Grail, is a tale of the corruption of ancient ideals of virtue by slowly corroding evil.....The first form of money was shared food, which for many centuries preceded the evolution of coinage. Coinage.....had the same significance as the Grail-that of a sacred relic symbolizing a holy meal among a loyal fellowship.....Money, in our culture, originated in an identical manner as the Holy Grail, in a ritual communion meal in which the shared food symbolized mutual dedication among the communicants. Our money began as a religious symbol.....
Insofar as man's ethical ideals are concerned, and however barbaric and cruel the reality may have been, economic relations in ancient times were to some extent conceived of as religious relations.....In this lofty sense despite the slavery, oppression and warfare....money symbolized the loving giving and taking among individuals which gave men the feeling of having emotional roots in their community. The community was a religious congregation, and all members felt themselves to be fellows in a sacred communion....Money originated as a symbol of man's soul."
William H. Desmonde
Magic, Myth and Money
Book: "A Treatise on Money" by John Maynard Keynes
Book: "The Philosophy of Money" by Georg Simmel
Book: "Money and the Meaning of Life" by Jacob Needleman
Book: "Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went" by John Kenneth Galbraith
Book: "Luxury Fever: Why Money Fails to Satisfy in an Era of Excess" by Robert H. Frank
Book: "Money" by James E. Ewart
Book: "Money: A History" by Hopson
Book: "Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America's First Female Tycoon" by Charles Slack
Book: "Green Back: The Almighty Dollar and the Invention of America" by Jason Goodwin
Book: "The Natural History of the Rich" by Richard Conniff
Book: "Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence." by Joe Dominguez & Vicki Robin
Book: "Frozen Desire: The Meaning of Money by James Buchan
Book: "The History of Money" by Jack Weatherford
Book: "Money: Who Has How Much and Why" by Andrew Hacker
Book: "The House of Rothschild: Money's Prophets, 1798-1848" by Niall Ferguson
Book: "The Secret Life of Money: by Tad Crawford
Book: "Money: Whence it Came, Where it Went" by John Kenneth Galbraith
Book: "Your Money or Your Life: Economy and Religion in the Middle Ages" by Jacques Le Goff
Book: "The Story of Money" by Angell Norman
Book: "Magic, Myth and Money: The Origin of Money in Religious Ritual" by William H. Desmonde
Back to Chrestomathy Next Page