Wednesday, March 21, 2012


All riches have their origin in mind. Wealth is in ideas - not money.
Robert Collier

Do what you love and the money will follow.
Marsha Sinetar

He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.
Benjamin Franklin

I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money.
Pablo Picasso

It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake.
Margaret Thatcher

Money is a mechanism for control.
David Korten

Money is our madness, our vast collective madness.
David Herbert Lawrence

Profit is sweet, even if it comes from deception.

Subdue your appetites, my dears, and you've conquered human nature.
Charles Dickens
English novelist (1812 - 1870)

The only way not to think about money is to have a great deal of it.
Edith Wharton
US novelist (1862 - 1937)

The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated.
H. L. Mencken
US editor (1880 - 1956)

A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.
Jonathan Swift
Irish essayist, novelist, & satirist (1667 - 1745)

Lack of money is no obstacle. Lack of an idea is an obstacle.
Ken Hakuta

It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and wealth have both failed.
Kin Hubbard
(1868 - 1930)

He had learned over the years that poor people did not feel so poor when allowed to give occasionally.
Lawana Blackwell, The Courtship of the Vicar's Daughter, 1998

Money can't buy happiness, but neither can poverty.
Leo Rosten
US (Polish-born) author (1908 - )

Wealth is the parent of luxury and indolence, and poverty of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.
Plato, The Republic
Greek author & philosopher in Athens (427 BC - 347 BC)

Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five.
W. Somerset Maugham, 'Of Human Bondage', 1915
English dramatist & novelist (1874 - 1965)

"A little, justly gained, is better than thousands secured by stealth, or at the expense of another's rights and interests." --from Money for the Millions

"The way to get things done is to stimulate competition. I do not mean in a sordid, money-getting way, but in the desire to excel." --Charles Schwab

"I was part of that strange race of people aptly described as spending their lives doing things they detest to make money they don't want to buy things they don't need to impress people they dislike." --Emile Henry Gauvreay

So you think that money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal wlth one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?
AYN RAND, Atlas Shrugged

Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. And it will leave you unfulfilled.
BARACK OBAMA, speech, Jul. 12, 2006

Robert L. Fielding

Ayn Rand, the Russian-American novelist and philosopher, discusses money with Charles Schwab, the American steel magnate. Both have strident views on money and the virtues or otherwise of doing things that are lucrative.

CS: You said that money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them, rather than is generally stated, that money is the root of all evil.

AR: Yes, I did say that. That is my opinion, and it contradicts what many think of money. I may ask you where we would be without it. It became the principle means of exchanging goods of different kinds; it stems from the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for money. Money is a tool of exchange , which could not have existed unless there had been goods produced and men able to produce them. Do you not agree?

CS: Wholeheartedly; it is a way to get things done to stimulate competition – in the desire to excel.

AR: Then how is it that some say money is the root of all evil? Surely the greater evils would be committed by men with no such medium of exchange, attempting to bully and barter others, insisting, for example, that one cow was equal in value to five sheep, and not four. I do think men would have become far more brutalized if money had never come into existence.

CS: Quite possibly, I have even thought that if money had not been coined, it would have been necessary to coin it to prevent such disagreements as you just mentioned from detracting from the proper business of farmers, in your example.

Money has indeed assisted all of us in our development from hunter-gatherers, to sedentary croppers and such, selling our goods, our wares, if you wish to include makers of tools and so on, in the way that we have developed.

AR: Then it is as you say, money, far from being the root of all evil, is our saviour. I am unable to see how it can be called the root of anything except industry, which is hardly evil.

CS: I think what is generally meant by those who say that money is the root of all evil is that it is rather the desire to get money – notice I didn’t say ‘earn money’ – it is this desire, got rampant in some, that is the root of al level.

AR: So money is blamed for man’s abuse of it. Is that fair?

CS: Hardly, but since money is inanimate, no one minds it acquiring a bad name.
However, it does not end there, as I am sure you are aware. Professions associated with money have, by their association, one might almost say compliance in this extreme desire to get money – here I am thinking of bankers, financiers, accountants, money lenders, and then on to the illegal – to the money launderers, extortionists, blackmailers and the like.

AR: Yes, it does seem, doesn’t it, that if you have any dealings with money, people immediately take up a stance – an attitude – towards you; if you are rich, you are envied, or congratulated, honoured by heads of state; if your bank has gone broke you are either sympathized with or reviled for incompetence; if you merely exchange one currency for another, you are detested and not trusted. Money does seem to bring out the worst in man. Perhaps that is why it is called the root of all evil.

CS: Exactly; we all need money to conduct our daily lives, and it is at the point of exchange that any lack of trust shows itself.

In the grocer’s, the butcher’s, the baker’s or the candlestick maker’s, the point of sale can be the sticking point; prices can be thought too high by the buyer, appropriate by the vendor, and it is at the point of sale that any argument is likely to break out.

We say, don’t we, that there is no sentiment in business, meaning, I suppose, that where money is concerned, friendship must perforce be absent.

AR: And yet I still ask where we would be without it; any business could not be concluded without it.

CS: Any business could not be instigated without it. We have agreed upon that, but it does not get us much further in our attempt to decide if money is the root of all evil or not. How can we proceed?

AR: Let’s say then, that as money is the medium by which one man comes to exchange the produce of his work with another such man, it is man placed in this position that is at the root of all evil; it is exchanging that is wrong, and yet how could life be conducted otherwise?

CS: Yes, now if one man is invited to dine at another man’s house, and does not bring something to show his appreciation of being so invited, let us say by bringing a bottle of wine, or some chocolates for the man’s wife, sweets for his children – whatever the custom is – then he may find himself not invited again if he does not comply with expectations, might he not?

AR: That is true. So what is at fault with money is that it allows no such room for difference of expectations to enter into any transaction.

CS: Well, that is not quite true; there is still some room for barter, for bargaining, even when the transaction is made using coinage.

AR: Then it is something like every man ‘s propensity to be jealous of his own work, his own belongings, and in guarding against that sin of all sins where commerce is concerned, to twist, or be twisted out of something, as we say of unfair dealing. It is not money that is the root of all evil; all money is, is the expression of giving and taking, exchanging. It is exchanging ghat is the root of all evil.

CS: Well, not in itself; I cannot find it in me to condemn one man for wishing to exchange his cow for an agreed upon number of sheep. What I do condemn is the chicanery by which one man is made to give up too many sheep for that one cow – that is evil. What follows is also evil: and what follows is the man not being honest in the deal continuing to be dishonest in all subsequent dealings with others.

AR: Until it reaches a point at which we say a crime has been committed.

CS: It is interesting that you should bring that word in to the discussion, for without law, there would be no crime, except in an absolute sense, in which an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is called in to compensate the aggrieved.

Laws had to be promulgated once this exchange took hold, for if money is the medium of exchange, the law and any punishment stemming from it being broken, is surely the medium of the transaction that does not abide by the mutual trust between two men exchanging goods.

AR: We have laws, surely, precisely because men dealing with one another either cannot be trusted, or to avoid them being tempted to be untrustworthy. Let us agree then that it is not money that is the root of all evil, but rather that it is gaining unfair advantage that is at the root of all evil. After all, we don’t say sugar is poison because it causes tooth decay, do we?

CS: That’s true, we don’t, but we warn our children not to eat too many sweet things, don’t we? Really, it is not money that is the root of all evil; money is at the root of all evil, or I should say that the unscrupulous getting of money is the root of all evil. Anyone who holds that money is so is merely labeling; using the word for a species of greed. Money, like sugar, is merely the means by which we come to be greedy or how we come to have tooth decay in the case of our eating too much sugar.


In the dialogue that follows the great artist Pablo Picasso talks to the great English novelist Charles Dickens about how money is spent and how this can alter the normal course of a life.

Charles Dickens: You said you would like to live as a poor man with lots of money. What did you mean by that? It sounds contradictory.

Pablo Picasso: It does sound contradictory, but it is not. The poor do not have to subdue their appetites; that is done for them by their lack of anything to pay for sating them. They do not have them, or if they do, they must try not to dwell on them, for if they do not, they surely go mad.

A cat has romance – sex to be more precise – continually on its mind – the same could probably be said for rabbits for all I know – and that is all well and good for there are so many other cats, so many other rabbits on the common to fulfill the desire.

We poor men and women, that is practically all there is for us, that and little else. But really, unless you go beyond animal passions, there is little to sustain desire.

The poor man may think – if he has time – he may conjure scenes from his youth, from his imagined future – though again, that way lies madness – he may gain an interest in reading, if he can join a library, in nature, if he has a garden, in his children if he has any, in his neighbours, in his community, in his country.

But give him money and his mind will wander away from those things that formerly interested him when he was poor, and he will move on to creative and conspicuous ways of spending his pile.

CD: So you would like to remain poor, or should I say you would like to retain something from the life of a poor man while yet having money. That would take incredible self-discipline, I would say.

PP: And you would be right, for once one has money, one also has troops of friends to spend it on, and troops of friends – those friends who appear out of the woodwork once they smell the colour of money – troops of friends like those keep your mind firmly on your fortune.

CD: How do they do that?

PP: You must know the answer to your question, having written about people who have money and people who do not. They keep their richer friend’s mind on pecuniary matters by fuelling envy, by encouraging tp keep up with the Joneses, as you English say.

One person whispers into his friend’s ear that such-a-body has such and such, and before you know it, he has one. Money is no good to most people who have it if they cannot show that they have it.

CD: That is unfortunately generally the case, yes.

PP: If I could beat that trap set for the unwary, I would be fine.

CD: But why would you want money then?

PP: To pay the bills, to keep the bailiff and his men at bay, to give me time to roam.

CD: To roam where?

PP: To roam the hills of my beloved country, to seek out the raven haired village beauty, to climb the heights and conquer, and to drink with scoundrels and laugh at those we are inhibited from laughing at, and to roam my mind.

Money begets business and business takes control of the mind, leaving no space for freedom.

CD: But if you have money, surely you are free.

PP: Free in what sense? Freedom is not just something talked about in lecture theatres and wrote about by Greek elders.

CD: Then what is it, to you?

PP: Freedom is freedom to be whatever I desire to be.

CD: But surely, if you are rich you can be whatever you desire.

PP: That sounds true, but it is not. To think of freedom in one direction only is to miss the point entirely. To be free to starve and yet be what one feels one was born to do, born to be, is infinitely preferable to living in the lap of luxury and yet regretting something essential in life.

What is in short supply in life, my old friend, is not money – that is easily got – but time. Time is slipping through our fingers, however tightly we try to hold it in, time is sliding into a conical pile that is getting higher and higher.

Money will not halt time, in fact, spending money will make it as an express rushing through tunnels of blackness; the spender is continually looking for that light at the end, the light of having found some fulfilment in his spending time and money, searching in entirely the wrong place for that desired light.

CD: From where can that light be found?

PP: In creativity, I know of no other sure place. It can be found on a cold winter’s night, if you stare into the embers of the fire that has warmed you on your way to slumber; it can be found in the beauty of a leaf, a leaf that has fallen from its branch, from its suckling mother to land dry and folding on the red earth below. Death can be an act of creation. Indeed, death is but one of God’s steps in the life bestowed to each of us.

Money dulls that light; hence I say that I would prefer to have choices that the rich do not have; choices of my own choosing rather than choices of someone else’s. What say sir?

CD: I have seen too many people lie in a poor man’s grave, which is spare indeed, to allow you the entire truth of what you are saying.

It seems to me that if you are to be poor, you must be poor in rustic life, not urban. The poor of the city are always put upon by everyone, by those above them.

The poor boy who sweeps the crossing, keeping it clear of mire that the well dressed, the important, and the self-important to cross without getting a speck of mud or a flake of soot on their new clothes, that boy is continually being moved on by the constabulary. He cannot take his ease but he must be prodded in his side by the policeman’s staff; that he must be barked at by the dogs of the wealthy while he takes but a moment to view a garden of flowers and recall that which is beyond any recall.

No, you take it from me; to be poor in the city is to be poor indeed, to be poor in the city is to know what real poverty is. To be poor in the country is most probably never to have enough to eat, but it is to sit among the blessings of nature and bide in thoughts.


Plato and DH Lawrence, two thinkers from entirely different ages meet to discuss what effect money has had on the lives of those that surround them: those that have it and those that don’t.

Plato: You said that in every living thing, there is a desire to love, didn’t you?

DH Lawrence: Yes, I did say that. I also said that nothing that comes from the deep passionate soul is bad, or can be bad.

P:And how do you think the two notions are connected?

DHL: By sating the antithesis of both: that money is our madness, our vast collective madness.

P: Meaning, I presume, that what is untainted by money, what is left, is both living and passionate?

DHL: Yes, the chief evil that money bestows upon mankind is the continual working out, the accounting for everything, the roar of the machinery of rationality, the zany rationality of finance, the rationality that shoves men six hundred feet below ground for eight hours a day, the rationality that throws children into the bonded slavery of the cotton mill, the rationality that makes paid work into a hell upon Earth.

You said, did you not, that poverty breeds meanness and viciousness, wealth indolence and luxury?

P: I did say that, and I think, in your own way, you agree with me.

DHL: I certainly do, but probably for different reasons; I have seen the grim faces of the miner in his dirt, besmirched by so much coal dust, now gone and, vanished by carbolic soap and water, and then grim in his pleasure – drinking to bring on sort of false jollity, an attempt to erase from consciousness, if only for the hour, that return to the face he must hack at to earn his poor crust.

P: But why must it be that way? Why must man be hardened by his labour, hardened to meanness and to viciousness, as I have stated?

DHL The rows of figures, the foot-soldiers of capital, the infantry of the system. A perfect competition that exist between all the owners of the pits that have sprung up to spoil the earth hereabouts, the perfect competition, if anything could be so less than perfect, means that capital always feels itself on the knife edge of ruin, even as it is raking in profit, even as it is boosted by what displays its dominance in the market – the rows upon rows of figures – even those are in black. Capital rules the heads and the hearts of the capitalist, and it rules the heads but not the hearts of the downtrodden who support it with sweated toil.

Perfect competition such as we have when no one company can hold sway in coal production and so must continually get ever more an d more from its other factors of production: its labour and its plant; its property, to deluge the already flooded market with a product it can swell do without.

P: But the world needs coal, does it not? The collier lads would not like to return to a cold hearth, a cheerless home bereft of any warmth, would they not?

DHL: They would, but that was got from wood, the wood that grows everywhere, in elm and sycamore and oak, the same wood that is cut down to make pit props to stave off the whole thing collapsing upon the poor working lads below.

This land was covered with trees, and they have been shorn from the earth by the creature below, the living mine, taking in its quantity of air and spewing out its carbon every day.

P: But we have moved on from those days I was so wont to live through, when we had neither iron nor steel, fuel as only that we could break off the living tree. We cannot go backwards, can we?

DHL: No, we most definitely cannot. And that has been used to justify all this – all this getting and spending, laying waste our powers, as the poet Wordsworth observed, even back in his golden days.  

Progress has been held up as the Holy Grail of modernity, when it is nothing more than the yoke
of the working man, the tool used to control him, and for what, for the rich to live in a world of luxury and indolence, in your own words.

It is in the getting and the spending that we ignore what it is we spend and what we get in return. It was Joyce who said, was it not, that the whore on the streets of night-town sells cheap what has been so very dear to buy.

How are these collier lads any different; they sell their souls to make money – a little for them and a lot for the owner – they buy dear, using what God gave them, to buy worthless chattels, cheated as they are at every turn on Saturday when they strut around the town as if they own it, which they most certainly never will.

Tell me that is how you envisaged your precious democracy to turn out, with the rich man in his castle, and the poor man at his gate. Tell me that was what you were thinking about as you envisaged the power of the people, by them and for them as has been said since.

Robert L. Fielding

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