WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of money?

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Re: WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of mo

Postby Funkyterrance on Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:01 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
PLAYER57832 wrote:My feeling is that money is used to purchase things, mostly immediate needs and wants. It allows you to pursue immediate desires instead of looking more long term. It can hide impacts of ills you do in that way.


Money allows you to do both...
(long-term and short-term).


So, it's not money, or the love of money, that's the problem here. The 'problem' which you envision is having a high time preference (i.e. "I want it, and I want it now"), which is not in all cases a problem. Regarding the love of money, it doesn't matter if the thing wanted was money to buy X, Y, and Z. It could've been potatoes, which would be exchanged for X, Y, and Z in some barter economy.


The problem is the fact that money (currency) is a means to an end, not an end in itself. When someone has reached the point where they "love money" they most likely have lost sight of what it really is and have moved into obsession territory. Obsessions are not healthy/productive.
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Re: WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of mo

Postby BigBallinStalin on Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:31 pm

PLAYER57832 wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:Money itself is amoral.

Love of money itself is amoral.

What matters is context, that is the decisions which you make that involve money.

For example,
Morally good = one's love of money to increase revenue for an upstanding charity
Morally bad = one's love of money to increase revenue for Hitler's SS operations


In other words, ask: "WHY does person A love money? For what purposes shall that person use the money?"


If you can't answer that (which the OP and player/tzor's argument ignore), then you'll be just as mistaken as the OP, tzor, and player.

No, because what you are describing is not actually a love of money itself. You are describing a love of things the money can get and trying to shift the debate to that.

We are describing the problem with the love of money itself.


It doesn't matter how you often you shift your quicksand position because I've already countered the several different versions of the same basic argument with the following:



viewtopic.php?f=8&t=180318&view=unread#p3938576
(you failed with this one)

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=180318&view=unread#p3938582
(tzor's position, which is false)

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=180318&view=unread#p3938585

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=180318&view=unread#p3938582

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=180318&view=unread#p3938663
(PS' answer, which is also false)

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=180318&view=unread#p3938670


So far, you, tzor, the OP, and PS have all been shown to be false for reasons already stated. If you'd like to address the problems with your (and whoever's arguments which you'll agree with but not support or maybe support or maybe change but not really depending on your time of day), then be my guest.
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Re: WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of mo

Postby BigBallinStalin on Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:42 pm

Funkyterrance wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:
PLAYER57832 wrote:My feeling is that money is used to purchase things, mostly immediate needs and wants. It allows you to pursue immediate desires instead of looking more long term. It can hide impacts of ills you do in that way.


Money allows you to do both...
(long-term and short-term).


So, it's not money, or the love of money, that's the problem here. The 'problem' which you envision is having a high time preference (i.e. "I want it, and I want it now"), which is not in all cases a problem. Regarding the love of money, it doesn't matter if the thing wanted was money to buy X, Y, and Z. It could've been potatoes, which would be exchanged for X, Y, and Z in some barter economy.


The problem is the fact that money (currency) is a means to an end, not an end in itself. When someone has reached the point where they "love money" they most likely have lost sight of what it really is and have moved into obsession territory. Obsessions are not healthy/productive.


But FunkyT, so what if money is a means to an end? How is using money as a means to an end a problem? That's like saying, "using potatoes to trade for shoes is a (moral) problem."

Suppose the problem is money as an end in itself is your position. It still doesn't follow that 'money is the root of evil' or what have you. Would money as an end in itself be a problem? It could, but it depends on the consequence and means (the context) of how that money was collected.

Your second sentence may be true, or it may not be, because it depends on the reasons and consequences of that person's love for money.

Re: third sentence, they might be for the reasons stated above.


For example, if one is obsessed with money, and if they still produce value for others from which they profit--and this is all based on voluntary exchanges and no one's property rights are being violated here, then how is obsessing over money unhealthy or unproductive? It isn't because it depends.
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Re: WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of mo

Postby PLAYER57832 on Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:18 pm

If you love money, then you work for the money. How you get it is essentially irrelevant. In many cases, even the legality is irrelevant except that its usually more expedient (cuts into profits less) to follow the law. As Phattscotty said, you ignore harm unless it interferes with profit.

In a real sense, I doubt that even the worst embezzler, for example, really thinks about harming people. Still, someone like Madoff might start by convincing themselves they would pay everything back.. or that they are protecting people. But... in some personalities the pressure could lead them to do more than just theft.

But that gets into the second part of the question. How would someone who loves money act? How does the love of money lead to evil? How do we recognize it and that we are not in that trap?
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Re: WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of mo

Postby Funkyterrance on Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:25 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:For example, if one is obsessed with money, and if they still produce value for others from which they profit--and this is all based on voluntary exchanges and no one's property rights are being violated here, then how is obsessing over money unhealthy or unproductive? It isn't because it depends.


Indeed, thinking about and planning in regards to money is not necessarily unhealthy but obsessing over it is. Obsession implies an unbalanced and irrational state of mind. Obsession implies not knowing "when to say when". I am not taking the stance that money is the root of all evil because I don't believe this to be true. If anything is the root of all evil it's greed which happens to be associated with money and is what I feel the proverb is really referring to. Greed being the drive for power, prestige, material things, etc. beyond the point of being beneficial in any way.
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Re: WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of mo

Postby PLAYER57832 on Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:36 pm

Funkyterrance wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:For example, if one is obsessed with money, and if they still produce value for others from which they profit--and this is all based on voluntary exchanges and no one's property rights are being violated here, then how is obsessing over money unhealthy or unproductive? It isn't because it depends.


Indeed, thinking about and planning in regards to money is not necessarily unhealthy but obsessing over it is. Obsession implies an unbalanced and irrational state of mind. Obsession implies not knowing "when to say when". I am not taking the stance that money is the root of all evil because I don't believe this to be true. If anything is the root of all evil it's greed which happens to be associated with money and is what I feel the proverb is really referring to. Greed being the drive for power, prestige, material things, etc. beyond the point of being beneficial in any way.

This is a good point. I sometimes think this way, but sometimes think (at least when it comes to the Bible) that it was money, specifically to which was referred. That's part of why I started the thread.. so see what other people thought about it.
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Re: WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of mo

Postby BigBallinStalin on Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:38 pm

PLAYER57832 wrote:If you love money, then you work for the money. How you get it is essentially irrelevant.


Therefore, player admits that if you get your money by shooting people in the head, then this makes no difference when you compare that to someone who gets his money by voluntarily exchanging his services for some company.

Obviously, the context matters, and as long as player ignores this, she'll be constantly shown to be wrong.


PLAYER57832 wrote:In a real sense, I doubt that even the worst embezzler, for example, really thinks about harming people. Still, someone like Madoff might start by convincing themselves they would pay everything back.. or that they are protecting people. But... in some personalities the pressure could lead them to do more than just theft.

But that gets into the second part of the question. How would someone who loves money act? How does the love of money lead to evil? How do we recognize it and that we are not in that trap?


Well, gee, you seem to be confirming my earlier point about looking at the value judgments of the users of money instead of simply blaming the proximate cause (use of money itself, or love of money itself).

But then, in order to answer these questions, part of the answer lies in assessing the means and consequences and how the consequences affect the decision-makers (thus their value judgments), so in the end you're agreeing with me while contradicting yourself.
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Re: WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of mo

Postby john9blue on Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:32 pm

money is equivalent to power in our society.

power often corrupts.

it's really that simple.
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Re: WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of mo

Postby tzor on Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:44 pm

PLAYER57832 wrote:Yes, and Thank you. I tend to agree with you on the analysis, but beyond that, I appreciate your answering/discussing the question itself.

Do you think this is actually a true fear? or is it something that maybe was a fear and is not now? (and I realize you cannot answer right now)


As I mentioned before, this requires a lot of understanding of definitions, especially on the notion of (in this context) money, love and even evil. So the question starts off with “what is evil.”

Here is where I'll jump off of a religious argument and take on the role of the role playing philosopher, otherwise known as someone who enters one too many D&D debates. While evil is defined generally as “not good morally” and “causing or tending to cause harm” the real core definition of evil involves the actions of the will. The comet that destroys the earth is clearly not evil. The insane person who does not rationally think through all his actions is not evil.

Now clearly, by this notion I have tended to whittle down the universe of actions that can be considered evil. Back in second edition, someone wrote a basic summary of the D&D alignment system as a priority based structure. Basically “Good” was defined as putting the needs of others above the needs of self; “Evil” was defined as putting the needs of self above the needs of others.

Yes, the Joker isn't evil; he's insane. Satisfying ones raw emotions is not per se a “need.”

Also note that putting one group above another group falls off of the radar as well. How that action benefits the self is what is important. I've basically whittled this thing down to a toothpick, but it's still a very important toothpick.

So now we get to “need” which for the most part can be all secured with “possessions.” The good room, the good food, the good transpiration, the pampered life are all provided for via possessions. What you see you want to acquire; the painting, the woman, whatever, and at any price.

Remember that money is just a fungible possession. Likewise power is important because it can be fungible to money which in turn is fungible to possessions. Thus money is at the core of all “needs” of the individual (that can be met by that individual in such a way that can result in a “good” or an “evil” act).

Is this a “fear?” Hardly. This is a realization (and a generalization which means that it is not perfect) that the obsession of self possessions, or in effect the obsession of self results in the lowering of and abandonment of the needs of others. While I've defined this above as the opposite of “good” what it is really is the opposite of true charity/love.

This is as true today as it was in the beginning of the human equation, since the fundamental nature of man has not changed.
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Re: WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of mo

Postby Funkyterrance on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:01 pm

Wait is this all a reference to that "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's" passage? If so, I love that phrase. I always thought it was quite beautiful and liberating. To me it basically means leave all earthly matters to themselves. It's not necessarily referring to money as evil but essentially a dead end in itself.
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Re: WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of mo

Postby BigBallinStalin on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:20 pm

john9blue wrote:money is equivalent to power in our society.

power often corrupts.

it's really that simple.


Ah, so the poorest people in our society have very little money, thus very little power. Since power corrupts, then are the poorest people incorruptible? Of course not, because neither power nor money are fundamental causes of corruption or wrongdoing. They may contribute, but not in the way you mean because you forget the individual and the choices which he or she makes and which are limited within a certain institution.

Words like 'power' or "money" simply do not convey understanding. They're too simplistic.




The US president is perhaps the most powerful person in the world. He earns $250,000 per year as salary. The net worth of his personal finances (2011) according to opensecrets.org is $1,566,014 to $7,764,999.

The US president has killed a US citizen without a trial, bombed Libya and killed 2000+ civilians, continued the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq for another 4 years, and continues this dubious war against 'terrorists' and civilians across the globe via drone strikes.

The net worth of Bill Gates is $66 billion as of September 2012 (according to Forbes). He didn't bomb anyone or occupy any countries.

So what explains the problem with your simple model of money and power? It's insufficient. Obviously, money is not equivalent to power. And power does not cause corruption, but rather institutions and incentives can reward paths to wrongdoing or power, and that reward is not just money--it can be prestige, some subjective 'high' feeling, or whatever. It depends on how that person gets that money for the 18th time ITT. That ultimately hinges upon the person's value judgments and the institution and incentives which he faces.
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Re: WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of mo

Postby john9blue on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:37 pm

i never said they were incorruptible... and i'm not arguing my personal opinion, the thread asked a question and i answered it. why would someone such as myself who likes free markets/ayn rand/etc. think money is evil?

i believe that is why people say money is the root of all evil... because they view rich people as corrupt.
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Re: WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of mo

Postby BigBallinStalin on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:44 pm

john9blue wrote:i never said they were incorruptible... and i'm not arguing my personal opinion, the thread asked a question and i answered it. why would someone such as myself who likes free markets/ayn rand/etc. think money is evil?

i believe that is why people say money is the root of all evil... because they view rich people as corrupt.


What causes evil?
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Re: WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of mo

Postby Funkyterrance on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:45 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
john9blue wrote:money is equivalent to power in our society.

power often corrupts.

it's really that simple.


Ah, so the poorest people in our society have very little money, thus very little power. Since power corrupts, then are the poorest people incorruptible? Of course not, because neither power nor money are fundamental causes of corruption or wrongdoing. They may contribute, but not in the way you mean because you forget the individual and the choices which he or she makes and which are limited within a certain institution.

Words like 'power' or "money" simply do not convey understanding. They're too simplistic.




The US president is perhaps the most powerful person in the world. He earns $250,000 per year as salary. The net worth of his personal finances (2011) according to opensecrets.org is $1,566,014 to $7,764,999.

The US president has killed a US citizen without a trial, bombed Libya and killed 2000+ civilians, continued the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq for another 4 years, and continues this dubious war against 'terrorists' and civilians across the globe via drone strikes.

The net worth of Bill Gates is $66 billion as of September 2012 (according to Forbes). He didn't bomb anyone or occupy any countries.

So what explains the problem with your simple model of money and power? It's insufficient. Obviously, money is not equivalent to power. And power does not cause corruption, but rather institutions and incentives can reward paths to wrongdoing or power, and that reward is not just money--it can be prestige, some subjective 'high' feeling, or whatever. It depends on how that person gets that money for the 18th time ITT. That ultimately hinges upon the person's value judgments and the institution and incentives which he faces.


Solid point, BBS, but I think that John meant that monetary power has a tendency to make one feel as though they are above the laws of the "commoners". It's very easy for an extremely rich person surrounded by the privileges of wealth to start to feel like a god among men. Given this fact, doesn't it stand to reason at least that someone with more money has greater potential to do more evil with relative ease, monetarily, socially and morally? A poor person may be able to corrupt their little itsy bitsy world that surrounds him/her but someone like Bill Gates could do some serious damage. All it would take is a sudden change of heart. Given the nature of many humans, more money equals greater potential for more evil.
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Re: WHY is it said that the root of all evil is a love of mo

Postby patches70 on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:47 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:Words like 'power' or "money" simply do not convey understanding. They're too simplistic.




The US president is perhaps the most powerful person in the world. He earns $250,000 per year as salary. The net worth of his personal finances (2011) according to opensecrets.org is $1,566,014 to $7,764,999.

The US president has killed a US citizen without a trial, bombed Libya and killed 2000+ civilians, continued the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq for another 4 years, and continues this dubious war against 'terrorists' and civilians across the globe via drone strikes.


Do you think the POTUS or his cronies surrogates consider themselves "corrupted" or think of their actions as anything less than justified or honorable or required by a sense of duty?

Seems to me, the idea of what is "corrupted" or wrong, isn't widely agreed on by everyone. As in human beings are quick to label this or that as "evil" but at the same time have no real idea or understanding of what evil really is.

Things we like to think of as "evil" were often enough in our past considered "virtue". I'd bet that things we think of today are "virtue" will be considered "evil" in the future.
About the only thing that surpasses mankind's propensity for cruelty is our ability to justify said cruelty.

It's quite possible that this trait we have as a species, the easy ability to kill, maim, wage war with utter recklessness, may serve us well in the future. I can envision many scenarios where such traits are not only desirable, but will be required if we do not wish to go the way of the dinosaur. Then again, that very trait just may end up finishing us off.

Either way, I doubt very much the Universe cares one way or another.....
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