Posted 6 months ago on Sept. 27, 2013, 10:42 a.m. EST by OccupyChinatown
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Note: I say "social democrat" to be internationally and intellectually clear. 'Liberal' is a much larger and more contested tent, and Social Democrat is also more functional and less ideological a label. What I mean is simply any person in favor of democratic-republics with a pro-interventionist or wealth transfer model of non-totalitarian statism.
They say money can't buy you happiness, that money isn't everything, and that money causes as many problems as it solves. What's unusual isn't the statements, but the implied criticism: the speaker seems somehow betrayed when his cashbook fails to be simeaultaneously Nirvana, the Universe and omnibenevolent. Just how the attributes of God almighty came to be expected of the medium of exchange I don't know; but I know it can't be blamed on any view attributable to 'capitalism' - in either its benign or malignant form.
Certainly, it is the Social Democrat who most nearly approximates this fanciful view: that money will transform reality like the song of Iluvatar. Are parts of your town decripit ghettos formed with violent tribes of uneducated semi-barbarians? Money, it seems, is what's needed. The question of civilization never comes up, except to be indicted; though its conspicuous absence in such situations is rarely noted by the Social Democrats (likewise: capitalism can be blamed for the failure of Third World socialism).
The Social Democrat attributes to money vast powers of control over the media, the State and even the mind. The opinion moulders, gendarmes and even our subconscious will is subject to the transcendental power of Moloch. Lucre simply need be poured onto a 'brand' or a 'campaign' and, ipso facto, success is guaranteed.
One may question whether money-power could possibly be so adept and flexible as to achieve all these ends as if by automatic law. One might think that guns, laws, ideologies and mobs could prove at least some obstacle to the power of Money.
But back to the original subject. These Social Democrats, who search the Godhead of Money and find its Spirit everywhere, are the first to repeat the initial phrases as to the failure of money to achieve such basic aims as personal fulfillment, pantheism and unmitigated success. How Money might exercise so much 'social' influence, yet be of negligible personal efficacy, is unclear to say the least. Why would people want it?
Money is a medium of exchange. As such, it can be used to buy things: or it can be sold for things, to say the same thing. Generally, people have little use for money but aim at getting something or other for it; some security if nothing else. Money is precisely as useful as the ends one puts it to, and precisely as useless as its owner. A good rule of thumb is that people prefer to have more to less, and insofar as they make a mess of it, it's hardly the money's fault. People make their own lives, either through lack of ability or lack of character; no matter how 'disadvantaged' or powerful a person may be it something of a tautology that appropriate choice of an aim and success at it are dependent on ones own adaptation for the circumstances and task. Some people hold that certain situations which hold one up in life are more appropriate to be moralized about than others (being hated as a known liar vs. being born before the invention of writing), but regardless of our feelings about it the causal significance is the same: the only thing that is ever wrong with anyone is a lack of power or taste. We should be at a loss to summarize any other flaw of efficacy that could not be encompassed thereby. Even a man drowned under and ocean has simply failed to possess the appropriate talent for surviving on ocean floors; and lest we see this as wildly unsuitable a standard we might also consider that all ignorance and failure of personal merit derive from similarly complex, variagated and obscure circumstances outside the control of any person living or dead. We are all subject to vast negative and positive social consequences based on psycho-social features of human prehistorical evolution; to what ultimate end I can not say, but everything from 'god' to 'equality' bears the imprint of the jungle mind.
One should be rather more careful when treating money as a magic wand (State indoctrination camps will become useful if we throw money at them!) or blaming it for failing to achieve what no one and nothing could; if anything, we have failed money, which never did anything wrong of itself.