You know what grinds my gears? People who don’t truly understand money and its purpose. I hate hearing someone say with contempt that “the world runs on money”. Or hearing other people talk about how money is somehow the root of all evil. Or that when you don’t do something for profit, it’s some form of nobility.
Money is nothing but a medium of exchange. The creation of money, in times of barter, allowed everyone to trade more of the goods they didn’t need and receive more of the goods they did need. Without money, arbitration, a time-consuming act in itself, would’ve been the go to. If arbitration could not work, fraud, theft, and possibly even wars would break out. Money prevents all this from happening.
Of course, these were simpler days, the final days of bartering without a common commodity and the first days with it. These were the days before the enormous amounts of wealth were created that the government would later endlessly try to siphon for themselves disguised as helping the greater good. Of course, money is responsible for all the wealth too.
Money, and later wealth, is created precisely by the producers of society. The Crusoe who decided to build a net to catch fish rather than hand-pick them. The farmer who invested his time into irrigating his crops. Aren’t these people the ones who are supposed to run the world, the ones who are the antithesis of evil?
The ones that add more to society than anyone else are incentivized by the desire to make a profit. Making a profit means that you are actively providing value to another’s life. You improve their standards of living by making a profit. How is that evil?
The reason communism will always fail, and is the true evil in this discussion, is because they lose the crucial information, the profits, provided by money, in knowing if they are providing value to someone’s life or not. GDP can be at an all-time high, but if your people are hungry because they value food more than they value the bridges you are building, they will communally starve to death.
Remove money from the equation, or distort money by the wickedness of force, and all you have left to trade on is people themselves. Whether you trade people through bribery, blackmail, or in the worst case, slavery, it all stems from a corruption of money or a lack thereof.
Money is the root of civilization. The root of exchanging value to people you’ve never met. The root of improving a stranger’s standard of living. The root of all that is good.
As Francisco d’Anconia beautifully elaborated in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged,
“Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you will ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns – or dollars. Take your choice – there is no other – and time is running out.”
Our world isn’t much different from the world Rand painted in Atlas Shrugged. Looters in the form of government bureaucrats prey on the weak and the fools into voting for more force for the looters. This is allowed because the fools have been convinced that money is the root of all evil, yet they’ve never pondered why money, or more specifically, how wealth, is created. If they did, they would realize how wrong they were.
If money is the root of all evil, then its converse would have to follow, the root of all good is lack of money. That is nonsense.
To quote Rand once more,
“Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.”