It is another week and I am glad to be able to share with you all another blog. Over the weekend I was reading and I couldn’t help but share with you all a few excerpts from Ayn Rand’s book. Due to my busy schedule during the week I try to do as much reading as I can during the weekend and to be honest it is like a tonic for my brain. Without further ado; I present “money the root of all evil”.
“So you think money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked yourself 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 with 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 men who produce. Is this what you consider evil? ”
The set up to this quote is a statement by a lady to a renowned industrialist who may or may not have been lavish in his ways or exploitative. Her statement is more of a personal attack on his character than it is about money. He is able to however give some thought-provoking answers about the real nature or quality of money. As we go on I’ll try to expand where necessary. In actuality, his statements are blunt and need very little explanation.
“When you accept payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you’ll exchange it for product or effort of others. It is not the moochers or looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper which should have been gold, are a token of honor- your claim upon the energy of those who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil?
Money is explained in the light that it actually is; a means of fair and conscientious exchange. This exchange can be of goods or services. Without money in its physical form which some people despise as evil, there won’t be a fair and consistent way to measure and exchange and that is why looters and moochers are referenced in the first paragraph. The possession of money in a wallet or bank account is also nothing but fair hope that wherever you are in the world, you can get people to maintain a consistent manner of approach when it comes to serving you or been served. This is so because money on its own doesn’t really have an effect until it is tied to its basic function; as a tool of exchange.
“Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain food by means of nothing but physical motions – and you’ll learn that man’s mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.”
If the root of money is for exchange and that exchange is based on production then is production evil? Production is based on need or necessity and as long as there are needs, there is production and as long as these needs are met by goods and services produced, one will require a fair means for them to be exchanged.
“”But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns and muscles. Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made before it can be looted or mooched – made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his own ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can’t consume more than he has produced.”
This paragraph sort of silences claims of people who feel they are disenfranchised by “rich industrialist” who seem to make all the money. I do understand that there need to be regulations in terms of taxes, and regulations as to what practices are allowed to ensure for sustainable development. This is however not the bone of contention. Here the paradigm is clear; if you have an ingenious mind that can solve a huge problem and alleviate people’s suffering, you will get rewarded for it. That reward will translate into money and it doesn’t matter how strong or weak you are. Bottom line is no one should blame a man for being rich because he was able to create a product or a service. Using one’s mind to create wealth is not a form of oppression.
The last line in this paragraph concludes by saying an honest man is one who knows he can’t consume more than he has produced. This line syncs perfectly well with a famous verse from the Upanishads; “Everything animate or inanimate in this world is controlled and owned by the Lord, and one should only take what is one’s quota remembering to whom everything belongs.” It is worthy to note that the speaker or character in this book is an industrialist who has no inclination towards religion whatsoever however we can see that at least his definition of an honest man aligns with that of scriptures thousands of years old.
“To trade by money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except the voluntary power of the man willing to trade you his effort in return.”
This is very self-explanatory, if I may add anything to this it would be the fact that without money as a means of exchange, vices like oppression, theft, and slavery which all oppose the very concept of voluntary exchange, will continue to this day.
There is so much to share on this topic and I hope I can make a second part so that it is not too long a read. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.