Is Money Evil?


The Roots of All Evil

Money.
Why do we love it, and hate it?
How did we get so messed up about money?

Money does seem to be at the root of many problems.

  • People commit crimes for money.
  • They betray their integrity and their beliefs to get a little more money.
  • Countries go to war for land or natural resources or trading rights.
  • Men and women sacrifice their relationships and their health for money.

Is money (or love of money, if we want to get the quote right) the root of all evil?

I think money has some real competition for that title.

There are many beliefs, ideas, and things that are blamed for the evil that people do in the world.

Popular choices include physical pleasure, money, possessions, power, honor, nationalism, racism.

Many (but not all) religions and spiritual paths renounce part or all of everyday life due to the spiritual dangers that life offers. The greatest praise is then reserved for the monks who withdraw from the world’s pleasures to pursue spiritual development.

This may be a common point of view, but it’s not universal. There are other traditions that insist that the only way to achieve spiritual greatness is by successfully facing the challenges of everyday life.

Popular Opinion
It’s very common for people to think that money is bad. Their beliefs may come from the religious/spiritual tradition that they grew up in.

Or they may be influenced by political beliefs that assert that it’s wrong for one person to have more than the next.

Some people believe that it’s impossible to get rich without abusing other people.

Or, it may just be a case of “sour grapes”. If I’m not successful at making a lot of money, I may just decide that money’s not good for me anyway, and tell myself how thrilled I am that I’m not subjected to that evil.

Power and Danger
Why does money create such a spiritual challenge for many people?

Money is an amplifier. Money is a high-power fuel.
Take an old machine that’s just barely holding itself together. Run it at a slow speed using a low power fuel, and the machine can hold itself together and keep moving in an orderly way.

But give it powerful fuel, and run it at full speed, and all of the machine’s imperfections are exaggerated.

The machine becomes unstable and tears itself apart.

How does this relate to you and me?

Money is a powerful tool which empowers you to do almost anything. It’s like a magic wand that makes it easy for your desires to come to life.

Money is possibility. Money is magic.

If I live a sheltered life and my character is unfinished and untested, an imperfection may cause little harm to me or anyone else.

But if I take that person with the character flaw and give her tremendous power to do whatever she wants, the imperfection will be amplified and may cause serious damage.

Anything that is powerful is dangerous, in untrained, unprepared hands.

The Price of Living

In old English, “price”, “prize”, and “praise” all derive from a single word. To put a price on something is to praise it – to see how valuable it is to you.
Money is the superhighway for value. It lets us easily move, exchange, and concentrate value.

It’s possible to have a barter economy, and exchange goods without using money as an intermediary, just like it’s possible to exchange information and communicate at a distance without the internet.

But without money, the goods usually move slowly, and without the internet, information moves slowly.

There are real dangers that come with the power of the internet, such as sexual predators, con artists, and terrorists exchanging information in a moment.

With great power, comes great danger.

Money, the Internet, physical pleasure, all the wonderful things that have been created, and fill life with possibility — almost everything can be used in wonderful ways, or abused.

So.
Do we keep blaming the powerful tools that we’ve been given?
Do we surround ourselves with fear because of the danger?
Do we abandon all technology, all science, all knowledge because we don’t trust ourselves to use it responsibly.

No.
We have to stand up.

Yes, we have to find ways to protect people against the abuses of some who will misuse every powerful tool.

But more importantly, you and I have to find the greatness in ourselves. We have to build ourselves up through living in the world and facing its challenges, and finding balance. We have to learn to wield the magic wands of money, knowledge, etc to build up the world.

We can’t retreat to a glorious stone age where the only challenge was surviving.
It’s time to stop hiding.

29 comments to Is Money Evil?

  • Money is a tool. Like any tool it can be used wisely or misused. Who is the #1 philanthropist? Bill Gates.
    Tom Spanton, TRCoach, TRCoach.com

  • Such a beautiful site!

    Thank you for clarifying a concept that so many misconstrue or misquote – the LOVE of money, not money itself.

    How can you help others if you are drowning?

    Thank you,
    Brennan

  • Joh

    “Lack of money is the root of all evil” George Bernard Shaw. I have to agree.

  • Excellent post!

    I have seen wealthy folks who are overcome with money, and poor folks who are filled with anger and jealousy ….

    It is not the money itself but how it is viewed that is the problem…

    Thanks for this thoughtful article,

    Jennifer

  • Money for sure has many definitions. I do believe that no matter what vice is chosen in the pursuit of unfufilled happiness it leads to an addiction and that simple form of energy whether money, food, alcohol or drugs becomes a negative energy in that persons life.

    It is true that living in today’s world we do need money in order to survive just like the caveman needed shelter, tools and weapons to survive in his environment.

    I understand that far as Universal Law goes there is enough money to go around for all. Money or not I am still a happy person. :o)

    P.S.
    I confess though that fiancial security is one of my desires to achieve from our loving universe.

    Wonderful post!

  • Wow. This post was so wonderfully put. Money is not the root of all evil, it is what we do with money, that can cause evil consequences. I am very glad that I stumbled upon your blog today, I will be bookmarking it.

  • You have touched a vital aspect of human life.
    “Money may not buy happines,but with it you can be miserable in comfort.”..
    A good post.

  • People think they want money, they love money, they need money. In fact, we want not the money but the things that money can bring us – all those pleasures that money can buy. Unfortunately they forget that a) you don’t need a lot of money to get most pleasures in this life; b) you can earn whatever amount of money you need, it’s just a matter of time, desire and focus :)

  • Someone once told me money is not real. The more real you think it is the harder you will work for it. Look at the richest people in the world. Money is what they say it is. Think about bill gates surely who says that windows xp has to be $200? Well he markets it then we see the advertisements and then if he can convince us to buy it at that price then it becomes the buying price.
    Very vague but hope you get my drift.

  • Mathias

    It is surely time to stop hiding. Being afraid solves nothing, being responsible with what we have is everything. And using what we have and what other people have is bliss, but only under the guidance of responsibility.

    And remember, money has a value because it is the most effecient way of exchanging value. Nothing else. The day money is less effecient than anything else, that day money will no longer have the highest value in our world. That day, Bill Gates or Warren Buffet will no longer be regarded the richest people in the world. The change can be imminent. Wealth has to do with your mindset and knowing who you are benief your skin if all the money you have is stripped and gone.

    That raises the question: What will be the currency of tomorrow:)?

  • James

    If money itself were not evil, than the love of money would not be the root of all evil.
    A more accurate statement would be that the use of money is the root of all evil,or perhaps money ‘gives ‘root to evil.Without question,evil exsist independent of currancies,but upon carefull observation you will see that money can both facilitate evil,and legitimize various forms of evil.Consider the drug dealer peddling his poison .Consider the developer who against the wishes of a community,procedes with the destruction of a beloved forest or glade.Thanks to money,evil resists termination.Money also causes evil to be nessacary,and even causes good to become or seem to become evil ! The forest must be destroyed for jobs or else we starve,despite the fact that the forests destruction will one day,be our own destruction.
    The sins of pride and greed predate money,but it is through the invention,circulation and use of money that these sins are rewarded,normalized,and even multiplied.Every currancy note,regardless of denomination ,symbolizes and gives legality to mans false notion of ownership,ownership of God’s creation.This is the just of money.Greedy men have always sought to own the world,but before money, no illusion could give credit to their greed.With money,a pridefull illusion of ownership is given great substance.Indeed according to the records of man ,a few elite now own much of creation, via money.This ,with no further justification needed,is why I say money is evil.

  • James:

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

    I certainly agree that we were created to make use of this world in a responsible way, as caretakers.

    However, we were created to excel at making and using tools of all kinds.
    The more powerful the tool, the greater ease and potential for good or evil. Tools are amplifiers which express what is inside of us.

    As a powerful tool, money often facilitates evil, and it facilitates good.
    Any source of power (and money is among the strongest) enables us to pretend that the world is ours to do with as we please.

    Before money there were land, armies, possessions, and other ways to feel powerful and arrogant. We are often weak, and looking for a quick fix. We go after external sources of power and greatness, rather than the real power that comes from inner strength.

    Tools, and sources of external power (such as money) make it easy for us to express the worst in us, and thereby become even more caught up in foolishness.

    Still, tools and external power are not good or evil. We are.
    We will not stop evil by outlawing tools or power, only by working on our own hearts.

    Joel

  • subol

    Really good post.
    Yes, money is a tool. However, I would like to point out ,lately we have become a tool for money.
    Everything is like a coin, they have two sides…Moreover, we humans have a nature of finding flaws..
    And its true, we need to make proper use of it as we cannot go back to stone age.

  • Money…

    Currency in general.

    What makes it evil is it’s inequality.

    Are we all human?

    I would say yes to that, and we all live on the same planet, correct?

    So why does my neighbor have more or maybe less than I do, if we both are human beings and both share the same planet?

    Money is I’ve heard tell everyone share of the earth, Currency, which is all fine and dandy till there are those that have way to much and those that have way to little…

    Ok so that evens out I have read. HOW? With most society’s there is a very real law of SUPPLY and DEMAND. You have a percentage that has so much money it is quite disgusting then it makes the little the lower percentage has even that much less…

    Ok let’s say you do agree with me that we are all human and we all live on earth. OK we are on same page there.

    So lets say you have a rich family, and a poor family.
    What would be the difference in the two? Money? yes but more than that.

    for example, I am sure the poor family has tastes just as the rich, they both have two kids and they are once again both human beings right?

    Well how much would you want to bet that because of money they both live totally different.

    The rich gets the best quality of health care, education, and quality of living in general maybe even get to go on vacations around the world and enjoy our planet Earth.

    The poor family, would get whatever education, or healthcare that most likely the society was willing to give them. Vacation, forget it closes they will get is a book at the public library to read about visiting other places on earth but to ever step foot there, not even a chance.

    So now you tell me is MONEY the root of all EVIL?

    Maybe not, Maybe it’s the INEQUALITY of all Human Beings that is EVIL.

    For if every person on earth had an EQUAL share of money, then Money would no longer hold that EVIL conatation.

    I know people who just read that rolled their eyes about everyone having an equal share of all the money in the world and that saddens me, if you didn’t then your on your way…

    For we will never reach enlightenment or “Utopia” till everyone is truly thought of as an Equal in ALL things.

    We all are human beings, we all live on the same planet, so why has everything become mine and yours, and not OURS…

    There was a great commercial years ago, by Coke i believe where they all joined hands across the world. What a wonderful thought.

    But until the Greed of a few, finally outweigh the suffering of many, we will never ALL TRULY BECOME EQUAL HUMAN BEINGS (Earthlings), and things will never change…

    JB

  • Money is a numerical system of belief which is used to dominate and control people. If money was a voluntary issue it would be a different matter. But government enforces money with the threat and use of violent force.

    Evil existed before money so it is inaccurate to say “money is the root of all evil.” But it is accurate to say “it is easier to do evil with money than it is to do good.” This is because of the nature of money as “only quantity.” There is no quality attached to money. I don’t know how you earn your money. It doesn’t matter. All I care about is how much you have.

    ONLY QUANTITY MATTERS. This makes money inherently evil because it relegates QUALITY to the domain of “irrelevant.”
    Of course, quality matters. But money doesn’t recognize it.

    We need a new economic system which recognizes quality. If there is only one way to do something then we are living in a tyranny … the tyranny of money.

  • Do spoons make people fat?
    Do pencilz mispel wordz?
    No.

    Money is merely a tool.
    Any tool can be misused.
    Excessive creation of new money out of thin air is a form of theft.
    Governments with massive debt (one of 10 major abuses) use excessive money-printing to reduce debt, which devalues the currency.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , . . . , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

  • Sam

    Hi all,

    Currency is one of the most important inventions every devised. It is what allowed rapid human advancement. The main reason for our rapid advancement is money. (Corporations spend money on R&D to make more money and beat competition…this never ending circle is perfect for advancement.
    A very very interesting article: http://www.turtletrader.com/atlas_shrugged.html This article will make you better understand just how important\vital money is.

    Thanks,
    Sam

  • sajid

    Money itself is not the bad thing but the love of money is bad thing

  • Final

    On the bright side, the fall of the Roman Empire was preceded by a devaluation of Roman currency and societal decay. It is happening all over again in the United States. What can be said about the currency system in the end? It leads to Dark Ages when the barbarians break past the gates and remove heads from shoulders/burn the government buildings to the ground.

    Which is my response to the above post about the currency system being enforced by the empire, the government itself is like everything found in nature and space, not even the Earth and the sun will last forever. So, whatever evil money represents will eventually cease to exist when enough people are slain by barbarians when they break past the gates. Equality is in the end death, and you won’t find it in life with a system of currency where 2% of the world’s population have the entirety of the world’s resources and everyone else has to fight and scratch over the scraps that 2% hands out to them as a wage. It all fixes itself in the end, no amount of money saved the Romans from a Dark Age.

  • Peter Neels

    money is evil and if you think otherwise you are simply not logical. we as a species have the capacity to feed everyone on the planet but no one will because it is not profitable. we could end countless deaths from simple diseases like diareah in third world countries, but is not profitable. we could use energy sources that do not harm the earth in any way at all, but to switch to them would be unprofitable. we produce so much and consume such vast amounts of raw materials all in the name of profits so that people can buy things like tvs, but 90 percent of all things made end up in a land fill within 6 months because hey thats what is profitable. we live in a society where it is good for people to get cancer it is good for wars to happen and scarcity is a good situation, because all of those things make people money. people are not people they are consumers and we are all in the buisness of consuming the planet as fast as we can to make the most money we can.

  • mike

    i have been reading these posts and shaking my head. money is not the root of all evil. money is a medium for trade! just as others have said, evil predates money. money is an inanimate thing, it is not good or evil. what we do with it is what determines goodness or evil. one million dollars can start a war or feed a country. trade is a nessesity. the fisherman will never go hungry, the builder will always have shelter, without trade, the builder will starve to death and the fisher will not survive the elements. as a society we have created a medium for trade. it places a value on qualty. it is essential. i dont believe that that every thing should be even. why should someone who does nothing be entitled to the same things as someone who works 50 hours a week? dont take me the wrong way, i dont think that starting a war for profit, or raping the planet of natuarel resources is nessesary at all, it is wrong! but it is not the fault of money. people are the root of evil. but people are also the cause of greatness, when a disaster happens and millions of dollars are donated to help. that is the goodness of people. we still have alot to learn and alot of growing up to do as a species. but we must realize that blaming money for all evil is just another way of passing the buck, we have to take responcibility for what we do as individuals, it is the only way to grow. it is sad to think that the majority of people would say that money is the problem in this world. money advances technology so we can grow bigger crops and feed more people, it helps us cure desiases so we can live longer lives, and it puts value on what we do everyday with our lives.if we want this to be a better world, we as individuals have to make more of an effort at it. controlling or eliminating our medium for trade will only make things worse.
    this is only my opinion, everybody is entitled to their own. but giving everyone an equal cut of the worlds money, or going back to the days of trade are not viable options.
    thanks for the oportunity to share my thoughts. feel free to agree or disagree. every one comes from a different enviroment and has different opinions, and i appreciate the feedback regardless.

  • swev

    This is good read and idea about money. Not everything is summed up so easily with words. But I like how he put them in words here.

    Money is a tool that is abused and used in more or less equal terms. We should ask questions like. Can we do well without it or does it make us progress faster or slower? How does this tool help us and how does it not help us?

    To me money is a tool used today that is a way of measuring the worth of each person power. The more they have the more they can influence change. (individually).

    For example. The government is a seat of alot of people, even though they have the most money, it’s not so in a way. Hard to measure how much they have unless you can look at their bank accounts and include their total sum (Which is alot more then what most individual people would have) and include them in the ranks. More people seem to talk more about each person such as Bill Gates etc and how much they make. Look at the top 10 riches people. I’m sure they are not even close to the richest, but they have the “most money”.

    My point here is that, alot of things can be overlooked and used to start things without asking the right questions first.

    Are the riches really the riches, yes maybe, but when people work together they can be just as rich. This has been proven by war and how people such as a single person make change by voting or some other means.

    This is something to maybe keep in mind….

  • Money is more than a tool. It is more than “abstract barter.” It is also a system with thousands of rules and regulations, institutions and practices.

    But money is always NUMBERS. Numbers are always abstract. Therefore we are “running the world” in the abstract mind.
    That’s inherently evil because it makes it easy to hurt people. You don’t have to face the effects of your actions. With money, only QUANTITY matters. Quality is irrelevant. Virtue is quality. Consensus is quality. Sustainability is quality. All irrelevant to money.

    See my video: http://se.nodes.net

  • Nim

    I tend to agree with James, this issue has very little at all to do with how money is used. It’s been said that our view of money is the only root of evil, not money itself. But I say that money easily affects our views so that we give it power and allow it to be evil. Human beings are creatures of nature, and so we should recognize our natural talents, and we should recognize the institution of “money” is not natural to our preservation and is harmful to our perception of the world we were made to live on.

  • Bob

    If money is the root of all evil; then, can the amout of money a person has determine the amount of evil he’s possessed with?

    Money has been referenced as a tool; but, tools can also be used as weapons.

    Tools are used to create and build, as well as destroy. There are zones of safe harbour, as well as evil empires; both require funding. The attraction of money satisfies the creativity of both, saints and sinners. Money seems to be the fuel for fantasy, good or evil, and can fund life’s heaven or hell.

    Even a satisfies mind requires money to be satisfied. Chow!

  • Guns render people lifeless, money render people no dignity without it. How many people had committed suicide due to financial problem? How many women had sold themselves in brothel just to survive? Money is evil, Monetary system is evil. Money does not only made man worthless without money, it is also destroying this planet for the sake of profit. So is it hypocrisy for complaining against air pollution (money) but at the same time breathing of it? Breathe or else…

  • jack goldman

    Lawful money, gold and silver, is a claim on other people’s lives without government intervention. Currency debasement, unlawful money, bank debt notes worth nothing, steal the future of those who save bank debt notes. Debt is a claim on someone else’s life. Money is a claim on the future. When money is debased it ruins lives. Nations fall when they resort to bank debt notes as money. America has a $15 TRILLION dollar debt that can not be paid. Currency debasement benefits governments, owners, bankers, and brokers who make a per cent. Currency debasement harms children, families, renters, and employees. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow) was $700 in 1963 in lawful silver coins. In those same lawful coins the Dow in 2012 is $600. In fake pretend unlawful US bank debt notes the Dow is $12,000. Which one is right? They both are. The spread is what benefits governments, owners, bankers, and brokers with imaginary non existent fake profits they party with. We are so screwed as a nation. Our families and savers are being pillaged by governments, owners, bankers, and brokers. Until we have lawful money the system will be debased and money bubbles will flow into stocks, bonds, real estate, tech stocks, causing booms and busts that do immeasurable damage. Protect yourself. This is difficult to do. Good luck to us all. I have met the enemy and he is not me. He is governments, owners, bankers, brokers.

  • west williams

    ^^ Jack gets it!

    “money” is not as simple as 1:1 symbol of trade.

    it’s a head game beyond honest exchange, a monstrous perversion of esteem and power in society. the real world hammer of racism and sexism! the consequence of a limited expression of the spiritual/material inter-reliance of everyone, it isn’t totally natural to our human potential. Internationally, the swell of decent people demanding justice and dignity shows the time has come for a genuine global restructuring of value/power. RISE UP

  • Billy Parker

    I agree with the “idea” however, it is a known fact that most people change when they do have large amounts of money. This has a price as well. Someone showed the greatest philanthropists such as Bill Gates, but if BG is worth 60B and all he’s putting out is 100million a year that is still a pretty small amount in comparison to what he could be doing. This idea is like putting 50 gang members in a room and putting 50 guns in the center of the room and saying it’s not the guns that kill it’s the hands holding them. True, but 4 out of 5 people have no willpower and that should account for something in regards to this topic.

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