Issue #25 — 4.5 minute read
👋 Hey phi-lazy-phers
The Notorious B.I.G. said, “Mo money, mo problems,” which I assume is true. But I think many of us would add “less money still has plenty of problems.” We tell ourselves, “If I only made $X, then I’d have enough.” But then we get $X and we’re already wanting more.
There’s no denying money is what makes the world go round in our current version of society, so it makes sense we’re always wanting more. But the infatuation with accumulating money has led to a massive wealth gap and income inequality in many places around the globe. This is worthy of its own newsletter issue, though. For today, let’s see what philosophers have said about money and our personal relationship with it.
Yuval Noah Harari
Money isn’t a material reality – it is a psychological construct.
It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more who is poor.
It is more rewarding to watch money change the world than watch it accumulate.
The greatest wealth is to live content with little.
Money is a measure of wealth, and we invent money as we invent the Fahrenheit scale of temperature or the avoirdupois measure of weight.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Money in its proper place is a worthwhile and necessary instrument for a well-rounded life, but when it is projected to the status of a god it becomes a power that corrupts and an instrument of exploitation.
If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
Friends are better than money. Almost anything money can do, friends can do better. In so many ways a friend with a boat is better than owning a boat.
We are not rich by what we possess, but by what we can do without.
Wealth is like sea-water: The more we drink the thirstier we become.
So you think that money is the root of all evil. Have you ever asked what is the root of all money?
Yuval Noah Harari
Today, most money is just electronic data. The sum total of money in the world is about $60 trillion, yet the sum total of coins and banknotes is less than $6 trillion. More than 90 percent of all money—more than $50 trillion appearing in our accounts—exists only on computer servers. Most business transactions are executed by moving electronic data from one computer file to another, without any exchange of physical cash.
He is richest who is content with the least, for contentment is the wealth of nature.
There’s a common understanding we should save, save, save so that we can enjoy our life in the future. While this has obvious benefits, we all know our future is not guaranteed. We can’t take money with us after we leave this life, and having more money at the end doesn’t necessarily mean your life will end any better than someone with little money.
There’s a balance to be found, though. We can be financially responsible while allowing ourselves to enjoy what life has to offer in the present moment. What’s most important is establishing a healthy relationship with money so that we are not always wanting or needing more. Let’s be content with less so that we can use any excess money to bring positive change to the world.
If you’re a new subscriber and found this particular issue interesting, you may also want to read Issue #2: Material Possessions.
✌️ Until next week, happy philosophizing.
A Look Back: 25 in 5