Oscar Wilde in his play Lady Windermere’s Fan has Lord Darlington describe a cynic as “a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.”

Economists have frequently been accused of that character flaw, and that all that they care about is money. “For the love of money,” says the Christian bible, “is the root of all evil.” Unfortunately, many non-Christians also subscribe to that tripe.

Here’s a joke. An American and a Russian were boasting about their respective countries. The Russian says, “You Americans only care about money. We Soviets care about people.” The American says, “That’s true. That is why we lock up our money and you lock up your people.”

I am happy to note that ancient Indian tradition did not suffer from that delusion. See, for example, how the Panchatantra approached the matter of money in this post here. But people rarely understand what money actually represents, what it signifies and why. Ayn Rand provides a spirited defense of the importance of money in her book Atlas Shrugged. She had a character, Francisco, say:

“Let me give you a tip on a clue to men’s characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.

“Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another – their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.”

The extended excerpt follows. Continue reading “Money”

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