Is Money So Evil?

Money is the root of all evil, isn’t it? So does that mean that money itself is evil? Um… it’s just a thing. How can a thing be evil?

Do we honestly believe we can influence the prevalence or growth of evil by getting rid of money? Hmmm… maybe it’s not the money that’s evil, it’s some people who have money, and do evil to get more or keep what they have.

Our relationship with money affects everything we do, good or bad. And in a recent analysis, the thought arose that negative associations with money can result in self-sabotage of plans and achievement of worthy goals (aka, success). So how do these negative associations with money arise in the first place?

Here’s a thought experiment: What if the wealthy have and are perpetuating a myth that money is evil so that the majority of people will avoid attaining it? They’ll take limited-wealth employment instead, and thus become cogs in the wealth machines of those who currently have it. It certainly makes sense. Those who have the wealth and power in our society want to keep it that way, of course, and sowing myths and illusions about money would logically help them do that.

It’s worth noting that many if not all of the world’s major religions support such myths, advocating humility, and with sayings such as “money is the root of all evil”, which while it might be true, doesn’t necessarily mean that money always leads to evil. One could just as easily say that people are the root of all evil. Evil is carried out by people. People with money and power are able to do more evil than the poor. But money is just an exchange medium, representing value, whether it be labour, real estate, or Van Gogh paintings. It can be used for good or evil.

But if some good people avoid acquiring money for fear of becoming evil, who does this benefit? Well, the wealthy, some of whom are not advocates of social justice and equality, and actively promote inequality (witness the recent tax cuts for the rich in the US).

Whether or not the wealthy have set up and perpetuated a society in which the majority of people are content to be relatively poor, choosing not to accumulate money, by choosing to work for others, one still has to ask where or how this happens. What messages do we receive about the wealthy, about money, about, well, corruption for example. It’s caused by money, isn’t it? Well, no, it’s caused by greedy people wanting to perpetuate their wealth, or to gain it, and willing to compromise the rest of us to do it. Look at the news stories we hear or read, the books and movies we watch. The preponderance of negativity concerning wealth is pervasive. We are surrounded by it. Little wonder we avoid it.