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Sunday, 14 June 2009

E31: 'Money is the root of all evil'. Do You agree?

This is a misquotation from the Christian Bible. St Paul wrote to Timothy 'For the love of money is the root of all evil'. A very different statement.

When a person makes a lot of money in, say, a successful business, there soon comes a point beyond which its possession is superfluous. At this point, there is a parting of the ways. The options are, first, cultivate expensive tastes, second, give liberally to charity, and third, let it accumulate.

The third option is perhaps the most dangerous. It leads to the love of money for its own sake; meanness to others, and a personal lifestyle which is unduly frugal. Silas Marner was the typical miser of the English novel. A wandering weaver, he settled in the rural West country, lived on virtually nothing, and converted his skills with the loom into gold coins. He hid the coins under a brick in the kitchen and his one pleasure was to count, recount and neatly pile up his treasure . When the hoard of gold was stolen, it seemed as though the end of the world had come. Finally he was weaned away from his obsession with gold by the humanizing influence of an orphan child.

Robert Maxwell was a modern example. Already excessively wealthy, he loved money to such a degree that he stole the pension funds entrusted to his care. When the theft could no longer be concealed, he died by drowning, in circumstances which suggested suicide. He combined love of money - and power - with extravagance. Read the whole essay

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