Saturday, November 15, 2003

No 23.

Money, so they say,
Is the root of all evil today.

Song: Money
Album: Dark Side Of The Moon

Money is an odd thing. We take it for granted that money is real but, if you think about it, that just isn't true. Money is purely conceptual. An idea of human construction. A ten-pound note only has value because everyone not only believes it does but also believes it has the same value. If people started to question that then your tenner would just be a worthless piece of paper.

The idea of money came about because there was a need to rationalise trade, to provide a base against which the worth of some object could be measured. Worth is another human concept (there is nothing intrinsic to their natures that makes a lump of gold more valuable than a lump of wood - it's in humans placing a need on each one that gives them value) but I'm going to leave that one for another day. A relatively simple concept, it has spawned one of the most complex systems in the world.

We are in the middle of tying ourselves up in knots with money, borrowing a lot so that we can buy a home, and we'll be paying that back in large lumps very soon. We'll be paying more to protect against not be able to pay and still more that will give us the ability to pay the whole thing back in the event of disaster. The whole thing gets very complicated and that doesn't even touch on pensions, savings or other insurance.

It is truly amazing what we have constructed from the simple concept of money and the desire to protect it and make more.

One last thing, just going back to the lyric for a minute, if money is the root of all evil and money is just a construct of human imagination then evil stems from human imagination. I would say that's just about right.

No comments: