In each thing, a French friend–culturally descended from Descartes–once told me, there is a logic. Just so, there is a logic in money.
The logic of money is greed. More is better. More money buys more things–toys, people. Security, freedom. Money may not be able to buy happiness, but, as the saying has it, it sure beats what comes second. One can not be too thin, or too rich. Rich people are different–they have more money.
Conversely, the logic of money, as the young Karl Marx said, is also alienation. The ghost in the room of money is, of course, Marx. Marx is dead. Further, he is discredited by the global collapse of communism. And yet…. If anyone has chronicled the logic of money, it is he. Money produces the alienation of men and woman, from their neighbors, from their labor, and from themselves.
The logic of money is concentration. Money, he told us, tends to concentrate. Biblically, to those who have shall be given. From those that have not shall be taken even that little that they have.
The logic of money is power. Marx suggested that government in capitalist society is an epiphenomenon of power. Government, he told us, is the executive committee of the capitalist class.
Greed, alienation,concentration, power are all elements of the logic of money.
Why then should we be shocked–shocked–at the rising inequality in American society? At the wealth of the 1% super-rich. At the decline of the middle class and the rest, the 99% ? At the fact that the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer? At the increasing dominance of our politics by big money?
Why should we believe that money will be embarrassed by being revealed? Why should we think that we can correct this inequality by political action, by legislation, by constitutional conventions? Why should we believe that the logic of money will be not be as present in the remedies as it is in the processes?
Why should we believe that the logic of money will suddenly, magically disappear when exposed to the light of day?
We are shocked by the logic of money. But why? It has always stood clearly, unashamed, in full, naked view before us.