Friday, July 17, 2009

Money Woes!!!

The obsessive pursuit of profit & wealth (gain) has been with the world since Cain killed Abel*; and has been the subject of lamentation in every age. Here is a small sampling of lamentations and warnings:**

King Solomon (900s BC)
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! (Old Testament Proverbs 16:16)
Isaiah (700s BC)
Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. (Old Testament Isaiah 56:11)
Jeremiah (600s-500s BC)
For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. (Old Testament Jeremiah 6:13)
Sophocles (496 BC-406 BC)
Surely there never was so evil a thing as money, which maketh cities into ruinous heaps, and banisheth men from their houses, and turneth their thoughts from good unto evil. (Antigone)
Socrates (469-399 BC)
Men of Athens, I honor and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting anyone whom I meet after my manner, and convincing him, saying: O my friend, why do you who are a citizen of the great and mighty and wise city of Athens, care so much about laying up the greatest amount of money and honor and reputation, and so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul, which you never regard or heed at all? Are you not ashamed of this? (Emphasis added) (Plato, Apology, Translated by Benjamin Jowett)
Polybius (ca 203-120 BC)
… at Carthage, nothing that results in profit is regarded as disgraceful. (see Will Durant, The Story of Civilization: Part III, Caesar and Christ, p. 414)
Cicero (106-43 BC),
Endless money forms the sinews of war. (Philippics, Oration V, sc. 5)
Horace (65-8 BC)
Money madness is the basic disease of Rome. (see Will Durant, The Story of Civilization: Part III, Caesar and Christ, p. 245) Petronius (ca 27-66 AD)
What power has law where only money rules? (Satyricon, Cap. XIV)
Paul, the Apostle (died ca 64 AD)
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (New Testament 1 Tim. 6:9-10)
Francis Bacon (1561-1626 AD)
Above all things, good policy is to be used, that the treasure and moneys, in a state, be not gathered into few hands. For otherwise a state may have a great stock, and yet starve. And money is like muck, not good except it be spread. This is done, chiefly by suppressing, or at least keeping a strait hand, upon the devouring trades of usury, ingrossing great pasturages, and the like. (Essays of Sir Francis Bacon, “Of Seditions and Troubles”)
Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774 AD)
Ill fares the land to hast’ning ills a prey
Where wealth accumulates and men decay. (The Deserted Village)
Charles Dickens (1812-1870 AD)
This narrow thoroughfare, baking and blistering in the sun, is Wall Street: the Stock Exchange and Lombard Street of New York. Many a rapid fortune has been made in this street, and many a no less rapid ruin. Some of these very merchants whom you see hanging about here now, have locked up money in their strong-boxes, like the man in the Arabian Nights, and opening them again, have found but withered leaves. (American Notes, Chap. VI)
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910 AD)
Money is a new form of slavery, and distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal – that there is no human relation between master and slave. (What shall We Do Then? 1886)
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945 AD), 32nd US President
The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson. (Letter to Col. Edward Mandell House (21 November 1933); as quoted in F.D.R.: His Personal Letters, 1928-1945, edited by Elliott Roosevelt (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1950), pg. 373.
Sen. Barry Goldwater (1909-1998 AD), (R-AZ)
Most Americans have no real understanding of the operation of the international money lenders ... The accounts of the Federal Reserve System have never been audited. It operates outside the control of Congress and ... manipulates the credit of the United States.
(With No Apologies: The Personal and Political Memoirs of United States Senator Barry M. Goldwater (1979)
Robert L. Heilbroner (1919-2005 AD)
No other civilization has permitted the calculus of self-interest so to dominate its culture. It has transmogrified greed and Philistinism into social virtue and subordinated all values to commercial values. (Business Civilization in Decline, Norton, 1976)
John Danforth (1936- AD), former Republican senator from Missouri
I have never seen more senators express discontent with their jobs. ... I think the major cause is that, deep down in our hearts, we have been accomplices to doing something terrible and unforgivable to this wonderful country. Deep down in our hearts, we know that we have bankrupted America and that we have given our children a legacy of bankruptcy. .. We have defrauded our country to get ourselves elected. (Reported in the Arizona Republic of April 21, 1992)
* See "Selections from the Book of Moses" 5:31-33, Pearl of Great Price—scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
**Thanks to for several of these quotes
Creative Commons License
Déjà Vu ~ Times blog by SMSmith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.