Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jacques Ellul on Money

Sociologist and theologion, Jacques Ellul has some relevant observations regarding money. Though he does not raise the cause, namely inflation, he recognizes its consequence. He also recognizes the effects of government control over money.

"Money and its possession and use always have meaning. Is not this self-evident? Yet it is not as certain as all that. Economists and sociologists have noted a change in the attitude to money. People recognize that there is now no point in being economical, in building up capital, in looking ahead. Economizing? What sense does this make when prices keep going up and the value of money constantly falls? Capital? What is the point of going without things to build up a reserve when there is an increasing socialist trend, when more and more funds are held collectively, when capital is increasing social and individual capital is threatened and might in the long run be confiscated? Money is simply a thing in transit.

This does not mean, of course, that the power of money has decreased. Not at all! But it no longer has any meaning in itself. It is becoming either an instrument of social power and prestige (if one has enough of it) or a means of consumption. It is linked to consumer growth.

Psychologists and sociologists, however, tell us that this is not enough to satisfy modern man. Modern man finds no happiness in high consumption. Affluence grants him a moment of pleasure bot over a long period it satiates him. The pleasure it gives is fleeting. Consuming does not fill his life. He wants something else." The Ethics of Freedom, page 462-463

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