17 thoughts on “Does Money = Power Ethically?”

  1. My point, or retort, was why–if there is no moral law–we got so flustered with moral outrage over some things while claiming the primacy of subjective moral reasoning. I don’t believe money brings happiness; nor do any such corporeal things.

    Interestingly enough, Weber’s Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism, which you’re referencing, articulates the view that in Calvinist Double Predestination and without the objective assurances of salvation (say like in the sacraments in Catholicism) then there is an irony in how these Calvinists look for their salvation–in their material blessings! (It’s really a book on Calvinism rather than “Protestantism”.) And, after a long while, when material wealth sets in, belief in God diminishes. It’s really a fascinating read and I recommend the whole thing if you have time.

    BTW, I read your first chapter. I think I’ll have time in February to get through it.


    1. I’m not understanding your point 🙂

      Why are we upset while claiming subjective moral reasoning ? I don’t understand that.

      I suppose I am challenging the essential primacy of the subject. The question is if indeed we will allow people to make virtually infinite amounts of money.


      1. No. I’m saying that since subjective moral reasoning is so dominant, there is no objective grounds to criticize the ethos of power. Why do so many consider money and power ‘bad’ things? Subjective reasoning can just as easily dismiss such criticism as relativisitic. What ground do we have to say when enough is enough or that too much money influencing politics is bad? We don’t. Which is why we now have an infinitude to the question of how much is enough.

        If we accept, prima facie, there is no moral order, then what ground — apart from subjective feeling — do we criticize that which we consider to be immoral? Whatever ground we utilize will be useless. Hence we return to the simple reality of the moral relativists in Plato’s time. The sophists. It’s all about power. If that’s true, which is what Adorno accepted in his critique of late capitalism, then there is an irony in that money has so clearly become the most effective means to the end of power, that those who remain moral idealists and shun money as a means for power are useless fools because the very means of helping others is through monetary leverage in government policies.

        One cannot have their cake and eat it too! 😉


      2. I think you might find the philosophical hack interesting.

        The ground for ethics to How much people make would be exactly in assertion of what most people would like to have happen. It doesn’t really have anything to do with whether there is some sort of godly anchor of ethics in the sky or whatever. It would have to do exactly with people coming to terms with this open ended idea of freedom that they hold so dearly. Which, actually I don’t think will ever happen because people are idiots which, actually I don’t think will ever happen because people are idiots lol.


      3. As I think that Zack attempts to make a point about Trump and Hillary Clinton: The liberal idea of freedom manifest exactly in Trump, so it isn’t so much that Trump is this terrible thing in American politics as much is he is exactly the representative of what this liberal idea of freedom means.


      4. I don’t think money and power are “bad. Things”. People can be bad. And this badnesss relies upon the subjects of the badness, the people who are actually affected in a negative way, to first realize that their lives are bad in a manner that is particular to a manifestion of money being used by someone. And then so begin to be allowed : Yes: in a very Gramsci way: the people must be allowed to think in a certain manner by the people who do think critically and have (the injured people) interests at heart. Not some “grand universal logos” interest of Reason based in nothing, but indeed Reason which actually sees and understands actual situations of value without referring it again to some transcendent Principle.

        There is a separation at work here: not between the usual transcendent tropes of democracy and authoritarianism, but about that kind of reason which finds its substance in what we could call a tradition of ironic separation.

        That’s a lot of thought. 👽


      5. Oh; I didn’t finish my thought: people need to be allowed, to be theoretically “motivated” to thus be able to begin questioning the reality that is given them. Not in some Marxist revolutionary trope that merely plays back into the Deluezian capitalist machine, but in the very religious manner by which human thought behaves.

        K. I’m done. 😆


    2. Yes. I have not read much Weber. Only parts, and discussions years ago. Yes. I do remember now, though, that you’ve said it: that such values would remove the nesessity for God.


    3. My point I guess would be the opposite then: that the way our subjective-centered morality functions is through an implicit reliance upon providence. Like some “invisible moral hand”. What we are seeing is that there is much power being wielded behind the scenes shaping our very idea of what is moral to allow to a few people to be free. While actually redundantly allowing ourselves and our freedom to be enslaved by the elected powerful .


    4. Yes the philosophical hack, I feel, while not academically rigorous is nevertheless philosophically significant.

      And I think it’s a pretty easy read.


  2. If there is no moral law why should one not take this view? Or if it’s all power relations, per Adorno, then whatever is the best means to wield power will be employed demanding a reciprocating contrast. In the case of money being the most effective means to the end of power, if that is true, then those who think they should not use money to influence decisions would be fools.


    1. My point is whether more money means more ethical right. I’m not saying that people should not endeavor to make tons of money, but I am bringing up the question, two questions actually:

      The idea that everyone should be allowed to pursue however much wealth that they want I feel might be based in a concordance idea that if you make tons of money then you have an ethical right to make everyone do what you think is good. And so I’m asking whether that is actually what we believe.

      The other question has to do two-fold:

      We are finding that people who make massive amounts of money, inconceivable amounts of wealth and thus power are able to move social opinion and social attitude to their desire. Without the knowledge of the people that are not making that much money.

      The other part of this question is shall we deem a person that comments say, makes more than $1 billion of personal income per year , Which is to say, if a person feels that they make that much money and that they have to make more money than that, shall we deem that person as in sane and stick them in an institution in the idea that they are harming themselves and society?

      The usual answer to these questions are that you can’t cut off some point of saying you can’t make more money than that because on one hand people will be less motivated to make a lot of money, and therefore not creative, and therefore at Cetra etc. all the idealisms that go along with freedom. And then the other answer I get is by what criteria would you be able to say that someone is making too much money, or is in sane.

      And so then the conversation stops as if that’s the final answer.

      I’m saying that final answers like this are kind of religious attitudes that hold autonomy and freedom as sort of spiritual essence is that our founded in the accumulation of money, as the person that makes tons of money has the divine right to control peoples views ethically, I’m saying that final answers like this are kind of religious attitudes that hold autonomy and freedom as sort of spiritual essence is that are founded in the accumulation of money, as the person that makes tons of money has the divine right to control peoples views ethically, that is control peoples ethical views.

      And then I’m also saying that we make ethical rules arbitrarily all the time, and so what’s any different then say, someone who makes more personal income whether it’s masked and corporations or whatever other type of PS they’re wise we could figure out if we begin to start to questions — we will deem them crazy just as if a person wants to walk around the streets naked all the time. It is not inherently insane for a person to walk around the street naked all the time, we deem that such behavior is in sane. it is not inherently insane for a person to walk around the street naked all the time, we deem that such behavior is in sane

      And my original question came up because of something I heard some Congress people talking about the other night, but also I brought this up before in a past post of mine:

      I have a friend who makes about $4 million a year. He’s a really nice guy and he works insane amount of hours per week, but he’s really devoted to his work and he makes that much money approximately. His life is totally inconceivable to me. At any point in time he can decide to take a trip around the world if you wanted to; He can buy anything that he wants or needs.

      So the question came up with me is just how much a person needs to be content and happy?


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