Running on Money

Karl Marx, in The Power of Money once claimed:

“If money is the bond binding me to human life, binding society to me, connecting me with nature and man, is not money the bond of all bonds? Can it not dissolve and bind all ties?”

This quote explains that Marx believes money is what ties the human race together and to this planet. Marx eludes how money has a divine power, comparable to how we use religion to guide us through daily activities. Marx focuses on how having money can be very beneficial to the individual, providing them with whatever they desire, even the capability to bring things from the “realm of imagination” into actual existence. This could go as far as saying money can create power and happiness.

Locke states in The Second Treatise of Civil Government in chapter V on property:

“Thus in the beginning all the world was America, and more so than that is now; for no such thing as money was any where known.   Find out something that hath the use and value of money amongst his neighbours, you shall see the same man will begin presently to enlarge
his possessions.”

Locke believes that money is an ideology that doesn’t need to be in paper form in order for it to be created and used by society. However, he states that people will begin to covet whatever is being used to hold value, in order to become as wealthy as possible. This idea of holding the most wealth ties in with Marx’s idea that more money leads to power and happiness, while having less goods results in property. Moreover, with the creation of money Locke seems to believe that individuals use it to advance themselves in society; a theme Marx noted and worked to prevent. Previously, people only used and took what was necessary for survival, there was no need to have the most of one good because everyone provided for themselves and traded numerous goods equally. When something is created as a universal trade, such as money, people remove themselves from nature by becoming greedy and taking more than what is needed.

Locke and Marx seem to agree on the power of money and its effects on society, how money brings out the negative traits in human character and seems to remove us from what is truly important in a “community.” Locke focuses on how our relationship with the natural order of the world degrades due to coveting money. Marx focuses on how our relationship with each other, in a community, degrades by collecting money. This leads leading to extreme poverty and extreme wealth, with no care for the other side. Marx does imply that with more money you may become a more appealing and powerful person, while it seems like Locke would not support this statement. Overall Locke and Marx appear to believe that your true individual characteristics are more important to a functioning community, to be in balance with nature, than what others have projected onto and instilled with you.

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