November 20, 2009

Question: Ethics and Money

Here are a couple of questions for our new topic, on ethics and money.  As with all my Friday Questions (and Friday Responses in subsequent weeks), they are primarily aimed at those who have no or very little experience of philosophy, though of course I welcome comments from all, including those with some philosophical training.  But their chief role is to form part of the work I am doing as Senior Fellow in the Public Understanding of Philosophy, and I want absolutely everyone to feel that they can take part in the debate. 

Questions: Is there a necessary tension between ethical and economic considerations?  And what is the role of money (whether making it, investing it or spending it) in the good life?

Here is (part of) the problem.  Most of us are not primarily motivated by money, but only want money for other ends e.g the well-being of our children.  Usually we are aware of this (though sometimes we may be so busy or stressed that we lose sight of the bigger picture).  And yet most of us spend an enormous amount of our lives trying to make the money that we only value because we think it can buy us things that we value more.

Is there any solution to this apparent absurdity?

Some of my thoughts on these questions in my response next Friday, plus some further questions to enable you to clarify your own responses.   


- 5 comments by 0 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Jon Smitley

    At what point does the acquisition of wealth become a negative to, or a detriment to, a society?

    Because a society is an aggregation of individuals and individuals have singular opinions as to the proper (good) and ill (bad) effectives, there will be degrees of tension equal to the disparity of the opinions of the individuals. So yes, there is tension between ethics and economics just as there is in all situations, events, etc… that differing people have differing opinions. But as to if it is necessary? It is in that it is not avoidable with the nature of relativism.

    The good life is dependent on money. But is the the good life based on the having more money for oneself, or is the good life related to the emotional or spiritual enlightenment through the usage of the money. Again, this is relativistic. For some the more money (cash in hand) and the ability to spend at will is the good life (Hedonist, roughly), For others the more money hoarded into investments preparing for a possible future, whether it leads to difficulties or hardships in their current time is the good life, or preparation for the good life. Still there are those who would spend their own money on physical items that would allow them to be creative and potentially bring happiness or welcome distraction to a greater number of people than themselves, but also for themselves. A release of creativity as the good life. Then there are those that live a good life through spirituality. They give of themselves both through physical action and by giving financially. This last point is quite variable all in its own, For some their lives cannot be ‘spiritually’ good without giving all they have and leading an ascetic life, while others are more than content with an occasional small tithe.

    Money is necessary for the good life, whether its for your own usage or security, or for the others of whom you can affect with it.

    Is there a solution? Idealistically, yes; Realistically, no. We could legislate that all people earn equally no matter they work they do. All will share equally in resources (food, medicine, etc), All will be responsible for each other. And the list of imperatives could go on for sometime, but these are only potentials on a non-competitive society. Each of us wants something that someone else has or cannot acquire. Whether it large amounts of wealth, incomparable skill, or new levels of enlightenment. We are competitive, and we want to be recognized for it.

    As we evolved we feasted in times of abundance and hoarded in times of famine, we keep nearest ourselves that which we hold to be the most important to us. And we will protect it, whatever it may be—wealth, possession, spirituality – from any who may attempt to take it from us.

    So yes, tension exists between ethical and economical considerations, but they “what and why” and “how much” tension is relative to opinion and tolerance. And the role of money in the good life is apparent, but is also relative to the individuals and their defintion of “the good life”. Whether they spend money on themselves or on others is relevant only to themselves.

    20 Nov 2009, 22:12

  2. Antony

    1. I want to work online ..

    There are some thin if the legitimate work as a line there. Most are sites and marketing study for the site owner rich, not you. The only thing is true legitimacy Ebay, selling things you already own

    2. Many companies all over the world need your opinions on their products. They will send you a simple online survey forms, where you need to fill it out and they pay you money.

    The most remarkable thing about this paid survey program is that anyone can make money with it. It doesn’t require any special skills, training, education or previous business experience. You only need access to the Internet and basic typing skills. It is the perfect home business for stay at home moms, students, home makers, retirees or anyone that is in need of some extra cash.

    www.onlineuniversalwork.com

    04 Feb 2010, 09:43

  3. Antony

    1. I want to work online ..

    There are some thin if the legitimate work as a line there. Most are sites and marketing study for the site owner rich, not you. The only thing is true legitimacy Ebay, selling things you already own

    2. Many companies all over the world need your opinions on their products. They will send you a simple online survey forms, where you need to fill it out and they pay you money.

    The most remarkable thing about this paid survey program is that anyone can make money with it. It doesn’t require any special skills, training, education or previous business experience. You only need access to the Internet and basic typing skills. It is the perfect home business for stay at home moms, students, home makers, retirees or anyone that is in need of some extra cash.

    www.onlineuniversalwork.com

    04 Feb 2010, 09:45

  4. Antony

    Part time money

    1. There’s a movement to radically change California government, by getting rid of career politicians and chopping their salaries in half. A group known as Citizens for California Reform wants to make the California legislature a part time time job, just like it was until 1966.

    2. The best place for freelance projects is freelancing sites. Freelancing sites are the best option for part time home based business and freelance jobs. There are many types of work available at freelancing sites……

    www.onlineuniversalwork.com

    09 Feb 2010, 12:12

  5. Antony

    1. I want to work online ..

    There are some thin if the legitimate work as a line there. Most are sites and marketing study for the site owner rich, not you. The only thing is true legitimacy Ebay, selling things you already own

    2. Many companies all over the world need your opinions on their products. They will send you a simple online survey forms, where you need to fill it out and they pay you money.

    www.onlineuniversalwork.com

    16 Feb 2010, 06:24


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