$, contempt

Dave Long dl@silcom.com
Mon, 13 Aug 2001 11:41:36 -0700

> "This contempt for money is just another trick of the rich to keep the poor
> without." - Michael Corleone 

By what mechanism?  Wouldn't it be the
opposite, greed for money, that would
tend to accumulation?

Contempt for money may not lead to
liberality, but it should encourage
prodigality, not stinginess, on the
part of those who have both.

> So the question isn't whether the rich Jane's money buys her happiness.
> Does it buy other people spill-over happiness -- her office assistance,
> accountants, and purveyors of the other services and goods she consumes?
Money is like manure; it does the most
good once it's been spread around?

Unless the people with whom the rich
Jane trades are in some way different
from her*, this formulation doesn't
easily converge:
"So the question isn't whether Jane's
accountants' money buys them happiness..."

Do we want to tackle the question of
whether affluence can buy happiness
for society as a whole, despite not
necessarily buying it for members?


* invoking declining marginal utility
may be a reasonable option here.

I think there are 3 possible cases:

1: no amount of money can buy happiness
2: more marginal money can always buy
   additional increments of happiness
3: declining marginal utility.

If we can agree on (3), we have the
best chance of making further progress.
Of course, some of us may hold that (3)
is true, but the ED50 is at a billion
in the bank, and others that (3) is true,
but the ED50 is at $30k/yr, but both of
those cases are more easily examined
than (1) or (2).


A supercomputer is a device which takes
compute-bound problems and turns them
into I/O-bound ones.  Wealth is sort of
the opposite, in that it is a device
which takes market-bound problems and
turns them into ?what?-bound problems.
(time-bound is largely what I've been
arguing here; others might say grace-
bound, or meaning- and reciprocation-
bound; is there a general term for any
of these?)