OK I need help
Posted by pdxpogo 12 years ago
What is Money?  
I understand it makes the world go round.  
It is the stuff that we all slave for.  
It is a substitute for barter, it facilitates transactions.  
It is a game with rules that change from time to time because of the threats we allow others to make.  
Where does it fit in to human psychology?  
The Golden Rule
shigpit: Those who have the gold make the rules.
Whatever it is
SpearmintFur: Here's what money IS NOT.  
Also, here's another Austrian-related quote on money from Mises:  
"Money is nothing but a medium of exchange and it completely fulfills its function when the exchange of goods and services is carried on more easily with its help than would be possible to means of barter."-Mises
SpearmintFur: But really, since you asked about human psychology, and since I really should have addressed your true question, it's a tool that faciliates trade. Otherwise, we'd have to use brute force to get what we need or want in the long run.  
Man is a selfish creature and money helps him be selfish yet play nicely with others.
pdxpogo: I don't see humans as selfish. We could not exist as social animals if we were selfish. Individuals may have an unhealthy obsession with the accumulation of things but by and large we cooperate and coexist.  
I can be wrong of course but after 50 something years that is what I have seen.
lagbnaft: Gathering, to an outrageous extreme.
SpearmintFur: We most certaintly could co-operate with others and still be selfish. You have to admit, man is a pretty weak creature - we don't have fangs, claws, feathers, talons, etc. We can't run very fast, we can't swim very far...we're pretty weak in the animal kingdom. However, we have one thing that the other animals don't have: the ability to think.  
Somepoint in the development of man, a bunch of our ancestors got together and realized that instead of everyone trying to fend for themselves in the wilderness, they could band together and fend off the wilderness and have strength in numbers. Out of their self interest in maintaining their own respective lives, they co-operated. We co-operate because it's beneficial in our own self interest. Over time, morals, ethics, etc. have been implanted in our collective mindset.  
Look at it this why: why do people co-operate? Because there's something in it for them. Why did Mother Theresa help all those poor people? It's because the feeling made HER feel good, or maybe it was the fact she thought doing so was SHE was getting into heaven because of it. The altruist is just as much as selfish as the guy whom society would tend to shun. But the latter, his selfishness isn't working out for him - eventually, he'll be alone and essentially be the master of his ultimate destruction.  
There's a paper I read on this which I could dig out for you that essentially argues the same point.  
Now, back to your question: what is money? As much as I hate sounding like Ayn Rand, money is an instrument that helps facilitate co-operation in recognition of our own natural selfishness. Without it, we'd be no better than barbarians as we'd eventually have to resort to brute force and violence to get what we need or want. Money allows for the peaceful transaction of trade to occur (without the various disadvantages of bartering).  
Pdxpogo, perhaps you should rephrase your question. Are you curious about why money is such a huge part of the human psyche? Or something about materialism and why it drives people so much? It's an interesting philosophical discussion we have here.
my 2 cents
money is a means of measuring a person's ability to contribute to society. It is a measure of resources. It represents what someone can do for you, and its absence is a measure of the need a person has for resources. People or organizations with more measurable resources in reserve are generally viewed more favorably, since their resources are theoretically available to anyone who can figure out how to get them. People with fewer measurable resources are viewed with a lower status, since they potentially could be trying to separate you from whatever resources you've managed to squirrel away.  
Money, in this scenario, represents the truth. Money is THE measure, and really is the only meaningful and objective measure of someone's resources. Other means of assessing resources are mere assessments.  
Once this is all boiled down and internalized, it comes to this: money is a way to ensure that you, as the owner of resources, are wanted and needed, and that the fewest people possible look down on you as someone who could potentially be after what they have. Money is trust. Money is status (since nobody feels comfortable around people from whom they may come to want something, or around people who may want something from them). Money is love (it attracts people to you).  
Money is also a measure of probability. A person with no money relies on chance to get some. A person with any amount of money can use it, along with his wits, to get more. So Money is opportunity. The more money you have, the more opportunities you get for doing different things, things you've never done, things you haven't even considered.  
Money is also a measure of experience, either for a person or their ancestors. Every unit of currency is proof that something happened, and the it went to your credit, at least in a material sense. It can even be an experience all its own. It not only measures experience, it creates it through the whole opportunity thing (see above).  
The Precious.
FoolProof: tsia.