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How Money Became the Measure of Everything

As we move into the weekend, which for most families feels exactly like the weekdays, I wanted to share an article that really opened my eyes to something fundamental about our society.

Our society often conflates money with value – we think of people who make more money as being “better.”

If you make more money, you must be [insert your definition of better here]. Smarter? Harder working? More efficient? Cleverer? It’s not universal and not in all cases, but I think, as generalities go, it holds true even if we don’t like saying it out loud.

How did we get to this point? The answer is simple – capitalism.

How Money Became the Measure of Everything [The Atlantic] – “Money and markets have been around for thousands of years. Yet as central as currency has been to so many civilizations, people in societies as different as ancient Greece, imperial China, medieval Europe, and colonial America did not measure residents’ well-being in terms of monetary earnings or economic output.

In the mid-19th century, the United States—and to a lesser extent other industrializing nations such as England and Germany—departed from this historical pattern. It was then that American businesspeople and policymakers started to measure progress in dollar amounts, tabulating social welfare based on people’s capacity to generate income. This fundamental shift, in time, transformed the way Americans appraised not only investments and businesses but also their communities, their environment, and even themselves.”

By the way, you should leave that article with an understanding of this fundamental piece of capitalism – it’s the idea that “basic elements of society and life—including natural resources, technological discoveries, works of art, urban spaces, educational institutions, human beings, and nations—are transformed (or “capitalized”) into income-generating assets that are valued and allocated in accordance with their capacity to make money and yield future returns.” Is that a good thing or a bad thing? 🙂

Why Does The Stock Market Go Up Over Time? [Four Pillar Freedom] – “The S&P 500 has never lost money over any 18-year period and during the worst 30-year period it still delivered 4.3% annual returns even after inflation, which was good enough to triple an original investment. Simply put, stocks go up over time. But why?”

Forget botox and beauty regimes… if you want to look better? Be generous…er?

Is being generous the next beauty trend? [ScienceDaily] – “Is being generous the next beauty trend?”

J.D. is back in the saddle for next week, have a great weekend Apexian!