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23 October 2012
KNOWING THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING BUT THE VALUE OF NOTHING
“Once man believed he could make his own pleasures; now he believes he must pay for them. As if flowers no longer grew in fields and gardens; but only in florists’ shops.
“Capitalist societies require a maximum opportunity for spending; both for inherent economic reasons and because the chief pleasure of the majority lies in spending. To facilitate this pleasure, hire-purchase systems are developed; the various forms of lottery fascinate the would-be rich as the brightly lit booths of a travelling fair once fascinated the country peasant. All those symptoms classed under consumer neurosis appear; but there is a far worse effect than all these.
“This is the monetization of pleasure; the inability to conceive of pleasure except as being in some way connected with getting and spending. The invisible patina on an object is now its value, not its true intrinsic beauty. An experience is now something that has to be possessed as an object bought can be possessed; and even human beings, husbands, wives, mistresses, lovers, children, friends, come to be possessed or unpossessed objects associated with values derived more from the world of money than from the world of humanity.”
Extract from The Aristos (chapter 8, paragraphs 9, 10 and 11), a collection of philosophical, psychological and political musings by English novelist John Fowles (1926-2005).
The country whose dominant ethos has contributed so much to the monetization not merely of pleasure but of human existence in its totality, where money is synonymous with goodness and whose mission it is to impose the gospel of mammon across the length and breadth of the globe, is, of course, that paragon among nations, the United States of America.
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
5.Ladder (21 June 2012)
6. A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
7. A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.