The “Progressive” Reality of Capitalism
Paul Millerd shares an article that comments on a capitalist system that has revived Calvinist attitudes towards those who may be less financially fortunate.
One thing I absorbed from the culture I grew up in was that someone who didn’t make a lot of money or that spent their time at something deemed a “low-skill” job was of questionable character. There were always carve outs for people you might become acquainted with, but generally people that had more money were better people.
If you only could understand one thing about American culture it’s that money is the most important thing. We say all sorts of other things about what matters but when it comes down to it the fastest way to get respect and admiration is to be rich. Our reaction to an infectious disease was to deliver four rounds of financial stimulus to the economy. Our biggest celebrities are now billionaires getting divorces rather than movie stars getting divorces.
People have a lot of feelings about money and I’ve written about how money is often just a placeholder for deeper anxieties about life. It seems people will amass millions of dollars before they try to stare the feelings that make them stressed in the face. Many people seem to get the money but never satisfy the worry. A successful real estate investor still worries about being poor1:
‘If somebody tries to screw me over, I think back to all the people who screwed my father out of money, and I react very viscerally to it because I am afraid of being poor still.’
Key points include:
- The hidden force of work: shame
- Guilt vs. Shame
- Who has the wheel?
Read the full newsletter, Money, Guilt, Shame & What Matters, on Boundless.com.