Money Versus People | By Martin Glass | Issue 139 | The Sun Magazine

Money Versus People

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Money Versus People” [Issue 139] is stunning. There are lines and insights in it that I will carry around for the rest of my life; keys that have unlocked some of the most maddening prison doors in our collective existence, just by naming them. But it is newly maddening to see Marx named as the savior. Evidently Martin Glass has never been to Eastern Europe to see the results of Marx’s deadly naivete about human nature, his failure to imagine that the exploited might become exploiters in their turn. Capitalism is one virulent variant of the human disease of the love of power (of which money is a symbol and subset); Communism is another. Well, I suppose there are people who believe in the Marx before Marxism, just as there are those who believe in the Christ before Christianity. But until Lord Acton’s riddle is solved (“Power corrupts. . . .”), placing the evil in one or another system only engenders more evil.

P.S. After thinking some more about “Money Versus People,” I have a sense of what’s wrong with it (along with all that’s right with it). It seems that only by projecting the evil “out there” can we be inspired and high-hearted (self-celebrating, as he put it). But “Capital” isn’t some satanic force out there — it’s also human. Glass isn’t facing reality (as he exhorts us to do) when he opposes “money versus people,” because people created money. (Sure, most of us are victims, not beneficiaries — but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the same embryonic exploitative impulses within us.) “We” are not only hearth and home and temple and museum — we are also Capital! “We have met the enemy and he is us” (Pogo). The real trick is to get inspiration to coexist with awareness of the shadow — forgiveness and vigilance.

Annie Gottlieb New York, New York
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