The merchant regards the whole existence of fellow humans as a sum of commercial transactions to be made as favourable as possible for himself.

Applying this worldview he gives material values an important place. Economic and especially commercial activity are honourable and respectable.

As a consequence, economic interests override all other aspects of life.

Once the merchant and his attitude get the upper hand, he can easily transfer it to all sectors of life in any given society.

Technical and economic growth, which without the merchant’s domination seems meaningless, gains almost all meaning. It constitutes the highest value.

Now the merchant sells his goods in order to acquire money (as the worker sells his labour). The money enables him to buy something else or he might decide to keep it.

Why would he keep it? Is this not against his worldview?

Owing money can be more satisfying than owning things it can buy. Its worth actually surpasses the value of material objects for which it can be exchanged – money’s surplus value.

The owner of money delights in the additional satisfaction that comes from having the possible choice of innumerable other objects it could buy.

Thus the value of any amount of money owned is equal to all the objects it can buy plus having the freedom to choose any other available one.

The emotional value the owner of money places on the material object(s) he wants to acquire is transferred to the means to obtain it.

What begins as a means becomes an end in itself. Money, the ultimate thing.

Why would he keep it

January 2018