Lewis Lapham: Acquires Meaning

Posted by admin on Monday, July 11, 2022

Lewis Lapham Money Quote saying Money acquires it’s meaning from the uses to which it is put – for good or ill. Lewis Lapham said:
Money votes socialist or monarchist, finds a profit. It acquires its meaning from the uses to which it is put Quote

“Money votes socialist or monarchist, finds a profit in pornography or translations from the Bible, commissions Rembrandt and underwrites the technology of Auschwitz. It acquires its meaning from the uses to which it is put” — Lewis Lapham


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Lewis Lapham seems to be making a few key points in this quote:

  1. Money itself is neutral – it can be used to support a wide variety of causes, from socialist policies to monarchism, and fund both high art and atrocities.
  2. Money derives its meaning from how it is spent and applied, not any inherent values of its own. Whether money supports good or ill in the world depends entirely on the choices of those controlling it.
  3. By funding any and all activities, from art to war crimes, money highlights how it is human values and priorities, not money itself, that determine the impact of economic resources. Money will reflect and amplify the moral compass (or lack thereof) of its beneficiaries.

In short, Lapham appears to be arguing that money is a morally neutral tool whose consequences depend completely on the values and intentions of those directing its use. The quote calls attention to money’s flexibility rather than any fixed meaning or tendency on its own.

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