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Jerry Buchko

@Greg: This is such a rich topic, this distinction between the pursuit of money and the realization of the good life.

My suspicion is that the majority of actors who participate in our economy every day would initially become quite uneasy if forced to take seriously the implications of what it would mean that all value was inherently and "only" subjective.

I believe these issues are so important to raise and consider because we don't just provide our labor in exchange for money. Occurring simultaneously with this transaction, on a more fundamental or existential level, we barter our finite time and what we get to experience of life in those moments when we are at our jobs or otherwise chasing money.

@Kent: I agree that considerations of perceived value & decision making come into play here, though I think scientific arguments are still relevant. It's just that certain fields of scientific study, like behavioral economics and evolutionary psychology, are calling into question our traditional notions of what constitutes rational decision making and even whether a dichotomy between the "rational" & "emotional" actually exists.

Kent @ The Financial Philosopher


Good points. There is much overlap with psychology, science and philosophy. In fact, many philosophers from hundreds of years ago would be called "behavioral psychologists" today.

Jerry Buchko

@Kent: Yes, the overlap or kinship between the disciplines makes sense, given that the study of psychology had its beginnings in the ancient philosophical traditions of inquiry.

Even though so much of psychology as a social science has become ever more specialized/narrow & technical in its scope of practice, I think its discoveries continue to naturally lead us back to pondering their meaning; back to considering how what we learn informs our understanding or appreciation of those first fundamental, philosophical or "big picture" questions about the nature of existence & the human condition.

Benjamin Skinner

I really like your definition of wealth in being both tangible and intangible things that we want. Money has value because we give it value. Ancient civilizations used massive stones as currency. They eventually stopped moving the stones and created paperwork that gave ownership to the stones. Eventually the stone didn't even have to be seen... Story goes that a group of fishers bringing a stone across the ocean encountered a storm and the stone dropped to the bottom of the sea. However, because they vouched for it, the value of the stone wasn't lost. It's similar today. You can go get a loan, but the money you are lowned comes from borrowing from others bank accounts, who may or not be borrowed from other sources. It's impossible to tell how much money really exists. We don't care about physical bills, just numbers in our account.

Kent @ The Financial Philosopher

Thanks, Benjamin. Greg Linster did a great job on this blog post.

I like the story of the sunken stone and would like to use that in the future some time. Do you have more information on the story?

Thanks for commenting...


Greg Linster

@Jerry: I think you are exactly right. Thanks again for making this such a great and rewarding discussion! I'm very interested in evolutionary psychology and behavioral economics as well. I'm looking forward to discussing those topics with you more in the future.

@Benjamin: Thanks for the comment and for sharing the story. It is indeed very important to think about what money really is and how it relates to value, wealth, and the good life.

@Kent: Thanks again for all that you do here on "TFP" and for making this discussion so thoughtful with all of your insights!



You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material

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About Kent Thune

  • Kent Thune is a wealth manager, a writer and a philosopher... Read More


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