“Money is the sign for the whole human. Money no longer represents a certain value – this much bread or that many bytes – it represents the incalculable value of the human”
There is a large group of people that insist property rights are “sacred and inviolable” and can be defended in only two ways. The first is to make god of the market. The invisible hand becomes The Invisible Hand of a deity who is, if not all-good, at least all-powerful and deserving of all our love and worship. This belief, which is not often aired openly, seems nevertheless to command most conceptions of the market. The second reason for regarding property rights as inviolable turn on an old sleight of hand. Long ago, Locke argued that you could kill a thief, who had not in any way threatened you, because in taking your money he had shown his willingness to take your life. There are many perversities in this pronouncement. The thief, who threatened no one, is killed: the killer, who struck first and without being threatened, is absolved, and absolved beforehand. The perversity that concerns us here is that which has us take money as currency for the individual. In Locke’s accounting, even a small bit of money is worth a human life. Money is no longer a tool for human beings, something they use. Nor is money simply a sign, even a sign for human possessions. Money is the sign for the whole human. Money no longer represents a certain value – this much bread or that many bytes – it represents the incalculable value of the human.
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Taken and adapted from On the Muslim Question by Anne Norton.