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Petak, 21 Maj 2021 10:52

The role of money in modern society

The universal character of money has been a topic of interest throughout philosophy, sociology, and psychology for centuries. The notion of money is rationally expressed in numbers, but again it emerges as a myth in various forms. In modern society, money is the most sophisticated social measurement system. It is a sign of success, wealth, power, importance - personal, societal, international. We all, on some level, lust for money. The accumulation of money for money's sake is a major disturbance in relationships.

The importance of money within the system of appreciation is measurable by the development of the money fine. We first encounter in this area, as its most peculiar manifestation, the atonement of murder by payment of money an occurrence so frequent in primitive cultures that it makes specific examples unnecessary, at least for its simplest and most direct form. Less appreciated, however, is not so much the frequency as the intensity with which the relationship between human value and money value dominates legal conceptions.

German philosopher and sociologist Georg Simmel published his magnum opus, The Philosophy of Money, in 1900. It is an amalgam of history, economics, sociology, social psychology, and cultural commentary. Simmel focuses on the psychological and sociological effects of money as a cultural determinant. Discussing the meaning of money is for him a matter of discussing money as a phenomenon. He describes the experience of money and analyzes the preconditions that give money its meaning: consciousness, social relations, and values.

The order of our investigation of the different sections of the proletariat follows naturally from the foregoing history of its rise. The first proletarians were connected with manufacture, were engendered by it, and accordingly, those employed in manufacture, in the working up of raw materials, will first claim our attention. The production of raw materials and fuel for manufacture attained importance only in consequence of the industrial change and engendered a new proletariat, the coal and metal miners. Then, in the third place, manufacture influenced agriculture, and in the fourth, the condition of Ireland; and the fractions of the proletariat belonging to each, will find their place accordingly.

As the rebellious eldest son of a family of German industrialists, Friedrich Engels was sent in 1842 to Manchester to oversee his father's textile business, and he lived in the city until 1844. Manchester was then at the very heart of the Industrial Revolution. There, he spent spare time talking to the workers and collected data for his first work, which was originally written in German as Die Lage der arbeitenden Klasse in England. That sociological study was first published in Leipzig in 1845. The English edition The Condition of the Working Class in England (authorized by Engels) was published in 1887 in New York and London in 1891.

"... My studies have identified some 70 traits that characterize the culture of poverty. The principal ones may be described in four dimensions of the system: the relationship between the subculture and the larger society; the nature of the slum community; the nature of the family, and the attitudes, values and character structure of the individual. The disengagement, the non-integration, of the poor with respect to the major institutions of society is a crucial element in the culture of poverty. It reflects the combined effect of a variety of factors including poverty, to begin with, but also segregation and discrimination, fear, suspicion and apathy and the development of alternative institutions and procedures in the slum community.

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