Lambert here: This is a fun polemic with a lot of linky goodness, but while I’m intrigued by the notion of putting tolcapone into the water supply (kidding!), I’m dubious about the central trope, addiction to money. For one thing, the author slides between money, cash, and wealth. Those are three different things! For another, an addiction is typically thought of as an individual or at most family matter (see, e.g., AA). But wealth, at least, is constituted by complex, extended social relationships. Finally, the concept of addiction tends to be applied promiscuously to anything we feel has power to remove our sense of agency from us but is not well understood. (“We admitted we were powerless over capital.” Sensible as a First Step, or not?) Absent a physiological pathway, I tend to resist the addiction trope. The author proposes two physiological pathways: Dopamine, but qualified (scientists “are beginning” to understand, and tolcapone, which speaks to altruism, not money per se. And so but enjoy the read and discuss. Family [blog] discussions about money are always entertaining, and sometimes instructive!
By Mike Sosteric, Associate Professor, Sociology, Athabasca University. .
In a widely cited confessional in the New York Times in 2014, former Wall Street trader
He intimated a toxic childhood and an abusive parent ().
He revealed the exhilaration (a well-known ) at the power that money provided him.
He admitted that he abused money like he abused alcohol and cocaine — to feel better about himself.
In the powerful throes of his deep addiction, his “fixes,” including cash bonuses, were never big enough. Like the “users” on Wall Street who , he would do anything, including bringing harm to others, to amass more cash. A typical addict, he didn’t care as long as he could have more.
, but we don’t have to wait for them to catch up. We know this is a problem. As I argue in this video, money is the most highly addictive substance on the planet:
It is a powerful addiction, unrivalled in its ability to trigger good feelings, and what’s most frightening about it is that you can’t ever physically overdose.
Cocaine, heroin and crack will kill you if you do too much, but not money. Money won’t harm you, physically anyway. The cash addict can madly mainline moolah from the trading floor, the Senate floor or, with smart phone in hand, the bathroom floor without ever risking a deadly OD. It would be comical if it wasn’t so tragic, yet it is very tragic indeed, for the addict, their families and society at large.
Money Addiction as Tragic as Any Other
Make no mistake about this. Like all addiction stories, wealth addiction is tragic. Like all junkies, cash junkies will do anything to service their need. They will their own families while they work long hours to make more.
To the outside world, everything will seem fine. They will “keep it in the family” as they dissemble, distract and confuse. They will buy nannies and ponies and cars. They will snort cocaine and go shopping and jet off to exclusive resorts to hobnob with other wealthy people. They will present their wealth fashionably, but as Sam Polk one day realized, the pain and anguish are real.
And it’s not just the neglected family that suffers. There are no boundaries. Like a fentanyl addiction, it takes over and distorts everything. Cash addicts in the U.S. government (), their campaigns funded by the wealthy, will , , , engage in , and even sacrifice kids in yet , .
And that’s not even the worst of it.
The addicts will , , , derail and in their desire to have more.
So what to do?
Well, as strange as this is going to sound, . In a remarkable experiment in the journal Current Biology, tolcapone, a drug that prolongs dopamine feelings, made participants who took it rather than a placebo become more egalitarian about money. A magical cure seems all right to me. But even if you can’t get access to tolcapone, there are immediate things you can do.
Stop neglecting and abusing children. : Abuse and neglect in childhood cause copious mental and emotional problems, and lead, via damage to neurochemical systems, to addictions in adult life. If we don’t want to raise another generation of addicts, speak up when you see children being mistreated by their parents, , or anyone else given access.
As cliched as this may sound, do something about the addict in your life. Stop avoiding the situation. Quit enabling the addiction. Stop suffering in silence. Don’t lie to yourself. We all have experiences with addiction and we all know, if we don’t do something, it only gets worse. So do something.
To make sure we don’t fall victim to a money addiction, get out and get active. Educate. Prognosticate. Most important, . At the very least, get out and vote. and , but we still have the power to vote. Sure, , left versus right, Darth versus Luke sort of thing, but there are addicts on both sides, .
See this problem for what it is: A loosely organized group of global addicts to to enrich each other financially. If you think this is about “” and , you are gravely mistaken. It is about and gobbling as much as they can, . It is about the service of globalized addiction. It is a serious problem, and we should all be concerned, because to the , everything, even a holocaust, is merely an “” for amassing more wealth.
Like any addict in the throes of their addiction, there’s no limit to how far this can go.
While there is still time, gently, carefully, take their and away. Don’t hurt them and punish them, because that’s what made these people sick to begin with. Instead, remind them of the illness that binds them, and get them the help that they need.
See the truth. Take some action. If you need it, get help.