Money as a factor of sociocultural disintegration and alienation
Along with the allocation of social and cultural functions of money, researchers note their alienating and disintegrating influence on various aspects of social life. In this sense, we can already talk not about socio-cultural functionality, but about the dysfunctionality of money (R. Merton), because here it is a question of their influence not on raising, but on reducing the viability of the social system, introducing conflicts, disproportions and disintegration into it.
Asserting as a universal value and a universal way of communication between people, money alienates social relations, leading them to an impersonal, formal type. Invading various social spheres, money is not regulate them in accordance with their nature and internal logic, and subordinate their own logic, which destroys their specificity: if the basis of the relationship between a man and a woman is rational calculation, it will be anything, but not love; if the action of a civil servant is motivated not by a duty, but by a gain, this is corruption, if instead of raising a child, parents will give him plenty of money, they will grow asocial type, etc.
The mechanism of the impact of money on social relations in general terms can be described as reduction of the qualitative uniqueness of social and cultural relations and connections to quantitative and impersonal. These conclusions were reached in due time K. Marx and G. Simmel. There are social spheres, the penetration of money into which appears to be destructive and is perceived as shocking and immoral: for example, love, marriage, family, or state and military service.
Money reveals the property alienate social and cultural motivation itself and thus paralyze a person's will. Paradoxically, the passion for accumulation makes a person incapable of full-fledged economic and entrepreneurial activity: he seeks not to be included in the economic turnover, but, on the contrary, to get out of the peg and to withdraw money out of the productive economy. In money, he sees not a means of exchange, but another, alienated hypostasis of his own personality, which must be preserved, for its loss also means the loss of itself, the meaning and essence of its existence.
When money from a static treasure turns into a dynamic capital and a person discovers their main secret - the ability to self-increase, then the ability of money to alienate the person also acquires a new dimension and quality associated with unwillingness to withdraw them from circulation, for any spent on non-productive - cultural, social, charitable, etc. - the goal is a trifle entails and loss of the profit that it could potentially bring. Therefore, the "economic man," engaged in rational capital increase, is deprived of a genuine social and cultural dimension, delegates his personal properties to money. This feature of money-capital was thoroughly researched by K. Marx: "The more insignificant your being, the less you manifest your life, the more your property, the more your alienated life, the more you accumulate your alienated essence."
To. Marx calls money the alienated power of mankind, because money emasculates the genuine social content of people's relationships, turning them into relationships of money-symbols, not real people with their interests and needs: "What I am and what I am able to do is not determined by my personality. I'm ugly, but I can buy myself a beautiful woman. Hence, I'm not ugly, because the action of ugliness, its scaring power, comes to nothing with money. ... I'm a bad, dishonest, unscrupulous, insipid person, but money is in high esteem, and so is their owner. Money is the highest good, which means that their owner is also good ... And can I, who by means of money are able to receive everything that the human heart craves, do I not possess all human abilities? ".
The most important function of money is the integration of people into society when they are simultaneously freed from personal dependencies. However, this is integration and freedom of a special kind: they are based on alienation. In traditional societies where people interact on the basis of interpersonal forms of social ties, social, cultural, and moral characteristics retain their significance personality. Relations between the owner and employees, even wage earners, are determined not only by money as a form of remuneration, but also by the principles of common identity, personal responsibility, religious community, etc. Participants in economic life are connected by a multitude of sociocultural threads, and money is only one of them. Although monetary obligations are of particular importance, other relationships can not be discounted, and they often interfere with the development and universalization of commodity-money relations, bringing in them such "alien" reasons like a feeling of kinship and community, compassion, fear of condemnation of people and punishment of God. Even if these reasons do not force the seekers of profit to be legible in the methods of enrichment, then at least they are forced to feel remorse and a sense of their own moral inferiority.
However, after the market and monetary exchange become the main form of social integration of the economy, it is impersonal monetary relations that begin to dominate personal ones. Money knows neither kinship, nor national, cultural, confessional community. Money transforms traditional forms of community of people - family, class society, state, ethnos, etc. Invading all these communities, money frees people "from a heap of customs, charisma of symbols", splitting them up simply into those who have a lot of money and those who do not have them.
In addition to alienation, money has the property to counterpose people to each other, sow distrust and hostility. It's not just about the envy of the poor to those who have a lot of money. S. Moskovichi notes that the satisfaction of the acquired is determined only by the ratio with the fact that the other has lost. People who succeed in accumulating money tend not only to experience a sense of superiority over those who do not have such abilities, but also to justify their success by attributing to the looters looters different negative qualities: stupidity, cowardice, slowness, sloth, etc. For their part, the poor rarely believe that wealth is a product of high personal qualities and talents, and in turn demonize the rich, attributing to them cruelty, stinginess, arrogance.
Money invades the picture of the world, introducing alienation from basic optological and axiological relationships. They form the distance between a person and the cosmos and allow the subject to arbitrarily assess the objects. The hierarchy of values is not subject to the immediate being, moral, cultural, social and other needs of people, but is built according to the value, i.e. with the monetary equivalent of things, with how much they are willing to pay for it.
Separating a person from things-objects, money separates him and his own desires, his own goals and aspirations. What seems natural and inseparable from the personality in the paradigm of socio-cultural moral valuations, is alienated from man through money, which is dictated by the very right to desire or not to desire something. Being a universal equivalent of all values, money is a means to achieve almost any goal that a person can put in front of him in modern society. G. Simmel emphasizes that the principle of saving efforts overturns the teleological chain, forcing to focus not on the goal as such, but primarily on the means.
Money, having turned from a simple mechanism to achieve the goal in the very goal, substitute for the whole process of motivation. Seeking knowledge, creativity or power, activity or peace , to family well-being or to entertainments, - with all conceivable variety of possible goals and motives, one must first take care of money. Under the absolute rule of monetary relations, all the needs and desires of people can be met, and all goals are achieved only with the help of money. Hence, money, or rather their absence, makes the aspirations of people meaningless or, conversely, the availability of money turns into a reality that has come to pass that which does not flow from the true abilities and capabilities of man or even contradicts it. Thus, money, being an absolute means, becomes an absolute goal, depriving all other goals of their independent value and significance.Expanding the process of alienation by the money of the value motivation of human behavior, G. Simmel gives a glimpse into the deep mechanism of turning money from a simple medium of exchange into the subject of the most ardent and fatal passions, the cause of tragedies, the motive of crimes and meanness that are committed throughout human history for the sake of owning them. It is the universality of money as a means of achieving any goals, realizing any desires, making them so attractive that it creates the illusion of justification of rejecting any values and ideals for the sake of the future availability of any values and hypothetical opportunity to realize any ideals. A fatal illusion is created, as if money is such a significant goal that all, including absolutely immoral, inhumane, antisocial means are possible for their acquisition. Unlimited expansion of money not only separates man from things and the objective world, they separate him from the axiological universe, depriving him of self-sufficiency.
In the work of "Economical and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 K. Marx points out that the power of money to establish connections between different things and people "lies in their essence, as an alienated, alienating and alienating human ancestral entity". Thus, according to K. Marx, money is an alienation in the process, in dynamics, a constant transfer to all those social relations, which generate money exchange and are themselves gradually drawn into its sphere. This is how money fetishism, develops, the essence of which is that that social relations are replaced by the movement of money, in any case, people begin to perceive their own social connections and relationships through the prism of money: "it is this complete form of the commodity world - its monetary form - that conceals behind the things the social nature of private works, and consequently the social relations of private workers, rather than disclosing these relations in all cleanlinessThe nature of monetary fetishism is akin to religious fetishism, in which also "the products of the human brain appear to be independent creatures ...": "the social relation of producers to aggregate labor seems to them to be outside of their social relation of things ... (Commodity form) - only a certain social attitude of the people themselves, which takes in their eyes a fantastic form of relationship between things. "
Money becomes the most important factor of alienation also in the sense that E. Fromm invents in this concept: when a person "does not feel himself the center of his world, the driver of his own actions, on the contrary, he is at the mercy of his actions and their consequences , obeys or even worships him. " He himself creates money in their modern form, and himself becomes their slave. Man is no longer a "measure of all things", he himself created a new universal measure of values that replaced his real interests from the evaluation process, replacing them with an abstract monetary calculus.
Progressive with the universalization of market exchange, the transfer of the monetary dimension to all relations to things and people leads to the gradual disappearance from modern culture of commensurate reference systems: by measuring everything for money, society loses its own meanings. The completeness of a healthy worldview, connecting the abstract and concrete vision, is practically superseded in the modern market society by a one-sided abstract perception of the world, ignoring the links between phenomena with their specificity and uniqueness. "The universalization of market-type exchange relations regulated by abstract money leads to the fact that individuals as participants in alienated social relations also lose their unique individuality and, in essence, become "nothing". The social nature of the "market" orientation "does not develop any particular specific kind of relationship, but the very variability of attitudes under this orientation is its only permanent property ... Not one particular installation prevails, but an emptiness that can be filled with the desired property as soon as possible." The greatest success is enjoyed not by individuals who have a pronounced personality, abilities that presuppose self-realization in a particular sphere, and those who just do not have special talents are ready to adapt to the personal conjuncture, to be as circumstances demand.
Analysis of the alienation and dominance of money in an industrial society led E. Fromm to the discovery of the occurred substitution of the person by its symbols and signs: replacing the aspiration "to be" by anyone, i.е. determine their personal identity, take responsibility for their own destiny, the imperative "to have". "To have", in the interpretation of E. Fromm, means to have something - things, knowledge, social connections, etc., for the sake of confirming one's status. Possession is not associated with a profound personal mastery of one's property, but implies its alienated use as a sign.
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