The old folks used to say money was "the root of all evil." Anyone watching our economy over the last few years might be tempted to say that "evil is the root of all money," or to paraphrase that old John Lennon lyric about God and say that "Money is a concept by which we measure our pain."
But there's more to be said on the subject - by Kanye West and Jay-Z, by William Jennings Bryan, by the great Chuck D and the immortal Otis Redding.
Last week economist Jared Bernstein mentioned Buddhism's "Eightfold Path" in a blog post. I hope I didn't embarrass him by drawing attention to it. Frankly, I was mostly killing time. My activities are limited because one of my hands is in a brace. It's the result of days spent obsessively playing and rearranging an old song to try making a version that's my own - not as good as other versions, maybe, but my own. My tendons and muscles aren't used to that kind of work anymore.
So with the one-finger magic of Twitter I mentioned Bernstein's link and wondered if economics might be the science of quantifying dukka. That Buddhist word is usually translated from Pali as "sorrow." In one of those fun, unexpected online moments, Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg replied that "Dukka = Pain." I responded, "$ is a concept by which we measure our pain."
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