Why We Want to Make Money

Writing for the business section of London’s Telegraph, Luke Johnson provides an even-handed discussion of the need for an intellectual framework to guide one’s business endeavors:

It seems odd that there are so few intellectual works that deal with the philosophy of capitalism. Millions of words are written annually on the mechanics of business, but virtually none on the ultimate purpose of it all.
Where is the true justification for the sacrifice and effort? Is the rat race an exercise in futility? In the past 100 years, the profit motive has become the dominant creed, replacing religion, Marxism and the like ? yet there are almost no texts that rationalise why man strives so hard to build enterprises.
Why is it important for those engaged in accumulating wealth to think about the deeper principles underlying their daily work? I believe an understanding of their motivations, and the meaning of our economic and social systems, helps expand the mind and gives a sense of moral value.

After exploring a few other intellectual justifications for the pursuit of success (including those from Christian traditions), he notes Ayn Rand’s contributions:

Ayn Rand, the author of The Fountainhead and inventor of objectivism, was perhaps the foremost exponent of the unfettered philosophy of laissez-faire capitalism. She originated “the concept of man as a heroic being” with “productive achievement as his noblest activity”. Her books and beliefs remain popular today. Eddie Lampert, the Wunderkind behind the recent merger of retailers Sears and Kmart, is apparently an advocate.

See the full article for additional commentary.