"Wealth Is Evidently Not the Good We Are Seeking” Aristotle

Topics: Virtue, Ethics, Happiness Pages: 6 (2461 words) Published: November 7, 2012
"Wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking”


One of the greatest philosophers of the 19th century, Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), once said "Money is a barrier against all possible evils." Indeed, money can be used for good and the acquisition of money can be done in a moral and upright way. He advises the reader to restrain from striving for wealth, since a lot of money does not make one very happy, and he also does not believe that wealth is important for happiness. For instance, one man can be satisfied with small wage, whereas another man will feel poor with twice the amount. As a matter of course we need enough wealth to live, but more is not necessary. Wealth can free us from working, but for many people this is not a blessing as most people would be terribly bored. Everybody needs a basic income to be able to survive, but after that, wealth is very relative. This view is corroborated in the findings of contemporary empirical research.[1] Money can prevent the suffering from poverty like cold and hunger. Sickness can be relieved by money as well as giving away money to charity can also bring us the satisfaction of relieving others from suffering. It is harsh to deny the importance of wealth in our lives. However, we should not accumulate our wealth just for money’s sake only, and we should also have a goal or plan for using our money wisely in order to obtain happiness of our lives.

What is happiness?

Aristotle holds that a happy life must include pleasure, and he therefore opposes those who argue that pleasure is by its nature bad. He insists that there are other pleasures besides those of the senses, and that the best pleasures are the ones experienced by virtuous people who have sufficient resources for excellent activity. Aristotle does remind us that virtuous activity is impeded by the absence of a sufficient supply of external goods (1153b17–19). Human happiness does not consist in every kind of pleasure, but it does consist in one kind of pleasure—the pleasure felt by a human being who engages in theoretical activity and thereby imitates the pleasurable thinking of god. Aristotle's discussion of pleasure thus helps confirm his initial hypothesis that to live our lives well we must focus on one sort of good above all others: virtuous activity. It is the good in terms of which all other goods must be understood.[2] Aristotle also says briefly but powerfully by arguing that money is always for the sake of something else and hence cannot be the end we seek.[3] Aristotle believes that what we need, in order to live happy life, is a proper appreciation of the way in which such goods as friendship, pleasure, virtue, honour and wealth fit together as a whole by practice, deliberative, emotional, and social skills that enable us to put our general understanding of well-being into practice in ways that are suitable to each occasion (Kraut, Richard).

The Current downfalls

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), for example, is founded on the theory that ethical behavior and transparent financial transactions are essential to insure that the spirit of GAAP is followed and markets are making decisions based on the economic realities faced by an organization rather than illusions. People employed in an unethical corporation have an increased likelihood of stealing from their employers, participating in threats or commission of violence, engaging in fraud or sabotage. Many senior managers had colluded to hide the facts and true picture of their business dealings and financial conditions, while enriching themselves beyond the imaginations of most people. Management failures were not limited to financial manipulation, but also included fiduciary failures, negligence, and customer deceit.[4] We could blame on the greed and dishonesty of many senior executives, who controlled the decisions and had the knowledge of what was...
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