{Empty title} | The Nation

There is much to be said for the value system Mr. Barber would like to see us adopt. I see two potential flaws that would need to be addressed for it to get my support:

(1) Class warfare uses material wealth as its yardstick. This thinking is deeply entrenched through endless repitition. It would seem inconsistent to say on the one hand that "money isn't everything" and on the other hand "but we (the poor) want more of it, so we're going to raise your taxes." If I make $100K per year and my neighbor makes $20K, and you assume I'm better off than he without knowing anything more about each of us, you are continuing to worship at the altar of the almighty dollar. You're doing exactly what you're saying we shouldn't be doing: putting a monetary value on happiness.

(2) I believe that laziness is without a doubt the most universal aspect of the human condition. Notwithstanding all its flaws, using a dollar as a rough measure of how much we (or our families) have produced in our lifetimes will keep people from doing what they secretly dream of doing the most: lying around all day playing video games, drinking beer and watching television (and writing letters in microscopic font to unknown websites). How are you going to keep people motivated to work when we no longer have a way to measure what they've produced?