General Question

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

What is more important to you, freedom or money?

Asked by SquirrelEStuff (9224points) January 30th, 2008
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

30 Answers

ishotthesheriff's avatar

freedom by far. this summer after using the money i’ve saved to travel the east side of america up to nova scotia i am moving out west. i’ll be giving up money and houses and cars and, well, the whole “american” mindset. i’m going to grow my own food and build my own house.
freedom and life are definitely greater than slips of paper that have absolutely no value. (the US dollar is actually worth about 4 cents).

Patlutz's avatar

Quite simply: what the hell can you possibly do with money if you don’t have your freedom?

cwilbur's avatar

The answer varies depending on how much of each I have.

If I have very little money and lots of freedom, I value money more. If I have very little freedom and lots of money, I value freedom more. The marginal value of money and freedom declines as the amount you have increases.

@Patlutz: what can you do with freedom if you don’t have any money? Can’t eat freedom, can’t trade freedom for security or for a warm place to sleep….

ishotthesheriff's avatar

@cwilbur: God has provided more than enough for all of us. it’s our greed that creates poverty. grow your own food. make your own shelter. help others. community is the key. . .

glial's avatar

To a certain extent, I think that money = freedom in many cases.

Actually, the U.S. Dollar is worth about 76 cents. Not quite 4.

ishotthesheriff's avatar

oh, well i heard 4 from Aaron Russo lol. but still, to me i don’t see how it has any value. there’s no gold to back it up and ever since the creation of the federal reserve in 1913 money more and more money comes out of thin air.

glial's avatar

@ishothesheriff – Of course you see how it has value..

Your opening line in the first post…“after using money I’ve saved to travel” “give up money” A little ironic, don’t you think?

Want to make your point? Travel with no money. Set out on foot today, no shoes of course, unless you make them out of something you have grown, see how free you feel without a dime, or should I say, 4 cents in your pocket.

Money may not buy happiness, but it does buy freedom.

seek2be's avatar

what good is money you aren’t free to spend?

ishotthesheriff's avatar

you got me wrong. yes i very well could travel by foot and i will. but it’s the fact that the guy i’m going with is going to the univ. of colorado this fall and so i am paying for his gas to get us to nova scotia and then out to colorado.
who needs shoes? i’ve lived without them for a long time, the only time being when i was in school since it’s usually mandatory. . . and i have made my own, thanks.
money only buys freedom in a country that has become an economic beast. and it’s “freedom”, that is.
it’s all based on perspective…. i promise you i’ll be feeling pretty free in a house i constructed on my own and my own food that i’ll feel pretty safe eating knowing where everything came from. have fun with income taxes and hormone pumped delights.
see how free you feel in a fascist country where people believe money = freedom.
when “it all” burns i’d like to see your the money you have to “buy” freedom.
you don’t buy freedom. you’re born with it. it’s this world that takes it away and makes you think you need money to have it.

mirza's avatar

Changing the world and having total control of mind is more important to me than both freedom and money

ishotthesheriff's avatar

i’m SO with you on that mirza. thank you. only reason i didn’t mention “changing the world” is b/c well… the question is about freedom and money lol.
but yeah, that is sincerely what i plan on doing with my freedom.

lifeflame's avatar

Agree. I think both freedom and money are means to an end.
What you really need is purpose… something that you enjoy and love and want to achieve.

What is freedom anyway? It’s a highly cherished concept in the American psyche, but what does it mean to be free? Compared to our ancestors, we have oodles more choice in what we do for a living, where we can live and travel, the number of people we can meet, the range of material goods that we can own… and yet we probably are more stressed out than our forebears. (c.f. Barry Schwartz’s Paradox of Choice)

In the Era of Choice (worth reading, by the way…it’s a great overview of a lot of theories related with choice), E. C. Rosenthal outlines 4 different types of freedom:

1. Personal freedom – the ability to do what you like as long as you doesn’t impinge on others
2. Sovereign freedom – a.k.a. dictator’s freedom .. to do what you like regardless of other people’s desires
3. Civic freedom – the ability of responsible individuals to participate in community life and governance
4. Spiritual freedom – freedom of what you believe. (And this, no one can ever really take from you. They can torture you, but ultimately, you have control over your mind.)

The truth is, I’m not sure that I want dictator’s freedom, and to do whatever. It is the sense of responsibilities and ties that give my existence purpose. Monogamous relationships, family… they are relationships whose intimacy are defined by the lack of choice.

bluemukaki's avatar

I’m confused, if ishotthesherrif makes his own shoes and loves telling us how our capitalist lives have destroyed our freedom, why is he on a computer? surely it’s made out of bark and his own home-grown microchips…

anyway, I value the freedom to make money and freedom to choose what I spend that money on. I also like the freedom to wear my shoes.

ishotthesheriff's avatar

i wasn’t saying using technology or the such was what takes away our freedom. it’s my freedom to use this computer, like you said. i’m on it b/c i use it for both my jobs. all i said was what i seek with my freedom and the fact that money is something i do not value. yes, i’m using money to buy this computer and to pay for gas and my food, but i’m also saving the money i make to give to my best friend who is using it for college (using the freedom to do what he wants to do. . . which is major in linquistics), hence why i don’ t just get up and leave.
and what the hell does using a computer have to do with me saying “our capitalist lives have destroyed our freedom” ?
and yeah, you may be free to make money. . . then to have the IRS give you a 1040. work should be a trade between you and the person you’re working for. not then have the IRS come in and take what you earned to put back into the country when the “federal” reserve can pull money out of their asses anytime. . .

glial's avatar

So, just so I’m clear. You don’t value money. But you work two jobs? Correct?

Some of the money, you are giving to a friend, to pay for college. Awesome.

This gives him “the freedom to do what he wants to do. . . which is major in linquistics(sp). Very cool.

So he is using your money to buy his freedom. Correct. I mean, if he had his own money he could buy his own freedom and pay for school. Correct.

phoenyx's avatar

My initial reaction was to answer “freedom.” However, there are things I value more than either, so it would depend on the situation. An example of sacrificing freedom for money: would I steal to save the life of one of my children? (say, they needed an expensive operation or a rare medication.) I almost certainly would, even if it meant a jail sentence.

ishotthesheriff's avatar

and i’m giving all the money to him.
he’s not buying his freedom, he’s using the freedom to choose what he wants to do, which is major in linguistics to study and live with the the Inuit culture.

no one’s buying freedom. . . CORRECT. they’re exercising freedom. which I believe is slowly diminishing in the US.
the whole money thing i brought up is
one: b/c it’s part of the question asked
two: freedom exists independent of money! freedom is more important to me than money.
three: the freedom to do what you will with your money is also diminishing, as is the “value” of it.

i’m done with this.
bottom line:
freedom is more important to me than money. money is nothing to me. it’s just easier for my friend to use the money to pay for college to learn the Inuit language than to find someone out in the world to teach him. it doesn’t buy you freedom, however. money is only “valuable” these days b/c of how we have evolved living around it.
i, however, want a life free of money and based on trading of what i have and what the other party has. actual tangible value. money may buy you more financial freedom. but i think a life free of a country or world living around money and economy is absolute freedom.

ishotthesheriff's avatar

ps. just forget the other stuff i said. i’ve been the biggest asshole lately. sorry guys.

PupnTaco's avatar

Freedom, but being broke sucks.

aaronblohowiak's avatar

ultimate freedom means nothing left to lose.

ultimate wealth means nothing left to gain.

of course, these are hyperbole. take from it what you will.

Maverick's avatar

I choose freedom – but the real kind, not the kind currently in vogue.

Unfortunately for most in North America, “freedom” means “freedom to buy what I want”. In which case, its very hard for them to separate freedom from money. Of course freedom and money have absolutely nothing in common with each other. It is entirely possible to have money without having any freedom. It is also possible to have freedom without any money. If you think that you must have one to have the other, you end up with neither – which is essentially what we have now.

syz's avatar

I was married and had plenty of money.
I am now divorced and poor.
I wouldn’t go back FOR ANYTHING.

cwilbur's avatar

@ishotthesheriff: money is just a means of exchange that makes barter more efficient.

Example: I know quite a bit about making computers go. I could barter the skills I have there to a local farmer to provide me with vegetables, to my dentist to provide me with tooth care, to my mechanic to keep my car in repair. Instead, I trade the skills I have to someone who gives me little pieces of paper with no intrinsic meaning or value except that my supermarket, my dentist, and my mechanic will accept them in lieu of barter. This means I spend less time negotiating the transactions, less time finding a dentist who needs computer work at the same time I need a checkup or filling, and I have a much easier time storing the results of my labor in a month where neither my teeth nor my car need any particular attention.

So by getting rid of money, you’re not making yourself independent of the economy; you’re just making your own personal economic transactions a lot less efficient. You might get something out of this—I know a family that survived with very little income on paper, because they were subsistence farmers and wool weavers who bartered for almost everything they needed, and they were very happy doing it because it built solid and enduring connections and relationships with their neighbors and their community—but the idea that barter is somehow nobler than cash is just nonsense.

Now, if you want to talk about how people pursue material goods to the detriment of their spiritual and psychological health, that’s another matter entirely.

ironhiway's avatar

Great question Chris, cwilbur, lifeflame, Patlutz, great contributions thanks. As cwilbur pointed out money makes barter more efficient. Thus with freedom and no money people would still survive. You can’t eat money either.

But without the freedom to buy, own, or use land to build your own home: without the freedom to create valuable contributions to those around us, whether it be a product or labor, in order to acquire the foods, resources, and tools necessary to continue living, not as a slave, but rather as a human with choice. With self esteem and self worth.

Whether you choose to live off the land or invest yourself into some function that rewards you with things and activities. That’s the choice of freedom. Some still choose to be slaves to something, but that is still their choice.

mirza those 2 things are both aspects of freedom. Freedom also can not be taken away, only restricted, because you can be told what to do, but your choice in doing it, is only restricted by the importance of the consequences to you.

Poser's avatar

Money is freedom. At least, it can be.

Sadly, too many people sell their freedom to make money, rather than selling their money to make freedom.

aaronblohowiak's avatar

another view: any freedom you are capable of cannot be taken from you.. you just may not like the consequences of exercising some of your options.

lifeflame's avatar

Isn’t that slightly contradictary: “any freedom you are capable of…”?

Anyway, I have two legs. If I have a bus accident and lose my legs, yes the power to walk on my own legs can be taken from me.

Or, I currently have the capability to express my opinions to other people. They throw me into prison and deny me access to the outside world. Yes, the power to talk to other people and reach the society at large has been taken from me. Yes I can exercise options (e.g., kill myself), but the fact remains, my freedom of speech has been taken from me.

(Thank goodness that neither of these things are true. Knock wood.)

SquirrelEStuff's avatar


You have the freedom to travel. If you have legs, you have the freedom to use them. If you do not, you still have the freedom to use a wheelchair to act as your legs.

If you get thrown in jail, you are no longer a “free” person.

aaronblohowiak's avatar

@lifeflame: I meant to suggest that we should not ignore the options that have heretofore unconscionable implications. I see how ‘capable’ can be irksome. Chris seemed to more clearly express what I was getting at.

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