The Philosophy of Money

The Philosophy of Money

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The Philosophy of Money (1907) is a book on economic sociology
Economic sociology
Economic sociology studies both the social effects and the social causes of various economic phenomena. The field can be broadly divided into a classical period and a contemporary one. The classical period was concerned particularly with modernity and its constituent aspects...

 by the German sociologist and social philosopher, Georg Simmel
Georg Simmel
Georg Simmel was a major German sociologist, philosopher, and critic.Simmel was one of the first generation of German sociologists: his neo-Kantian approach laid the foundations for sociological antipositivism, asking 'What is society?' in a direct allusion to Kant's question 'What is nature?',...



Probably considered Simmel's greatest work. Simmel saw money as a component of life that helped us understand the totality of life.

Money and Value

Simmel believed people created value by making objects, then separating themselves from that object and then trying to overcome that distance. He found that things that were too close were not considered valuable and things that were too far for people to get were also not considered valuable. What was also considered in determining value was the scarcity, time, sacrifice, and difficulties involved in getting the object.

Negative Effects

As money and transactions increase, the value of the individual decreases and everything becomes about what the individual can do instead of who the individual is. Another negative effect of money is the effect it has on people’s beliefs. Everything boils down to dollars and cents instead of emotional value.