This quote, from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, puts the previous post, “Why Does Maryland Have The Most Millionaires Per Capita? The Answer Might Make You Angry,” in its proper philosophical, political, and moral context:
Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion–when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors–when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that is does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.
The quote is taken from her character Francisco d’Anconia’s famous “Money Speech,” which is well worth a read, or reread. Her conclusion is inescapable.