You could think of money as a bundle of alternatives, options — and you wouldn’t be wrong. ((With these five bucks I could buy this week’s Economist, or get an Oreo Blizzard, or go watch El Laberinto del Fauno, or give something to eat to a street kid, or gift Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! AM to Sergio, or save for my old age, or pay one more month of the gym, or pay someone to do my dry-cleaning and lie on the grass instead.))
You could think of life as a bundle of options — and you wouldn’t be wrong. ((With these one more hour of life, I could read part III of David Friedman’s The Machinery of Freedom AM, or talk to Chemito in Monterrey, or to Sergio in Ciudad Juarez, or write that email for Adolfo, or go to the gym, or flirt with that girl, or masturbate, or work at Domburi, or write my next post, or think through why I believe the government is only legitimized force, or go lie on the grass instead.))
Thus, you could think of money as life — and you wouldn’t be wrong.
Options are our universally valued currency.
Now, of course money isn’t always life. There are some options that we think of as life that may be impossible to get in exchange for money. (I may spend all my money trying to revive my grandmother and, in all likelihood, never be able to do it.) And there are some options that we think of as economical that may be impossible to get in exchange for life. (I may spend my life trying to buy a space station and, in all likelihood, never be able to afford it.)
But there’s still undoubtedly a huge overlap between them that most people are uncomfortable to acknowledge — the most they’re usually willing to concede is the common wisdom that «you need some minimal amount of money to live», which translated yields the tautological «you need some minimal amount of options to have options». The difficulty, seems to me, is that by life we mean both «options» and «taking options». What is the point of always striving for money (options) if you’re not going to live with it (take them!)? Under this light, common wisdom translates to «to be able to take options you need to have a minimal amount of options.» Which is still fairly obvious, but far more wisdomous.