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An Analysis of Lewis Lapham’s Essay Money and Class in America

Lewis Lapham’s Money and Class in America describes how Americans use and value their money. He describes that money symbolizes a person’s success in life. He also puts in many religious aspects of money. However, not all people use their money for success.

Lewis Lapham describes Americans being “deflected by the pursuit of money” in which they can turn “in no other direction.” He is saying that most Americans are so absorbed into money that their life relies very heavily on it. Lapham over generalizes Americans as people who need money for survival. He also says that money is a “theorem of happiness” as people who have money are happy. Although it is true that money makes people happy, people can be equally happy without much money in life. Many people do not have much money. These people can still be equally as happy without the abundance of money that is needed.

Lewis Lapham’s use of the phrase “the use of money as currency of the soul” presents a religious view as a spiritual view on money. The “currency of our soul” can be interpreted as Americans being heavily dependent on money as a form of living. If money is all we think about, it limits our freedom of expression for an influence of greed on money. Big business leaders cannot let their greediness of money influence their development of improving their businesses. For example, the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, did not let money influence his thinking of new ideas, such as the previous iPhones, to make the new improvements and developments on the iPhone. If people let money influence our lives, it would be hard to focus on a specific subject, such as inventing new products. Money cannot influence our personal lives because it would be an obstacle that we cannot overcome.

Lewis Lapham’s view on money that Americans are greedy is unjustified because there are many other people who are just as happy without much money to live off, and money cannot get into our personal lives’.

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