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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/12823/defending-the-miser/

Defending the Miser

May 28, 2010 by

The miser is roundly condemned and blamed for unemployment, changes in the business cycle, and economic depressions and recessions. Far from being harmful to society, the miser is a benefactor, increasing our buying power each time he engages in hoarding. FULL ARTICLE by Walter Block

{ 26 comments }

Bala May 28, 2010 at 8:54 am

” Before a retailer begins to lay off employees and cut back on orders because of unsold goods, he will usually try lowering his prices. He will hold a sale or use some other technique that will be equivalent to a decrease in price. ”

Ha! Ha! Ha! That’s precisely what I have been doing in my little business out here for the last 1 year. Just wanted to add some evidence that the process described above is not hypothetical but strikingly real.

doug May 28, 2010 at 12:30 pm

I’ve got to get my wife to read this article!

Del Lindley May 28, 2010 at 3:30 pm

The most conspicuous example of cash hoarding I have seen is stapled to the walls of the Superstition Saloon in tiny Tortilla Flat AZ. As they say in their ad, “the unique wallpaper is really dollar bills from visitors worldwide.”

http://www.theapachetrail.com/tortillaflat/oldwesttown/restaurant.html

A waitress told me that this wall covering amounted to about 100,000 one dollar bills.

I am afraid that in the modern context, the hoarding of a fiat currency is something less than heroic.

michael May 28, 2010 at 4:37 pm

The author seems to be reacting against a slur no one is making. He uses the word ‘miser’ to describe someone who saves a portion of his income. But that virtue is universally considered to be wise and prudent, and is cause for admiration.

Nor, I would think, is there anyone who would dispute the central tenet of the article: that declining to buy commodities or services tends to drive their price down. We are living amid a prime example right now. High unemployment, recession-led caution in saving rather than spending and lack of discretionary income have led us to a situation where the consumer economy is so moribund that the CPI has actually gone into negative numbers. We now have had price deflation for eight of the last sixteen months!

http://inflationdata.com/inflation/Inflation_Rate/HistoricalInflation.aspx

In short, saving rather than spending one’s discretionary income confers an obvious benefit to the individual– that of security. Collectively, though, it’s spending that causes the wheels of commerce to commence turning– and leads to the creation of jobs, to satisfy that demand that the spending of dollars brings forth.

Craig May 28, 2010 at 5:19 pm

“Collectively, though, it’s spending that causes the wheels of commerce to commence turning– and leads to the creation of jobs”

New here?

Look, when I save my money, it’s lent out to businesses who use it to expand or make their operations more efficient. It becomes part of mortgages and car loans, too. In other words — it’s spent! Just not by me.

The claim that it harms the economy is false.

michael May 29, 2010 at 9:40 am

Hi Craig. No, I’m not new here, I just haven’t swallowed the Kool Aid.

When money gets spent purchasing or selling derivatives, it most often does not end up doing any useful work. It just circulates and recirculates within a very narrow segment of society– the financial sector. It never comes down to earth.

Meanwhile, thousands of small business tend to get starved for operating funds. They’re considered too small to bother with. It’s much easier for a major financial institution to make a billion dollar hedge with their available funds than it is to micromanage twenty thousand small business loans.

That’s a defect in the system. Small businesses are our major creators of employment. And the more people they have working for them all go out with paychecks in their hands and buy stuff. THAT’S what causes manufacturers to hire on more assemblers, retailers to stock their shelves more frequently and open new branches, and builders to hire on more people to satisfy demand. It’s basic economics. In fact it’s even more basic than that. It’s just simple common sense.

So if your object is to maintain a system where everyone can find a job and businesses all have money flowing in in the form of cash receipts, you emphasize the circulation of money within the consumer economy.

Conversely, if your object is to restrict the circulation of cash to the major investment banks and their largest customers, encourage everyone to SAVE. Then the banks will have more of our money to play with. And businesses, no longer enjoying the health that comes from abundant receipts, will be forced to borrow from them to get through the slow-business slump.

Matthew Swaringen May 30, 2010 at 10:23 pm

It sounds “common sense” to talk about the circular flow of money because you are still for some odd reason equating money with actual productivity (which I’d say is not common sense at all, just … Keynesian propaganda). You seem to believe that the more money there is an economy or business the more is actually going to be done, and that’s not true.

You also contradict yourself by calling saving wise, then saying telling people to focus on saving helps banks at the expense of others. I guess your point was that it’s only wise for them, but you don’t really deal with the contention made by the article at all.

I’d really like to understand how Austrians are the ones who help banks when it’s the believers in circular flow who were such big supporters of bailouts for the banks. It also sounds like you are saying the money that was being moved around by the hedge fund managers was not really about important things like small business, but derivatives that have no meaning. If that were true, there is even less reason to bail them out. I’m not sure if you supported this or not, but I’ve not seen any Keynesian who hasn’t supported the stimulus or this ridiculous monetary policy we are carrying on right now.

Stephen’s point is a good one, the problem is that Keynesian’s have the wrong concept. It’s not that demand creates supply, but the other way around. A good illustration of this is internet service. When there was no internet, there was no demand for an internet service. Entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to create services, and believed this is something people would desire, but people couldn’t actually demand it until it was there.

Products have to be produced in order to be purchased (supply before demand). If they aren’t purchased prices have to be lowered, leaving less money available to produce new product, but this in no way means that demand is driving the supply that does exist.

This belief in lack of demand is the reason that crops and goods were destroyed to keep prices artificially high during the great depression. But some people were unable to eat, obviously the demand existed. The demand simply did not exist at the price that was asked. The supply should not have been destroyed to keep the price artificially high, this made everyone poorer because otherwise good crops were taken out of the system that could have been used at some price.

michael June 1, 2010 at 8:42 am

“It sounds “common sense” to talk about the circular flow of money because you are still for some odd reason equating money with actual productivity (which I’d say is not common sense at all, just … Keynesian propaganda). You seem to believe that the more money there is an economy or business the more is actually going to be done, and that’s not true.”

It sounds like you’re confusing the amount of money in circulation with the velocity of the money in circulation. I never said if we only had more money it would do more work– nor did Keynes.

It’s very obvious that when money sits under a mattress it does no work. Whereas when one spends a dollar the store owner gets to buy a haircut and the barber gets more business. The producer of the item bought gets to produce another item and the distributor gets to distribute it. Then the barber gets to spend that same dollar in your store, etcetera. When money circulates it creates jobs. And without money circulating, there can be no employment.

And employment is pretty much the object of the exercise– for us humans, anyway.

“You also contradict yourself by calling saving wise, then saying telling people to focus on saving helps banks at the expense of others.”

It sounds like you’re just searching for a way to pick apart my comments. I did say that saving is a prudent strategy for individuals, which is true. And especially now, when the country has gone way too far out on the limb of spending borrowed money. The current wave of ‘saving’ we’re seeing is largely paying off old debt, not putting shekels away in the sock drawer or savings account. It’s a transfer of funds out on the street, ‘performing assets’ in bank lingo, back into the vault. From there those funds will be idle until lent out again, so we can assume banks will want to come up with some other exotically collateralized scheme to peddle to the investing public.

In contrast, undeniably, simple spending does some very useful work in the marketplace. One useful thing it does is to increase the number of taxable moments. Each time that money changes hands, a portion goes to paying down our public debts. And that’s a good thing. But if you’re trying to paint me into the corner of deciding whether spending or saving is ‘better’, that’s like asking whether breathing in or breathing out is better. Both are part of the same process. And our economy needs a certain amount of investment capital. It’s only that the problems we’ve been seeing in recent decades have been caused by a surfeit of such capital, and a shortage of money ordinary people can earn in the form of wages and salaries.

“It also sounds like you are saying the money that was being moved around by the hedge fund managers was not really about important things like small business, but derivatives that have no meaning. If that were true, there is even less reason to bail them out.”

Those hedge funds, derivatives and asset-backed securities were generally not based on useful business loans. They amounted to wagers designed to soak up the investment pool of funds left over after all the useful investments had been placed. They were just a sponge for excess money in the financial markets.

And the only reason anyone had to bail out these whales in the system was that if they’d drowned, taking everyone’s money down with them, we’d have had another Great Depression. Which most of us didn’t want. So we held our noses and showered them with bridge loans. Most of which have by now been repaid.

“I’m not sure if you supported this or not, but I’ve not seen any Keynesian who hasn’t supported the stimulus or this ridiculous monetary policy we are carrying on right now.”

‘Keynesian” sounds like a swear word with a specialised meaning– probably meaning anyone who disagrees with Mises. Most ordinary people understand that there are times when Keynesian strategies are appropriate and times when they are not.

We’re in one of those times, when directing a fresh flow of funding to that segment of society that’s flat broke will perform useful work. The work, obviously, is keeping our consumer economy from going in the tank, making unemployment even worse.

However we are very cynical about two things. The first is that the flow of fresh funds, as directed by our Goldman-Sachs-based administration, somehow never reaches the folks who need it most. Those giants of the financial world really have no idea who these little people even are, or what exactly they do for the economy. And the second thing is, we’re cynical about government’s ability to retire those fresh funds once they’ve done their work. That’s something elected officials somehow never seem to be able to do– direct the Fed to sell off its assets when appropriate, and burn the proceeds.

So it may well be that you’ve never heard any ‘Keynesians’ complain about the way the administration has been handling the recovery. But that only means you don’t get around very much. The screaming and rage out here at the bailouts, the bonuses and the jobless recovery are so loud it would make your ears hurt.

Here’s my thought in a nutshell. We should pass a strong resolution to keep the money supply constant over the course of a business cycle. Which would involve injecting new money issues when the economy stalls, then retiring a like amount of money once the good times get rolling.

As tightening the money supply always has a dampening effect on the economy, we should never try it during hard times, like today. But in a red-hot go-go market it’s needed, to chill all that irrational exuberance, and prevent the next bubbles from inflating. To everything there is a season, bro. That’s why we need to have some adults in charge of the store.

michael June 1, 2010 at 9:04 am

I don’t like making my response overlong, but you’ve raised a lot of points worth addressing. Here’s the final one:

“Stephen’s point is a good one, the problem is that Keynesian’s have the wrong concept. It’s not that demand creates supply, but the other way around. A good illustration of this is internet service. When there was no internet, there was no demand for an internet service. Entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to create services, and believed this is something people would desire, but people couldn’t actually demand it until it was there.

“Products have to be produced in order to be purchased (supply before demand). If they aren’t purchased prices have to be lowered, leaving less money available to produce new product, but this in no way means that demand is driving the supply that does exist.”

I’ve encountered this curious view before. Isn’t it called ‘Say’s Law’? It was obviously thought up by an academic, not a business person.

Demand runs the entire engine. When you build a Ford or a Chrysler and no one buys it, all it represents is an entry in the ‘business loss’ column. Plus, of course, a pile of waste metal on the lot. So you stop making more of them. If the slow-demand condition persists, you lay off line workers. And when they can no longer buy the product, you may have to shut your factory doors. This is the point where ‘recession’ becomes ‘depression’.

Conversely, when people buy up everything you have on the shelf and there’s still a line of anxious customers waving money at you, you speed up production and hire new help. This seems so obvious to those of us working outside academia.

The high tech revolution was not possible until technology had advanced to the point those new products could be created, of course. But what made it hot was that huge crowd of potential customers with bucks in their pockets, all shouting that someone hurry up and invent more laptops, cell phones and other fancy gadgets.

If you want to test the assertion that supply alone is sufficient, put out a line of button up, high top shoes. And button hooks. By Say’s notions, the more you put on the shelf the richer you’ll get.

BioTube May 28, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Your claim that it’s bad for the economy is dealt with in the article itself – money hoarded is money that might as well not exist. The only effect is that the GDP falls(not prosperity), which will tend to pull hoarded money back into circulation due to falling prices. However, if hoarding gets to the point where subcent pricing is needed, Congress can order new coins into circulation(making the only difference the magnitude of the prices).

Eric May 28, 2010 at 6:16 pm

The other point made is that even if the miser doesn’t “invest” but rather puts his money in the mattress, this reduces the supply of money and thus other money spent will have a higher purchasing power. The same number of goods is still available for purchase, but now other holders of money can purchase them for less cash, benefiting all other holders of cash.

Remember, the miser produced a good or service to get his cash; by not spending that cash, he has produced something for others and in effect is not charging them for it.

Of course, once the miser changes his mind, or his heirs find his stash, the opposite occurs. So, I think there is some truth to the possibility that by reducing and then expanding the money supply later, this could cause a bit of a business cycle. But it’s unlikely that all misers will hoard and later spend at the same time.

michael June 1, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Eric, I’m thinking there are more important trends going on today than the occasional miser hoarding his gold. You say

“The other point made is that even if the miser doesn’t “invest” but rather puts his money in the mattress, this reduces the supply of money and thus other money spent will have a higher purchasing power. The same number of goods is still available for purchase, but now other holders of money can purchase them for less cash, benefiting all other holders of cash.”

Today’s misers are people who, being afraid for their economic futures, are increasing their cash reserves. Their caution does some useful work for their own purposes, but is inimical to society in that it depresses demand, causing manufacturers, suppliers, subs, shop owners and vendors to cut production and lay off help.

The freshly laid off help performs more of the same function as the miser, by not spending. That exacerbates the problem, spreading joblessness, damaging the housing market and wrecking business profits. Even though the lower prices we see in such periods of general distress make goods less costly for those few who still have money, it’s not a good thing. And IMO society should not seek to bring about such deflationary periods by encouraging tight money policy. Only in the case where there’s some incipient bubble in need of cooling.

We really have few if any examples of the classic, gold-hoarding miser. Those we do have, whose love of money is such that their main mission in life is to gain more of it, aren’t putting it under their mattresses. They’re putting it into financial offerings. The rest of us poor spenders are generally not spending enough money to buoy the economy because we don’t have any.

And in such an instance, contrary to a bit of wisdom I often see repeated here, an injection of seed money in the form of extended unemployment benefits can have a very positive effect on both profits and employment.

billwald May 28, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Doesn’t quite compute. If all prices across the board change then nothing has changed. The rich person will still outbid the poor person and the more popular product will still outsell the less popular.

Stephen Grossman May 29, 2010 at 12:18 pm

>Michael: When money gets spent purchasing or selling derivatives, it most often does not end up doing any useful work. It just circulates and recirculates within a very narrow segment of society– the financial sector. It never comes down to earth.

Evades principle, savings-based investment in increased production, for an example of the principle, allegedly destructive or poorly productive investment, derivatives. The principle remains, production, beyond the concrete-bound, short-range mentality of Marxists and other primitive savages, requires savings-based investment. Counterfeit money and counterfeit bank credit merely steals from the most productive to the least productive. Economics is not a rationalization for indirect theft or, as its called, Keynsian.

michael May 30, 2010 at 9:56 am

Your writing style is not easy to decipher. But I think what you’re saying is that correct principles are of more importance than whether or not they apply to anything in the real world. And that is a problem.

For one thing, it’s the kind of thinking one associates with the old-time Marxists. There’s a certain kind of person who believes that everything their leader says is true, prima facie. And if it doesn’t comport with reality, then reality must be wrong– never the theory. I have noticed this trait in some Misians as well.

But for another thing, it’s true in a sense but doesn’t apply. Yes, investment capital is one of the things a new startup requires. Another thing is employees. One also needs capable managers. And so forth.

But the reason this doesn’t apply is that we’re a land awash in investment capital. There’s really no shortage of it, and hasn’t been for some time. So it’s a red herring. There’s so much capital now that a majority of it goes into unproductive pursuits– speculative wagers that add nothing to the workaday economy but just redistribute money amongst the ‘smart money’ people.

This is the kind of money that has been repeatedly crashing and burning of late. The dot com bubble. The crash of 2002-03. The current derivatives meltdown. None of those serious systemic malfunctions has arisen from investment capital being properly invested in viable businesses. And each lost trillions in value for their hapless investors. It’s all been a matter of bubble creation, in what amounts to air-ware. Offerings with little substance behind them.

Meanwhile this air-ware has become so popular with sellers that the major investment brokers stock little else. They can make better profits running a casino than they can an ordinary lending bank. And it’s America’s small businesses that suffer from lack of capital.

Re “counterfeit money and counterfeit bank credit”, if the Fed were to suddenly clear its assets by selling off its bond portfolio, retiring all its loans and burning the receipts in a bonfire, we would have the mother of all depressions. We’re pretty well stuck with the amount of money we now have in circulation.

Stephen Grossman May 29, 2010 at 1:46 pm

>michael: When money gets spent purchasing or selling derivatives, it most often does not end up doing any useful work. It just circulates and recirculates within a very narrow segment of society– the financial sector. It never comes down to earth.

With no long-range, conceptual, scientific knowledge, derivatives are mere pieces of paper. However, sophisticated investment methods, eg, derivatives, have been an important cause of focusing investment money into profitable production.

Predrag May 30, 2010 at 7:43 am

I completely agree with the thesis of the article!

Stephen Grossman May 30, 2010 at 3:00 pm

>michael

>Your writing style is not easy to decipher.

You reject conceptualizing, not style. Try using scientific method rather than an emotionally selected, arranged and interpreted jumble of concretes. Concretes are worthless unless scientifically organized.

>But I think what you’re saying is that correct principles are of more importance than whether or not they apply to anything in the real world.

Scientific method starts with _observed_ concretes which are conceptualized and then induced into principles. Eg, Newton’s discovery of universal gravity and Faraday’s discovery of the laws of electricity. There is no rational/empirical split.

>we’re a land awash in investment capital

Govt-created “money” and “bank credit” is fraud, not savings-based, investment capital.

>Re “counterfeit money and counterfeit bank credit”, if the Fed were to suddenly clear its assets by selling off its bond portfolio, retiring all its loans and burning the receipts in a bonfire, we would have the mother of all depressions. We’re pretty well stuck with the amount of money we now have in circulation.

“[C]ounterfeit money and counterfeit bank credit” cause booms which necessarily cause busts as the market adjusts away from political interference and toward the reality of production and trade. More boom causes more bust. See: Great Depression. No amount of Keysnian counterfeiting of titles to the factors of production can increase the amount of natural resources, tools, factories, labor, semi-mfg goods ,etc. Supply creates demand. Demand, ie, political demand, may steal supply but cannot create supply.

Prior to ending the political counterfeiting of money and bank credit, all govt interference in the rest of the economy must be ended. This will increase production, counteracting, to some extent, the necessary depression of the market shifting from unsustainable to sustainable production. But
there will be a depression, big or small. This is a law of economics, a fact of the interaction of limited resources and unlimited desires that will not vanish with the temporary, Keynsian destruction of market equilibrium. The drunk should stop now, not later, so his necessary hangover will be as small as possible. But he will have a hangover. There is no alternative. See: Greece.

We must reject the economics of sacrifice for the economics of production and profit. We must recognize production and profit as moral and sacrifice as destruction. Sacrifice is impractical in the long-run regardless of any short-range benefit. Pragmatism is the rationalization of the short-run. We need a capitalist ideology. See: Ayn Rand.

scineram May 31, 2010 at 7:14 am

So it is the hedonist who is the villain of society?

Stephen Grossman May 31, 2010 at 9:31 am

>scineram :So it is the hedonist who is the villain of society?

If by hedonist here you mean the short-range, destructive pleasure
of inflation, yes.

Society is a means to the end of the individual’s life and happiness,
not an end in itself. Society is a value only when it furthers the
indivdual’s life and happiness.

michael June 3, 2010 at 8:53 am

“Govt-created “money” and “bank credit” is fraud, not savings-based, investment capital.”

Stephen– First, ALL our money is ‘government-created’. They print the stuff right downtown in Washington DC. If you have a dollar in your pocket, it came from them.

Second, a dollar spent in the marketplace by the government is indistinguishable from one spent by a private citizen. It still performs the work of one dollar. The only distinction I can see is that the government is at liberty to spend a dollar even when it sees no immediate return. Private investors, on the other hand, usually insist on enjoying short-term profits. So as a result, the variety of investments they will consider is very limited.

And society is better served when certain very long-term and expensive investments are made. Those constitute our basic infrastructure. We would all be much worse than broke if we had had to put money up front for our highway grid, bridges, streets, water and sewer mains, electric and gas grids, nuclear plants, phone lines, etcetera before we had the chance to ever use them.

To perform such miracles of production an intelligent government scatters seed money upon the ground. Later, when increased business results, they can gain that deficit spending back in the form of taxes on the greater incomes resulting.

Without such a system in place we’d still be travelling on bumpy, unpaved post roads, with the driver paying the toll collector at each day’s end.

Michael A. Clem June 3, 2010 at 9:00 am

“Second, a dollar spent in the marketplace by the government is indistinguishable from one spent by a private citizen.
Indistinguishable in appearance, maybe, but government gets the money to spend from taxation or borrowing (or printing), whereas a private citizen only gets the money to spend by earning it providing a product or service. So it’s not just that government can spend money on things that consumers don’t want as much, but that they are taking away consumer spending power, as well. It’s also mere assertion that we are better off by government infrastructure, and that the private sector would be unable to provide such long-term investments. Just because you can’t imagine how it would be done, that doesn’t mean an enterprising entreprenuer couldn’t figure out how to do it profitably.

michael June 3, 2010 at 9:03 am

Here’s one other problem, Stephen. You say ” No amount of Keysnian counterfeiting of titles to the factors of production can increase the amount of natural resources, tools, factories, labor, semi-mfg goods ,etc. Supply creates demand. Demand, ie, political demand, may steal supply but cannot create supply.”

But money’s not a noun, where there is only a finite amount in existence, and every time you use some up you have less. Money’s a verb. It exists solely to get stuff done.

And managing money’s a practical matter for government to attend to. Say you want to put someone on the moon. You invent a stack of money, spend it and put your man on the moon. And let’s say you find you’ve put so much new money in circulation that prices are starting to go up. Well then, you retire enough to bring prices back into line.

That’s responsible management. Whether or not our government works this way, it SHOULD work this way. If they don’t, well, that’s what regular elections are for.

Michael A. Clem June 3, 2010 at 9:12 am

The point is that government will NOT engage in responsible money management if they don’t have to. The proper incentives are not in place when government coercion is involved, instead of economic feedback. Elections are a poor feedback system to get things done the “right” way, especially given ballot-access restrictions.
Even if we grant the minarchist position that government’s legitimate function is to protect rights, how does monopolization of the production of money amount to rights-protection??

michael June 7, 2010 at 10:22 am

I think this may be a case of unwarranted pessimism:

“The point is that government will NOT engage in responsible money management if they don’t have to.”

The thing about our democracy is that we get to choose our leaders. If we’re not happy with the job they’re doing we can vote them out of office. True, the mass of the voting public is easily swayed. And one can most often win an election just by throwing money at the TV screen. But the proper answer to that objection is to insist on better public education, and create a stronger civic sense in our young people.

You also have a strong point, that third parties are discouraged in our system of representation. I share your opinion, I assume, that both dominant parties are worse than useless? Get involved! Circulate petitions and ballot initiatives! Do the heavy lifting of organizing people of like mind and tell them they need to share in the work of creating a viable third party! The only way the Ds and the Rs got to where they are today is they have no shortage of precinct workers. I live in one of the worst states in the country for ballot restrictions, and anyone who can win over two percent of the public gets on the ballot. Of course it takes 34% to win such an election, so the struggle will be uphill for a while.

You then raise another good question: “how does monopolization of the production of money amount to rights-protection??”

Picture an alternate universe where each of the fifty states retained the ability to print their own money. How easy will it be to exchange your Utah dollars for New Hampshire money when you visit back east? Or, should your local bank decide to publish its own money, how readily do you think customers in Hong Kong will take to it? Needless to say, if you decide to print your own cash it will be slow to enter into general circulation.

But I think you’re talking about gold coinage. Every nation on earth agreed to drop that approach. Too many ships going back and forth across the seas each day, carrying tons of specie. It’s not only clumsy, it sets us up for a very unsettling entry into the world of perpetual devaluation. Our money supply needs to expand (and at times contract) in synch with the pace of the economy’s expansion. And paper issues, when responsibly conducted, have the necessary flexibility.

So if the Fed’s doing a poor job we need to find ways to get through to them that they need to do a better job. My opinion? Eloquence, not armed insurrection, is the more effective tool for the job. Find out where they live (this is a metaphor) and insist on speaking with them! We must use our imaginations to find a way to hold their attention. And then we must clearly and convincingly state our case.

You’ll have to admit though that the Almighty Dollar’s doing a lot better than whatever’s in second place. We are the world’s currency of choice. Period. And through the dollar’s useful deployment, the US economy has consistently shrunk our cost of living when measured in terms of how much stuff you can take home for one week’s pay. We’re an economic miracle.

So far.

Spiritual Blog Site July 24, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Miser attitude should never be condemned.
From the spiritual perspective, it’s the one that is closest to Reality.
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj said: “Hove nothing, know nothing, be nothing. This is the only happiness worth having, the only life worth living.”
How right his words sound today, when spirituality seems to be the only escape route from the surreal real…

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