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Sunday, 29 August 2010

Almighty dollar

Almighty dollar is an idiom often used to satirize an obsession for material wealth (the phrase implies that money is a kind of deity).
The beginning of the realisation that wealth can engender quasi-religious respect has been attributed to British writer Ben Johnson, who wrote in 1616:
"Whilst that for which all virtue now is sold,
And almost every vice, almightie gold"[1]
The "dollar" version of the phrase is commonly attributed to Washington Irving, who used it in the story "The Creole Village", which was first published in the 1837 edition of The Magnolia, a literary annual.[2][note 1]
"The almighty dollar, that great object of universal devotion throughout our land, seems to have no genuine devotees in these peculiar villages; and unless some of its missionaries penetrate there, and erect banking houses and other pious shrines, there is no knowing how long the inhabitants may remain in their present state of contented poverty."
Edward Bulwer-Lytton is often credited with coining the related phrase "pursuit of the almighty dollar", which he used in his 1871 novel The Coming Race.[3] More obscure uses of the phrase can be found as far back as 1852.[4][5]
"The Almighty Dollar" is also the name of an Ozzy Osbourne song from the Black Rain album. The song argues that money and greed are destroying the planet by blinding people to problems such as global warming and pollution.
"Almighty Dollar" is also the name of a Devin The Dude song from the 2007 album Waitin' To Inhale. It is a lament both of a marijuana user's lack of money and the declining buying power of the U.S. dollar.