That, dear reader, is the wrong question to ask, for money is a symbol, with no intrinsic value; hence, there no limit to how much money might be printed, (or, now, conjured up on the internet). It is what money symbolizes that is limited, and to grasp this we turn to a distinction made by Saint Thomas at the beginning of his treatise on the moral life (I-II, q. 5, a. 1), between two kinds of wealth:

There is natural wealth, which encompasses all the good things we desire: food, sex, housing, land, clothing. These all maintain, or fulfill, our nature in some way.

To streamline the trade and exchange in such goods, humans invented what Thomas calls artificial wealth in its various forms – seashells, coins, paper bills, plastic credit cards, and, now, the ones and zeroes of our modern bank accounts. Artificial wealth has no natural value; rather, its worth resides in its link to natural wealth.

Praise the Lord

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