Money and the Morality of Life Insurance
In 19th century America, people had to attach new sacred significances to money and set a pecuniary value on human life which now known today as life insurance. Before the 19th century, seting a pecuniary value on a human life was morally incorrect and the thought of life insurance was non accepted. The debut of life insurance in America in the 19th century complicated the differentiation between gift exchange and pecuniary or market exchange. Life insurance complicates the differentiation between pecuniary or market exchange and gift exchange. Life insurance is a signifier of pecuniary or market exchange, but it besides has portion of gift exchange included in the exchange.
Gift exchanges, harmonizing to Mauss ( 1950 ) create ties and personal relationships with other people. Gift exchange forces people to reciprocate or to make something for person who has done something similar for a individual and it forces people to hold an duty to return the gift. Reciprocity is enforced by the creative activity of ties, the gifts tie people together and the gift carries portion of the individual who gives it. The individual having the gift has an duty to have and reciprocate the gift ; the individual giving the gift has an duty to give the gift. Gift exchange has chiefly three duties in entire, the duty to have, the duty to give and the duty to reciprocate.
The duty to have the gift is of import because it creates confederations and creates cordial reception. The duty to give shows how people become money changers of goods and services. To reject the duties to give or to reject the duty to have and accept can ensue in a broken relationship or confederation. The duty to reciprocate agencies to match to the rights and responsibilities to offer and accept. Therefore gift exchanges create personal relationships with the individual who gives the gift and the individual who receives the gift. If person does non appreciate the gift person else has given to them, it can interrupt the personal relationship with the individual.
Market exchange, harmonizing to Simmel ( 1907 ) , gives people the ability to make the things that they wouldn’t be able to make themselves. Market exchange creates no personal ties with anyone and forces no future duties on the individual. Money has the ability to interrupt personal relationships with other people. Money creates single freedom and power as there are no farther duties with people if the exchange is strictly pecuniary. Money creates no personal ties with people. With market exchange, there is no duty to have, no duty to give and no duty to reciprocate.
Money creates single freedom, people are excluded from the merchandise and demands do non widen to the individual who is doing the exchange. The analysis of this type of freedom is dependent on whether the responsibilities are straight personal or use to the merchandises of labor. With market exchange, there are two qualities of money that suggest that the exchanges of goods and services is best served by money, the qualities are that money is divisible and it has unlimited convertibility. Market exchange interruptions personal ties with people, one time the object or merchandise is bought ; the individual purchasing the gift has no farther duties or any signifier of relationship with the individual who sold the merchandise.
Before the debut of life insurance in America, puting a pecuniary value on a human life was morally incorrect. Harmonizing to Zelizer ( 2011 ) , in America it was morally incorrect to set a pecuniary value on decease, life, variety meats and ritualised points as these points were considered to be sacred. Zelizer argues that the opposition to life insurance in America in the early 19th century was chiefly because of the Americans mercenary opinion of decease, and of the power of superstitious notions and charming beliefs. It was viewed by many Americans that there was a fright of the connexion between sing life and losing life.
The Americans believed that seting a pecuniary value on a human life was ask foring decease. The Americans had a strong political orientation that the organic structure was sacred and was portion of the Christ. When person had passed off, it was the duty of the community and the church to take attention of the widowman and the orphans. In the early 19th century, there were several companies that supported the thought of life insurance and attempted to do it accepted by the populace. The public nevertheless did non accept the thought, and the first effort of presenting life insurance in America was a failure. By the ulterior phases of the 19th century, the thought of life insurance became widely accepted in America.
By the ulterior phases of the 19th century, the American populace had changed the positions on life insurance. Life insurance became a symbol of faith and was been advertised for its moral value instead than its pecuniary value. Life insurance is defined as paying a sum sum of money on the decease of a individual t the household of that individual. Life insurance at this phase in America was marketed as a gift instead than an investing. The credence of life insurance in America was chiefly brought approximately because of the political orientation that the money that was paid out when person had passed off was seen as sacred money. Besides life insurance was seen as a ritual, as it was a manner of coming to footings with decease non merely financially but besides emotionally and sacredly.
In the eighteenth and 19th century, widows and orphans inherited land and were taken attention of by neighbors and other household members. However, urbanization changed the manner households became dependent and relied on the father’s income, if the male parent did non hold life insurance and after he passed off, it was the duty of the community to take attention of his household. Life insurance offered freedom of the households and the community, so if the male parent passed off, the life insurance would vouch that the household would be able to supply for themselves without the aid of the community and it would salvage the household from poorness.
Life insurance was besides seen as holding economic immortality and societal immortality, as the male parent could still supply for his household with the money from the life insurance without been with his household. Peoples at this phase believed that good work forces would be able to populate in the memory of future coevalss. The thought that life insurance could make immortality, was seen by the insurance companies, which they exploited the political orientation to pull their clients. In 19th century America was seen as a market exchange and a gift exchange, and hence life insurance complicates the differentiation between market exchange and gift exchange.
Life insurance can be seen as a market exchange, because as harmonizing to Simmel ( 1907 ) , money gives people the ability to make the things that were non able to make themselves. When the male parent of the household dies, the life insurance money was used to supply for his household and gave the household the chance to go on with their lives and do the things that they would non be able to make without the life insurance money. Life insurance besides creates no personal ties, the individual having the life insurance does non hold a personal relationship with the life insurance company nor does the life insurance company have a relationship with the household. After the dealing has taken topographic point, the household and the company have no future duties with each other.
Life insurance besides creates single freedom for the household, and the demands are non extended to the household or to the company. Life insurance is a strictly pecuniary exchange that meets all the demands put frontward by Simmel’s statement on market exchange ; nevertheless life insurance can besides be seen as a gift exchange.
Life insurance can besides be seen as a gift exchange in a manner. In Mauss’s ( 1950 ) statement, he mentions that there are three duties when it comes to endow exchange: the duty to give, the duty to have and the duty to reciprocate. In life insurance, even though it is a strictly pecuniary dealing and has the demands for the dealing to be considered as a market exchange, it besides has the power to make duties. It is an duty in today’s society to acquire life insurance, so that it is possible for the household to look after themselves after person in the household has passed off. The “breadwinner” of the household has an duty to acquire life insurance, the household has an duty to have and utilize the life insurance money and so the future coevalss of the household have the duty to reciprocate the thought of acquiring life insurance and go oning back uping the household even after they are no longer at that place.
Even though life insurance creates no personal ties with the household and the life insurance company, it does nevertheless make personal ties with the household. It creates and enhances the relationship between the deceased and the household. The money from the life insurance as it makes it possible for the asleep member of the household to still be involved in the household. Life insurance has the power to do the asleep member of the household that has left the household a sum sum of money to be able to go immortal and the personal relationships and personal ties between the household and the deceased are non lost. Even though life insurance is a pecuniary dealing, it besides gives a sense that portion of the asleep household member’s psyche is still present in the money that has been left for the household in order to supply for themselves and to give the household a sense of fiscal freedom. In 19th century America, the Americans have given money a sacred significance that has caused the thought of life insurance to be accepted non merely in America but besides around the universe.
Life insurance complicates the differentiation between pecuniary exchange and gift exchange, because it meets the descriptions and demands for both types of minutess. It further complicates the differentiation between the two minutess because ; it is hard to find whether life insurance is seen as a market exchange or as a gift exchange. Life insurance is seen as a market exchange because ; it is a pecuniary dealing, it breaks personal ties with the household and the insurance company and it gives people the ability to make the things they could non make themselves without the money. It can be seen as a gift exchange because, it causes future coevalss of the household to hold duties to give, have and to reciprocate, it maintains personal relationships and ties between the asleep household member and the household and it has the ability to do the asleep household member to go “immortal” and to be able to supply for the household. In Zelizer’s ( 2011 ) statement, she states that life insurance is seen both as a market exchange and as a gift exchange.
Life insurance can be seen as a pecuniary exchange and as a gift exchange. It is hard to find which dealing life insurance falls into because it contains demands and features that make it suited for it be classified as both a market exchange and as a gift exchange. Life insurances became accepted in the universe, because people have attached sacred significances to money. Zelizer’s statement complicates the differentiation between market exchange and gift exchange, as she argues that life insurance has gift exchange and market exchange features and it is hard to sort life insurance into one of the minutess.
Mauss, M. ( 1950 )The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies.New York: W.W. Norton [ Introduction and Chapter 1 ]
Simmel, G. ( 1907 )The Doctrine of Money.London: Routledge [ Chapter 4, portion 1 ]
Zelizer, V. ( 2011 )Economic Lifes: How Culture Shapes the Economy.Princeton: Princeton University Press [ Chapter 1 ]