Thursday, 8 May 2014

Chrematistic - It's Getting a Bit Rich

Girl holding fanned stack of money in front of her face
Photo by


Adjective & noun. Mid-18th century.
[Greek khrematistikos, from khrematizein make money, from khrema, -mat- money.]

A adj. Of, pertaining to, or engaged in the accumulation of wealth. M18

B noun. In plural (treated as singular). The branch of knowledge that deals with wealth; economics. M19

Wow. So, apparently, there's a science to getting rich. The definitions do vary a little bit - Wikipedia calls chrematistics the art of getting rich, Collins Dictionary says it's the study of money-making, and Merriam-Webster makes a very interesting differentiation in defining chrematistics as "the study of wealth ... as measured in money" as opposed to, I assume, being rich in health, love, spirituality, personal fulfilment or anything else that might be considered to make one rich. Still, whichever definition you buy (and I think the OED sits nicely on the mercantile fence with 'branch of knowledge'), that getting rich can be considered a science at all is fascinating.

If you are of a chrematistic bent, however, prepare for history to look down on you - Plato and Aristotle both looked down on those that traded goods without actually producing anything (middlemen, eh?), the Catholic Church hasn't been a big fan of chrematistics either (somewhat ironically considering its bling-bogglingly enormous wealth, and Paul the Apostle wrote that "they who will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which plunge men into destruction and perdition." (1st Timothy 6:9 KJV)

So there you go. You have been warned. Pursue chrematistics at your own risk.

A wad of twenty pound notes
Fat stack photo by

Are you a chrematician?

Are you avariciously pursuing wealth with no regard to your eternal soul?

Do please leave your richest comments in the contribution box below.

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