Books: False Idols MONEY AND CLASS IN AMERICA

by Lewis H. Lapham Weidenfeld & Nicolson 244 pages; $18.95

The love of money is the root of all evil. Money cannot buy happiness. Many writers would be abashed at the prospect of wringing anything new or interesting out of these hoary maxims. Not Lewis H. Lapham, the editor of Harper's magazine and a regular contributor to it as well, whose Money and Class in America amusingly roams over the glitzy terrain of contemporary consumerism. Lapham of course rephrases old adages. Radix malorum est cupiditas becomes "It isn't the money itself that causes the trouble, but rather the use of money as votive ritual and pagan ornament." Wealth's inability to provide...

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