Almighty Dollar

prosperity gospel by Mark Alan Stamat

mammon by jeremyville

Almighty dollar is an idiom often used to satirize an individual or cultural obsession with material wealth, or with capitalism in general. The phrase implies that money is a kind of deity. Although the phrase was not popularized until the 19th century, similar expression were used much earlier. For example, British writer Ben Jonson wrote in 1616: ‘Whilst that for which all virtue now is sold, And almost every vice, almightie gold.’

The ‘dollar’ version of the phrase is commonly attributed to American writer 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: ‘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.’

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