Follow TV Tropes

Following

The Almighty Dollar

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/god_of_wealth.jpg
"Blessed Exchequer, whose greed is eternal. Allow this humble bribe to open your ears and hear this plea from your most devout debtor."
Advertisement:

A deity whose power is wealth or money-related. Named "Almighty" by Jesus when he warned money had an allure or power which could distract people from the life-giving priorities of the almighty God.

Wealth gods are Older Than Dirt if you count food as currency. For Stone Age cultures, a Food God was also the wealth god who brought forth plentiful grain and flocks of livestock. Hungry people value food over other currencies. Analysis of fossilized skeletons shows that malnutrition was common during ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and amongst pre-Roman European tribes. Modern ideas about wealth and money solidify during the Older Than Feudalism period.

Real life wealth gods often fit the mold of "healthy, wealthy, and wise", where a model of virtue drew abundance or reliable "daily bread". Sometimes a family's wealth has a protective spirit, or a livelihood such as merchants and shopkeepers have a Patron Saint. Historical evil gods/spirits related to money had domains like poverty, famine, bad luck, ill luck, or Greed. Such evil gods or demons of greed, poverty, or misfortune are an Inverted Trope.

Advertisement:

Mixed morality around money is also reflected in that some tricksters are also wealth gods, such as the Greek god Hermes. The infamous Loki's help for the Norse pantheon was primarily financial. Sometimes a Love Goddess is also the wealth deity, since she makes people happy and the jewels look so good on her. Since The Power of the Sun is symbolized by the metal gold, a solar deity is sometimes a wealth deity, like sun god Ra's daughter Hathor.

Strangely, wealth deities are more common in real life than fiction. Even fantasy worlds where Gods Need Prayer Badly might lack a wealth deity despite all the potential worshippers looking for divine help with their finances. Probably fantasy wealth gods suffer from the Boring, but Practical trope since they're more likely to be encountered at an everyday store than a battle. But wealth deities can be a balance-shifting Wild Card since their power of money is True Neutral. Good, evil, chaos, and law all use the same currency.

Advertisement:

Fantasy humans or aliens like DS9's Ferengi might worship money directly, a case of Blue and Orange Morality. But in real life, humans "worship" money by ignoring all gods/values to pursue money. Money itself as a god is an Internal Subtrope of the wealth god trope. Characters who experience money itself as a god are seen in tropes like: The Scrooge, Gold Fever, Loves Only Gold, Miser Advisor, Money Fetish, Every Man Has His Price, Screw the Rules, I Have Money!, Money Is Not Power, or Death by Materialism.

This is a Sub-Trope to Stock Gods. Not to be confused with novels or other works of fiction named, "God of Money".


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Inverted and Played With in Binbogami Ga: As in Japanese Mythology, the goddess Binbogami (here called as Momiji) is known as the goddess of poverty and bad fortune, who's the foil of Ichiko Sakura, a young girl who was born with an excess of good luck and fortune at the point to compete with gods, in fact, Momiji was sent to Earth to absorb Ichiko's fortune to balance the world. Also, in further chapters of the manga appears Konjikihime, who's the goddess of fortune, but was overshadowed by Ichiko, joining Momiji in her mission.

    Literature 
  • One of the "modern deities" in Neil Gaiman's American Gods was "consumer culture", which involves love of money.
  • In The Belgariad, the Tolnedran religion is centered around money and its acquisition. This led to the disastrous invasion of Maragor, wherein the Tolnedrans invaded Maragor in the mistaken belief that they had a hidden treasure, and when they couldn't find any treasure, they threw a tantrum and massacred the Marags wholesale, almost completely wiping them out.
  • Fred Saberhagen created a world in his Book of Swords trilogies which had an organized religion called the "Blue Temple" which hoarded money and valuables. The main plot of the Second Book of Swords was robbing the Blue Temple's treasure hoard hidden within a well guarded Elaborate Underground Base.
  • Given the premise of The Dark Profit Saga is "fantasy adventuring meets capitalism" it's not surprising that there are multiple gods of trade and wealth.
  • Dante's epic The Divine Comedy makes Plutus into a demon of wealth who tortures "Hoarders and the Wasters" within the forth circle of hell.
  • EvilliousChronicles has demon characters representing the Seven Deadly Sins. Salem Dunbar is the demon of Greed.
  • In Chronicles of Chaos, the Greek/Roman god Mercury is god of money as well as speed. Mercury is able to find the orphans whenever they spend money.
  • In Stranger in a Strange Land, the Fosterite church is essentially prosperity-gospel evangelism on crack, to the point that the churches have gambling machines in them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The TV adaptation of American Gods (2017) has the anthropomorphic personification of money, an old man referred to as "The Bookkeeper" who is older than most of the Old Gods. He has a trio of creepy girl scouts selling candy bars speaking in unison as guards.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has a money religion Played for Laughs and perhaps a social commentary on the greed of the The '90s and The '80s. An alien race named the Ferengi practically worship money. The Ferengi afterlife version of heaven is called the Divine Treasury; their version of hell is the "Vault of Eternal Destitution." A "Blessed Exchequer" overseas their afterlife, reviews each soul's profit and loss statements and accepts a bribe which allows deceased Ferengi to bid for a new life from the Celestial Auctioneers.
  • The Greek god Plutus appears in the Supernatural episode "What's Up, Tiger Mommy?". Plutus runs an Auction of Evil selling off supernatural items to monsters and demons, with bids including tons of gold, dismembered virgins, and half the moon. From his short appearance, this money god believes he's Above Good and Evil, showing no interest in anyone's welfare.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Anaisa Pye is a Voudoun loa or Patron Saint of love, money, and general happiness.
  • The Bible: Jesus was the one who said money itself was an almighty in the same league as Almighty God (Matthew 6:24), when he taught that no one could serve two masters, both money(Mammon) and God. Jesus saw "money worship" as Serious Business when he cleansed the temple of money changers (John 2:13-16, Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 11:15-19, and Luke 19:45-48). Mammon/money was The Corrupter for the Christian faithful, especially since it was a time when slavery made people rich. Also manipulating grain prices could create wealth at the expense of people starving to death.
    • Saint Paul called love of money the root of many evils (1 Timothy 6:10).
    • Gad is one of those pagan gods the ancient Hebrews were not supposed to mention. Gad was a god of fortune mentioned the Book of Isaiah 65:11. Some scholars think that Jacob's son Gad was perhaps named after the pagan god.
  • Buddhism: Buddhist wealth gods are named Jambhala, and five exist.
    • The Green Jambhala is chief of the five, usually shown with a jewel producing mongoose in his left hand. The mongoose kills the snakes of greed and spits out jewels of generosity. His specialty is transmuting negative to positive, just like associated Buddha Akshobhya.
    • White Jambhala is a manifestation of Guan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion (or goddess of mercy). Her wealth power is healing poverty, eliminating sicknesses, curses, and bad karma. Sometimes associated with the Four Heavenly Kings of China, specifically the compassionate King of the East whose color is white.
    • Yellow Jambhala is known to grant fortunes and be charitable. Overlaps some with the Green Jambhala, protector of the North, chief of heavenly gods, and also associated with Vaisrava.
    • Red Jambhala' is known for prosperity related to harmonious marriages and is married to a mother of wealth. Sometimes thought to be the Hindu wealth god Ganesh.
    • Black Jambhala is also known as Hindu wealth god Kubera. He is also the god of wealth in Tibetan buddhism. He is also king of the west within China's Four Heavenly Kings. He is also a manifestation of Amoghasiddhi Buddha whose superpower was helping purify people from envy. He helps protect people from bad luck and bad debts.
  • Celtic Mythology
    • Vesunna was a Celtic goddess who gave prosperity, abundance, and good fortune. Vesunna was worshiped during Roman times in an area which became the western half of France or Roman Gaul.
  • Chinese Mythology
    • Defied Trope: Budai is a deity who is also known as "The Laughing Buddha". Budai personifies "poor but happy" within Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese Buddhism. Budai was an example of how one doesn't need actual money to enjoy the benefits of wealth, like being popular, virtuous, and well fed.
    • Caishen is a god of wealth and happiness in Chinese folk religion and Taoism.
    • Fude Zhengshen was another Chinese god of wealth, more focused on blessed virtue and also known as the oldest of gods.
    • Guan Yu is a bodhisattva celebrated in Chinese folk religion, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. Guan Yu is mostly known as a guardian deity and holy emperor, but he is worshiped as an alternative wealth god in Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia.
    • Liu Haichan is an alchemy god symbolized by gold coins. Liu Haichan might be another face of Caishen.
    • Tudigong is a god of the soil and farming associated with wealth and landlords. Other names for this god include Dizhushen, Tudipo, Tugong, Tudiye, Dabogong, Sheshen, Tudijun, Tudihuofushen, Fudezhengshen.
  • Dedun was one of the few Nubian gods remembered from Ancient Africa. Dedun was associated with the lucrative trade of incense, and so is remembered as a god of wealth and prosperity.
  • Ekeko was a god of abundance and prosperity during ancient Bolivia.
  • Ancient Egypt - Egyptian Mythology
    • Bes was a god who protected Egyptian households from everything bad including financial ruin.
    • Hathor was a major goddess connected to mineral wealth (semi-precious stones, copper, gold), cattle wealth, and abundance festivals. She first appears with a cattle head during fourth to second millennium BC. Like India, ancient Egypt saw cows as sacred sources of food. Cattle is an Older Than Dirt currency. Later, she was associated with Horus and the sun metal gold. From the Middle Kingdom period until Ptolemaic and Roman times, Hathor was associated with various joyful (and drunken) festivals celebrating abundance.
    • Renenutet was an ancient Egyptian goddess of wealth, well-being, nourishment, and harvest.
  • Ancient Greece - Classical Mythology
    • Agathodaemon, or agathos daemon, was a noble spirit who lived within vineyards and grainfields. Agathodaemon was the husband of Tyche; rituals to him could increase agricultural yield and profit.
    • Hermes was the god of merchants, as well as The Trickster among gods.
    • Hades was the god of wealth, his Roman name, Pluto is a title means "the wealthy one".
    • Plutus was the god of agricultural wealth, who was blinded by Zeus so he would distribute wealth indiscriminately and without favor for the good.
    • Tyche was the goddess of fortune, both good and bad. Tyche was also associated with a Greek city's prosperity and destiny. The Roman version of Tyche was named Fortuna.
  • Hindu Mythology
    • Inverted: Alakshmi is a Hindu goddess of the opposite of fortune, misfortune and poverty due to malicious emotions like jealousy and envy. Alakshmi's title translates to "Not-Lakshmi", so she is an opposing goddess to Lakshmi.
    • Ganesha is a popular Hindu god with an elephant-head. Ganesha is god of wisdom, intellect, remover of obstacles, and patron of artists and scientists. Some sects, such as the Jains, see Ganesha as a god of wealth also.
    • Inverted: Jyestha was another Hindu goddess of misfortune opposed to Lakshmi. Jyestha was associated with sloth, poverty, sorrow, ugliness, unlucky places and crows.
    • The "Lord of Wealth" had several names: Kubera, Kuvera, Kuber or Kuberan. Kubera was also the god king of "Yaksha", semi-divine natures spirits, and not just another minor lord. Associated with the chief of China's Four Heavenly Gods.
    • Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of Good Fortune and Beauty. Her ability to enhance good fortune is symbolized by the gold coins in art work about her, particularly coins pouring from her hands. She is also a case where Love Goddess, female beauty, and wealth overlap.
  • Ikenga is a Nigerian god of personal power and "strength of movement", who is also associated with fortune and wealth.
  • Japanese Mythology
    • Benzaiten is a goddess of financial fortune, talent, beauty and music, adopted from Buddhism. She's the only female in Japan's Seven Lucky Gods.
    • Bishamonten is is another of Japan's Seven Lucky Gods, and the guardian of Heaven's treasure house and known to share treasure (in a good way). Bishamonten is also Japan's version of one of China's Four Heavenly Kings. Bishamonten fits the mold of protector of the North, whose color is green or yellow, and the chief god of the four.
    • Inverted: Binbogami was a household god of poverty and misery in Japanese folklore.
    • Daikokuten was a god associated with wealth and prosperity who inspired a fun custom, "theft of fortune" where divine images are stolen.
    • The Shinto god Ebisu had a lot of domains including fishing, fishermen, luck, wealth, and business/commerce.
    • Mahakala is a deity of household wealth in Japan, particularly related to food and the kitchen. Mahakala is a major god and widespread in other cultures such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, but not neccesarily related to wealth.
  • Inverted: Kalfu is a Voudoun spirit of bad luck, malicious destruction, injustice, and misfortune.
  • Kumugwe is a wealthy sea god, also named "Copper-maker", famed the riches in his undersea dwelling. Kumugwe was worshipped by Native American tribes in the The Other Rainforest region.
  • Mesopotamian Mythology
    • Ashnan goddess of grain counts as a wealth deity in a culture who described "wealth" in terms of grain and livestock.
    • Enkimdu is another god of farming, and a prototype of the wealthy, healthy, and wise farmer.
    • If your culture uses cattle as money rather than coins, then the god Lathar counts. The Sumerian Creation myth, "Myth of cattle and grain" counts sheep, cattle, and grain as wealth.
    • The Sumerian civilizations included the Babylonians, Assyrians and Akkadians that lived thousands of years before the common era. Two Sumerian gods of fortune are Ziku, a Babylonian god of fortune associated with the God Marduk, and Bogu another god of wealth.
    • Trade existed during Gilgamesh's time, and the Pharaoh's face was on silver coins.
  • Norse Mythology
    • Inverted: Gullveig was a goddess of greed whose obsession with gold helped start the war between the Aesir and Vanir. Gullveig was called by other names, Gullweig, Heidr, or Heid.
    • Freyja was a popular goddess of beauty, love, fertility, and magic who was also known for a love of beautiful gold and jewelry. Freyja is an example of how a pantheon's Love Goddess overlaps with wealth deities because isn't beauty a treasure? What better place for jewels than on the hottest of women?
    • Freyr: Like many fertility deities, Freyr was also an agricultural deity primarily responsible for good harvests and therefore was associated with prosperity. The Older Than Dirt meaning of wealth/prosperity is abundant food.
    • Loki is a case where the trickster god is also that pantheon's financial adviser. Loki helped the Aesir out of financial jams, such as when the Aesir couldn't pay for the fortification of Asgard.
    • Not much is known about Thor's wife Sif except she had luxuriant golden hair, but this motif marks her as related to wealth deities. Agricultural goddesses of good harvest had hair the color of golden wheat, and gold metal was another sign of wealth.
  • The Qur'an
    • The prophet's rules about not charging interest on loans make more sense during that time's context. Charging interest on a "payday" loan might mean starvation for that family later. Manipulating the price of grain to increase your profit meant poor people starved, for real. During the Older Than Feudalism period, enslaving people, such as through debt, was a respectable way to become rich.
  • Ancient Rome - Classical Mythology
    • A Roman goddess Abundantia personified abundance and prosperity. She was associated with the Golden Age of Greek mythology and the mythic "horn of plenty" (cornucopia).
    • Averruncus was the god of averting harm, including financial ruin.
    • Fortuna was the Roman goddess of fortune, both good and bad. Fortuna was associated with the capriciousness of chance.
    • The Roman goddess Moneta protected the funds of her worshipers, along with another duty protecting memory. Moneta's name became the source of English language words such as "money" and "mint".
    • The Roman version of Hermes was named Mercury. The name "Mercury" has a similar language root to word "merchandise".
    • In Classical Mythology, Pluto was a god of wealth as well as the afterlife. It makes more sense when you relize that the Earth contains gold and precious stone, which Pluto could access since he was the Chthonic god of a subterranean realm. The name Pluto could have been conflated with Plutus.
  • Saint Cajetan is the Catholic Patron Saint of the unemployed, gamblers, and good fortune.
  • Vaisravana is a Buddhist deity who is considered a "god of wealth" in Tibet.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Forgotten Realms - Gods
    • Abbathor was the evil dwarfish deity of greed.
    • Garl Glittergold was the Top God for gnomes, but he helped his people prosper, and had a knack for finding gold and gems.
    • Waukeen was the patron goddess of wealth and trade known as the "Merchant's Friend".
  • Mage: The Awakening - Supernatural Entities
    • "The Chancellor" is an evil example, a Deity of Human Origin who seeks to control the world through greed and scarcity, encouraging humans to see each other as commodities rather than people. Its greatest success to date is said to be the global rise of capitalism.
  • Pathfinder - Pantheon
    • Golarion setting: Abadar is a Lawful Neutral god of cities, commerce, law, and money, believing those things to hold the key to prosperity and happiness for any disciplined person. His clergy commonly act as bankers and are expected to invest in their communities.
    • The Archdevil Mammon, the Open Palm, is the keeper of Hell's vaults — in fact, his spirit inhabits every coin, jewel, and precious item in the treasury, and he whispers temptation to anybody who possesses one. His mortal cults revere him as a patron god of greed and wealth.
  • In the Old World of Warhammer, Handrich and all local variants are the God of merchants and wealth, priests are often leading traders, temples are managed by the local Traders' Guild and the holy days are the major trading days.

    Theater 
  • An Older Than Feudalism example can be seen in Aristophanes's Plutus, or Wealth. Plutus, the god of wealth is cured of his blindness and now can identify those who deserve his gift. Economic chaos ensues.
  • The obscure play Money Talks is about money being put on trial (It Makes Sense in Context). In the last act "the Great God Dollar" is summoned to testify, and is revealed to be the Devil.

    Video Game 
  • The Elder Scrolls: Wealth, commerce, labor, and communication all fall under the domain of the Aedra Zenithar, and thus he is considered the patron deity of merchants and middle nobility. Like all the Aedra, he's actually quite benevolent, and out of all the Aedra, he interacts with mortals the most, teaching them that the best path to prosperity and peace is earning an honest profit; which is why being one of his worshippers is implied to be incredibly rewarding. And, rather uniquely, he's also sometimes associated with agriculture and depicted as a warrior god as well.
  • Zeus: Master of Olympus: When Hades agrees to become a city's patron god, he creates silver deposits for minting coins, doubles the money produced by tax collectors, and occasionally blesses the city directly with wealth. Justified in that he's god both of The Underworld and of all wealth beneath the earth.
  • Warframe:
    • One of the enemy factions, the Corpus, is something between a Megacorp and theocratic society that worships money. They do everything in their power to obtain it, selling weapons and enslaving entire planets to get their fix. Their desire to obtain money is so strong that it overwhelms their self-preservation instincts.
    • A Corpus aristocrat named Nef Anyo is one of the most influential Corpus. He dresses and speaks like a televangelist and promises wealth by giving money to his "Temple of Profit", on top of a few of his own very successful businesses.
    • One of Nef's crowning achievements was conquering the Solaris, a society of transhumans that live on a (at least partially) terraformed Venus. He makes a tidy business of mortgaging out their own bodies and keeping them enslaved with frankly extortionate levels of interest; despite having access to plenty of high technology, they work off their debts through backbreaking manual labor, and most won't live to see their debts paid off, by which time their children will have inherited it. On top of that, he has officially outlawed charity, and with the Solaris, paying off another's debts or giving them spare parts can be the difference between life and death. With Nef as an incompetent yet firmly entrenched dictator, much of Venus's content is about helping the Solaris's homegrown insurgency combat Nef's growing influence.
    • A former Corpus scientist-merchant, a man named Alad V, had his own territory in the Corpus landscape carved out for himself, part of which was conducting a war on both the Tenno, and later on the Grineer. He was eventually ousted and expelled from the Corpus, not for the lives he was wasting, but for the high cost in credits for his actions over the years.

    Western Animation 
Homer: "The 'all-ighty ollar"'? I get it.

    Real Life 
  • The New Age movement had spiritual money teachings, which can be found under names like "The Law of Attraction" or The Secret.
  • Maneki Neko: The happy "beckoning cat" of fortune can be found in many ethnically Chinese or Hong Kong restaurants and takeaways in Britain and America. Its folklore originated in Japan. They are thought to be lucky for business and profits.
  • For decades, various Protestant churches have taught "Prosperity Theology", which does seem like worshiping God for wealth.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report