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Argument to the Purse

argumentum ad crumenam

(also known as: appeal to poverty or argumentum ad lazarum, appeal to wealth, appeal to money)

Description: Concluding that the truth value of the argument is true or false based on the financial status of the author of the argument or the money value associated with the truth. The appeal to poverty is when the truth is assumed based on a lack of wealth whereas the appeal to wealth is when the truth is assumed based on an excess of wealth.

Logical Form:

Person 1 says Y is true.

Person 1 is very rich.

Therefore, Y must be true (appeal to wealth) / false (appeal to poverty).

Example #1:

Mike: Did you know that the author of the book, “Logically Fallacious,” made a fortune on the Internet?

Jon: So?

Mike: That means that this book must be awesome!

Explanation: While my financial status might impress the participants at an Amway conference, it has little to do with my knowledge of fallacies.  However, remember the argument from fallacy; just because the argument is fallacious, does not mean the conclusion is not true, dammit.

Example #2:

Simon is very poor.  Simon says that the secret to life is giving up all your material possessions, and living off the government’s material possessions.  Simon must be very enlightened.

Explanation: Just like people tend to associate wealth with wisdom, they also associate extreme poverty with wisdom.  Rich people are rich and poor people are poor—which members of those groups have wisdom does not depend on their financial status.

Exception: If one’s wealth, or lack thereof, is directly related to the truth value of an argument, then it is not a fallacy.

Mike: Did you know that the author of this book, who does extremely well financially in business, also wrote the book, “Year To Success” that was endorsed by Donald Trump?

Jon: I did not know that.

Mike: That means that his book on success is probably worth looking into!

Jon: I agree, and I am sure Bo will thank you for the cheap plug.

Tip: There is nothing wrong with a little self-promotion.


This a logical fallacy frequently used on the Internet. No academic sources could be found.

Registered User Comments

Saturday, March 24, 2018 - 12:50:43 AM
Often I see advocates of alternative medicine say this... That the only thing you do when paying for conventional cancer treatments is that you line the pockets of Big Pharma with gold. I feel that the purveyors of alternative medicine insinuate not only that conventional treatments do no work but also that it is morally reprehensible to take money in exchange for life saving medical procedures. They conclude that because pharmaceutical companies make a lot of money on medicine that their intent must be nefarious. This is capitalism. It is customary in our society to sell goods at a price higher than cost to make a profit. This is good for everyone. Capitalism makes the world go round. If pharmaceutical companies are evil because they sell drugs to make a profit then car manufacturers are also evil for making money off of selling cars.

I have heard similar arguments about vaccines. Drug companies make a lot of money from vaccines. This means the motivation to make vaccines is not really about saving lives but really only to make money. In reality one can do both. Vaccines make money for drug manufacturers and they also save lives.

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