Machiavellian Philosophy of Wealth Acquisition in Contemporary Nigeria: A Critique

Ochulor Chinenye Leo, Metuonu Iheanacho Chukwuemeka


This paper argues in defence of the thesis that the Machiavellian principle of the “the end justifies the means” is the philosophical basis of wealth acquisition for some Nigerians. The paper strongly argues that the philosophy of wealth acquisition currently in vogue for some Nigerians today is the philosophy of “steal and grow rich but don’t be caught” and maintains that this is a direct offshoot of the Machiavellian principle of “the end justifies the means”, where the end is made a justification of any means to the end in question. Our paper argues that the Machiavellian philosophy of wealth acquisition is the bedrock on which corruption (the cankerworm that has eaten deep into the socio-economic fabrics of Nigeria) is built. This is so because the principle of “steal and grow rich but don’t be caught” which is a reformulation of the Machiavellian principle of “the end justifies the means” strongly propels the actions of corrupt Nigerians. This Machiavellian philosophy, our paper insists, makes some Nigerians to think that it is almost impossible for anyone to acquire wealth in Nigeria today without getting involved in one shady deal or another. As a result of this Machiavellian philosophy of wealth acquisition, some Nigerians today believe that moral uprightness and wealth acquisition are two parallel lines that can never meet. Consequently, in their distorted opinion, those who want to be morally upright must give up the ambition of becoming wealthy because, according to them, it is for the corrupt. And those who want to be wealthy must give up the possibility of moral uprightness because, according to them, it does not promote wealth. Our paper strongly argues for a total rejection of the Machiavellian philosophy of wealth acquisition. In its place, the paper emphasizes and recommends principles for the acquisition of morally upright wealth in Nigeria.

Key words: Philosophy; Wealth Acquisition; Nigeria


Philosophy; Wealth Acquisition; Nigeria


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