The Magic Christian is a blatantly dark, absurd, and unrelenting satire about a capitalistic society's relationship to money. Criticism is aimed at those who have wealth and those who seek it.
In principle, I'm in agreement that actions spurred by money can be insane, inhumane--undignified, at best. In a sense, ridicule is warranted. However, despite the satire, not many of the scenes were humorous. Imagining people groping through hot manure and urine to grab cash is gross and sad--not funny. I guess I feel pity for that kind of enslavement. From ancient to modern times, money can alleviate fears and suffering, particularly for those without it. Therefore, I find I cannot sit on a high horse and fault people for the excessive lengths many will suffer in pursuit of cash. Our society screams that money is power, comfort, and happiness. The poor are treated as failures and are disrespected. I disagree with that as it seems to me a person's 'worth' is deeper and more ethereal.
The mightiest jab in the novel goes to the power and values enjoyed by the wealthy. However, that opinion is due to my own prejudice. For some, Grant, the protagonist, could be viewed as a brilliant man turning all of society on its head because it deserves it. I see Grant's actions as inane, unduly cruel, and non-instructive. Grant pokes at ant hills, whips out his magnifying glass, and toasts the ants for thrills and entertainment, or so it seemed to me. Stepping outside of my empathy for the book's population, the novel's statement is easier: Everyone has their price, and the greedy deserve to be skewered. Good observations, but I only found a couple scenes in this satire to be actually funny.