“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.“
– Mahatma Gandhi –
Greed is the bane of all religions and the scourge of all men. All of the world’s religions have decried greed and there is no one free of it or its embryo.
One source defined it as “A selfish or excessive desire for more than is needed or deserved, especially of money, wealth, food, or other possessions.” This definition, somewhat narrow, can be expanded to include other artifacts of value or perceived value, to include “blessings from the gods”, social status, power, etc. The significant feature that is evident here is the desire for quasi exclusivity in the ownership and control of whatever it is that is the object of the greed. The early Christian ethics considered it one of the Seven Deadly or Cardinal Sins viz: Pride; Greed; Lust; Gluttony; Envy; Wrath and Sloth. The use of the term “needed or deserved” is somewhat misleading and subjective if not further qualified. If a person produces from his labor a certain quantity of value then it is his personal private property. It is quite healthy for that person to want to produce more or define “more” as his needs. However, when his/her defined needs or what he defines as what he deserves, exceeds what he produces or is capable of produces, then we have greed, egregious greed too.
When we said above that no one is exempt from “greed”, there is no one known to us, that is not willingly receptive of a large windfall, a lottery winning or winning even from a game of chance. A religious man, a member of a church that frowns on gambling did receive a lump sum of money on a legal game of chance, to which he responded in explanation that “the Lord sent it to him, it was just the devil that delivered it.” To put this in perspective, there is a finite amount of value that one can produce, even with machinery that has a multiplicative effect on labor and the current technologies we have available. Nevertheless, everyone wants to be a millionaire, even a billionaire, again putting this ‘yearning’ in reality or an achieved reality in some cases, if a person spends a thousand dollars ($1,000) a day, starting from year 1 AD (the birth of Christ) s/he would have spent only $735 Million dollars by today. If money is only a “token of value” has this person produced this amount of value? and there are so many billionaires around in the world today. WHERE DID THIS EXTRA VALUE COME FROM?
We not berate those who have, millions or billions of dollars, for the most part they took advantage of a flawed economic system. We are attacking the system as being itself grossly flawed and is the cause of the current financial and economic crisis. And any meaningful attempt at correction requires changes in the economic system. We do not have any Utopian views of a solution, we do not view philanthropy or other messianic motives as being instruments of a solution. Simply, restore to the individual the value of his or her production, this is a democratic objective and it is difficult (“tongue in cheek”) to see why or how all the proponents or propagators of Democracy, private property etc. do not embrace this. Unless they are deliberately a pile of baloney, they are literally pissing in the fan and it is all blowing back now.
The economic system is flawed and need to be corrected. Since the society claims to admire and advocate democracy, then the democratic processes and attributes must be be extended into the economic world. It should not be restricted simply to voting, otherwise it is a farce, especially when the ‘Money’ Interest Grouping control both ends of the voting or selection options.