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Posts Tagged ‘Greed’

The Death of Socrates– Jacques Louis David


“Are you not ashamed of caring so much for the making of money and for fame and prestige, when you neither think nor care about wisdom and truth and the improvement of your soul?”

― Socrates


Aah, Socrates…

He knew. 

He understood the evil nature of greed, that monstrosity which has no doubt been hanging around the neck of man since we first emerged from the primeval muck and mire and began to walk upright. 

That’s probably why they condemned him to die by drinking the poison hemlock.

Greed protects greed. 

Always has. Always will.

The best we can do is hope that we can come together enough to somehow keep the greed of the few in check. And that’s a tall task because the greedy few always gather together and organize. They seem to be in some sort of such unity right now. 

And unfortunately, as I heard someone once say, organized greed always defeats unorganized democracy. Too many of us believe that a democracy that benefits the many will always persevere, that we don’t have to be vigilant and take part in our civil duties.

That things always work out for the best for us.

But history doesn’t bear that out. Democracy is a rare and fragile thing. It requires care in order to resist the grip of greed.

It is incumbent upon us to care for our democracy. 

Enough said for today. I wasn’t even going to say this much. 

Just have a good day and try to nurture your better angels.

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Greed

The financial catastrophe of 2008 nearly precipitated a calamitous economic depression, jolting America and much of the West into a sudden recognition of their systemic vulnerability to unregulated greed.

Zbigniew Brzezinski

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How did we not learn our lesson? Did we forget this soon?

But it seems we have forgotten that greed without regulation is a voracious beast, leaving us now to live in a time of unbridled and shameless greed with no end in sight.

Oh, it’s nothing new. Greed is as old as mankind and was the basis for the rise of most kingdoms and empires. But what we are experiencing now, as in the Republican Congress’ cash-stuffed love gift to big business that they claim is tax reform, has been building for the past 30-some years, since the first blotch of trickle-down economics stained our national fabric, to this crescendo of pure avarice where the Republicans in Congress have given up even trying to hide their thirst for more and more.

Their bald-faced lies, the deaf ears they turn to their constituents, the denials of any evidence that disproves their claims and the paltry bread crumbs they symbolically throw to the masses is an abomination, a direct insult to the people of this country.

Plain and simple, it is filth.

But until we stand united against this filthy greed, the greater part of the populace will suffer and pay for the greed of the few. This will deepen and continue until it is no longer sustainable.

And the cycle of greed is never sustainable. And when it is comes to an end there will be a great reckoning, one that I fear will be as ugly as anything this country as ever witnessed.

And we have seen some great ugliness.

I apologize for this riff this morning. There are no answers here outside of advising you to stay engaged and enraged. I know that’s a hard thing to sustain but we have no choice. As tired and frustrated as I am now, the anger I feel as I watch our country being played the fool while its pockets are being picked fuels me. Knowing that we are setting the table for a great suffering, one that the short-sighted refuse to see, and not caring is unacceptable.

 

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Greed

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.

——Mahatma Gandhi

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There was another thing that Styx said to me at the Cracker Barrel restaurant the other day that surprised me.  He asked if I had seen an interview with  Stephen Hawking where Hawking had said that man’s existence on Earth was doomed because of his greed. 

“Ain’t that the truth!’ he had exclaimed in that Virginian  country twang.   Maybe I was surprised to hear the Hawking reference or just the thought about greed which pretty much jibed with my own.  Whatever, it made me think this morning.

Throughout history, from the Greeks onward, we have been warned of the dangers of our own greed.  It has been the cause of most if not all wars and many of the great injustices of history.  Our history of slavery here in the US was the result of greed. 

Yet, greed never ceases, never slows a bit in our species.  We fail to see it in ourselves, blinded by our own rationalizations about our perceived need for more and more.  I remember at the height of the financial disaster of 2008, hearing an interview with an anonymous hedge fund trader.  Just a trader and not a manager, he was pulling in about $10 million a year.  Had been making it for quite a few years.  He said he had more money now than he could spend, perhaps for all the rest of his life.  But when asked if it was enough, he very coldly answered that no, it was not.  He needed more money.

That interview scared me more than all the other revelations about the abuses in the financial world that were coming out every day at the time.  It wasn’t an action that could be simply corrected but an entrenched mindset, one filled with a greed that can’t be swayed and one that trumps all virtue.  It was a mindset that took the human need to better one’s self to the furthest most extreme excess.  And we had started to accept this mindset as the norm. 

The “greed is good” mantra of Gordon Gecko had become gospel.  I’ll get mine and damn the consequences.

Think about it.  What awful thing hasn’t been the result of greed of some sort?   And what are we doing to avert this tidal wave of greed that is swallowing us whole?

Nothing.  If you aren’t grabbing all you can, you’re considered a sucker and if you try to do something about other’s lust for more, you’re considered anti-capitalist.  Socialist. Commie.

There has to be  middle ground somewhere, where common sense and moderation prevails.  Where it is and how to get there, I haven’t a clue except to try to keep my wants to a minimum and savor what I do have.  My grass is green enough here on my side of the fence, thank you.

Thanks for the thought provocation, Styx. 

 

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