An office restroom in the 90’s had a sign on the wall that read, “Greed is Good.” This phrase was popular in culture when I was younger,
it was part of business school teaching and was commonly accepted. But now, fast forward 20 years and I’d have to say this notion is the cause of much of our American economic woes. I can see pretty clearly the affects played out in business, governement, courts, communities and in families.
Sadly, my generation, born in the 60’s will never be held accountable for events like Enron where greed fueled crazy financial modeling that could explain ways of fashioning the greatest greed. Or, where our government leaders were/are more concerned about a vote than an unborn American life.
Greed kills opportunity and life.
There’s a spiritual connection between greed and the global economy. I’ve learned how greed is not a private act that is isolated to one person. Rather, greed is a selfish act that affects families and communities and workplaces. We’ve all encountered greed, been harmed by it and I’m quite sure, we’ve all had our own moments of greed. This human behavior, greed, is responsible for our continued economic decline.
As a devout student of economics and more recently, Jesus, it’s obvious to me the evaporation of the middle class is due to greed. We must reverse this trend if we hope to change our country. We must tackle greed in ourselves, our families, communities and yes, who we elect.
Economists study money and how people spend it, or human behavior. Economics is a social studies course after all. Human behavior is predictable and greed is a predictable human behavior. We know greed is real and its affects are always negative for the individual and the community.
As an example, a week ago I wrote about “How is a benefit plan like a bus route” my point was about the importance in setting priorities in decision making in government. How is it some communities make good decisions while others do not. I compare how a lack of ordered priorities allows poor decisions in one community. This decision is dangerous to children at bus stops in Lake Orion. In a similar way, Detroit retirees had their retirements stolen because of poor decisions by community leaders. Leaders who put their personal gain ahead of those who they led.
Think about this yourself, when have you witnessed greed’s affect on a family, your family or someone else’s?
Let’s make this personal, I’m sure you’ve witnessed an ugly event where greed was on display. In my own life, I’ve witnessed trouble in families when financial settlements over disputed estates puts greed on display. Often, it is one family member who feels entitled to a share larger than has been designated to them that gets the ugliness started. In whatever form you’ve witnessed greed, put in your mind as your own example of how greed is real and how it affects others; let’s roll through the rest of my post.
Greed is predictable because its been around for all of human history, we can measure it, we can see it; it’s affects are often financial but it’s consequences frequently are more than financial. Think about your personal example, I’ll bet you saw a better outcome for everyone than what outcome greed led to. But, to get to the better outcome, a person in your story would have to stop being greedy. Ask yourself, why didn’t anyone in your personal example drop their greed? Or, maybe someone did and there was a happy ending?
Either way, the question is, how does a human change from greedy behavior? How do we as humans turn away from greed? I’m sure, in your own life, you’ve turned away from greed yourself. What did it take for you to turn away from greed and be generous to someone? What did you have to do?
Humm, how does a human turn from greed?
This is where it’s complicated, yet simple. I’m going to take a right turn here, so stay with me. I say I’m taking a right turn because no one writes about faith, economics and politics in the same blog. So, I’m going to do that and it takes a robust mind to want to work hard at thinking.
So, stay with me.
Yes, I’m going to bring God into the picture because it’s his will for us to be generous and not greedy. He gives each of us free will to be greedy, yes, but equally, he wants us to use our freedom to turn to him. In turning to him we gain a divine quality needed to muster his fortitude to act virtuously, that is to say, put aside our interest for the benefit of another.
Isn’t this what we’re missing in the boardroom and government hallways? Isn’t this why we have so much bickering instead of discussions?
You can be generous without being prayerful to be sure, but if you want to nearly guarantee a decision that will push away greed, then asking God’s assistance raises the likelihood. For the faithful, the phrase where two or more pray together greed doesn’t have a chance will make sense.
My concern is, in a country where God’s presence is pushed out, it’s likely that the downward trajectory will continue. Your future paycheck is in jeopardy. In a country where Hillary can boast anti-catholic rhetoric and get away with it; it means pushing God out is fine. Catholics now are the bad guys and the virtues the church has taught for all time go with it. This should scare anyone that has faith.
I think this intersection of human greed, politics and economics is the epicenter of the difference between Donald and Hillary; Americas right and left. There’s too much arguing where making a point is more about the pride of a point than solving the problems of this country.
So, wiifm, what’s in it for me?
If you ask for his presence in decision making, what can you expect? If you agree greed is not good in the examples I’ve pointed out, then we should want to change. But, what’s in it for you if you choose this path? That is, you choose generosity over greed?
Pretty simple, if God is in your life. It is easy and rewarding to find God’s help. With his help, you can choose virtue and in doing that you’re always rewarded with peace and joy.
I can say for sure in my life that God’s grace gave me an attitude of gratitude for all God has given me and has led to peace I didn’t know was possible, and joy I didn’t know was available.
Peace and Joy are available to you.
Atheist who is still reading?
If you’re atheist and still reading, after my inserting God, and you’re wondering, what’s in it for me? First, let me say thank you for staying with it. For an atheist to get this far in a conversation with me mentioning God, you have had to put aside your pride. This can be a difficult step because, the million and a half followers of Dawkins who follow his brand of preaching don’t ever here the opportunity to have joy. Dawkins only knows hate, it’s how he spreads evil. He’s an atheist with an evil agenda.
For you, maybe you’re not hostile to faith but something happened that has made you wonder religion isn’t for me. Maybe you’re put-off by prideful religious who expound religion more for their own sake than yours. I can only say, stay open to hearing a different message keep looking for truth. Follow the great writers of the last 2000 years and more who have loved God.
So, keep reading and enjoy.
Generosity is the antidote to greed.
Generosity is a human virtue, it is a gift from God if you ask for it. Virtues require acts of fortitude fueled by faith that oppose our personal will in favor of God’s will.
Praying for generosity is an act of faith that is always rewarded with peace and joy. Greed on the other hand is a selfish act perpetrated by an individual who subjects businesses, communities, families to their selfish desire.
Certainly any human can be generous, but in our communities we need more evidence of starting meetings in prayer for example to offer decision making that promotes dignity and life, peace and joy. Greed is an evil that promotes death, disrespect, sadness, resentment, worry, anxiety and more.
Greed in the corporate office, in the rank and file, in the halls of government have lead us to where we are and it’s time for a change.
So, for me, corporate greed looks like, compensation committees who pay 500 times worker pay (ridiculous) sums to executives who wash the backs of the compensation boards who pay them (greed x2).
Here’s a personal example, I’ve aided labor negotiations where the entire cost of the benefits for 8,000 workers and retirees weighed in the balance at midnight for less than the pay of the two executives negotiating the agreements. That in that same negotiation, consultants eager to please the company, fabricated misleading figures to bully the members into lower cost benefits.
Adam Smith’s invisible hand (father of America’s economic system) never envisioned this kind of greed when he fashioned capitalism.
Terror in the world at the hands of greed.
It does seem impossible from a popular culture point of view to think global terror is the result of government and corporate greed. But, there’s plenty of examples. Here’s a good article for you to go off and read from the Economist. Young men who can’t find work are the majority of those enlisting with terror groups of all kinds, including domestic terror.
Terror groups promote death, corporate greed, government greed is the engine that fuels it.
Greed is shrinking your paycheck down to third world pay
The work force, the joe lunch bucket crowd, those working each day for a decent wage are competing for wages across the globe. This has been true for 2 plus decades. Countries in third worlds sacrifice themselves to work for wages we wouldn’t dream of here. Yet, if you haven’t noticed, our wages are going down and overtime will continue go down. Wages, hourly salaried and others go down, as our workforce competes with nations that allow their citizens to be abused as workers for the companies who exploit them.
There must be a stand taken in board rooms and with government leaders who can lead without greed.
No, as an economist, I recognize and embrace the notion of competition and free markets. But, we don’t have free markets when we compete with countries that have tariff’s, poor living standards and costs that make it impossible for us to compete. This is where I would tie together the blog and say, your future paycheck is at stake. If we allow the corporate and government decisions to be greed oriented we’ll never see the path out of an ever decreasing pay.
The leadership we need must be leadership that’s selfless, that can look at the globe in light of all people, raising all people out of poverty by bringing their living standards up to ours, not the other way around.
By contrast, the Clintons are a demonstration of selfish leadership, they’ve made it clear to other countries their decisions can be bought. This is greed that is making it difficult to make a proper decision for this country. What’s in it for you if she’s elected? Your future paycheck and retirement.
I’ve been asked who I intend to vote for based on this, it’s not an ugly choice as many would like to say, Ms. Clinton has too much history as a legislator to expect change to come from her. Mr. Trump is then the candidate I’ll rely upon to make more decisions with less greed. I know this sounds odd because he’s clearly been greedy in his business dealings, and he grew up more or less in the same time span that embraces and sold the idea of greed.
I have to hope he’ll adapt the winner attitude to make America great, it won’t take him long to look at circumstances in our government and begin to ask good questions about why we’re doing what we’re doing. His decisions will be tempered by congress so I’m not panicked as the media says we should be.
I’ll vote Trump on Tuesday, join me, and let’s pray our Country can recover.