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Friday, June 20, 2008

Those Greedy Bastards! (And how it's all our fault.)

So I have to thank Mr. Henshaw for inadvertently starting me on a new rant. His wonderful post "Expensive oil or white collar crime" got me all fired up over the concept of rampant greed - something that I'm sure most of us are becoming acutely aware of these days. Between the Mortgage fiasco down South, the respawning of the Oil crisis or the many and varied accounts of utterly stupid amounts of greed. Just today they finally brought charges against the former Nortel execs whose unchecked greed lead to the loss of over 60,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars.

And so I posted in the comments about my frustration with the situation and then laid the responsibility right where it belongs: With us. Like it or not, we're the caretakers of the system.

All of us.

It's funny because if you look at this closely, at a micro-level, you almost can't blame these people, individually. In reality they're just looking out for themselves.

Yet that, in itself, is the root of it.

As I see it, the root problem is that a lot of people try to create this 'mound' of crap for themselves - usually once they start a family. They want to have 'stuff' for themselves and 'stuff' to leave for their kids - they need to have a house and a car and a legacy.

Is that so wrong? No, not in theory, not on a small scale. But now you've got millions of people all scrambling to grab all they can and keep it from one another to give to their own.

The more money you have, the more crap you can grab for yourself because that's the power we allow 'money' to have.

And hey, if we had infinite resources, this wouldn't be a problem. But we don't and thus it is. Now imagine that on a Global scale - unchecked ambition with mass amounts of hoarded power granted to small amounts of people.

That, in theory, is why we have laws. To ensure that all people get a fair shake, that no one's just going to come along and murder you and take what you have or steal what you've earned. Do they work? Well, that's a whole other story - best answer: sometimes. Laws only work when the masses stay an active and informed part of the system (though sometimes not even then). I love how people love to say 'the system is broken' like it's somehow beyond them, not realizing that they, themselves, are the system - an incredible, powerful, strong part of the system. The system is broken because we are broken, we have only limited interest in keeping the system working and thus, like any neglected machine, it fails us.

At the end of the day, we are all interconnected - and not in some silly, stoned-out hippy kind of way. I mean that our individual actions have ramifications that affect each other in direct proportion to the amount of power we have. When we work together with a common interest - well, that's when shit gets done. That's when COUNTRIES are formed or wars get ended (or started...). When we work together, that is when corruption is exposed and eliminated - culled from the herd like the disease it is.

It's not easy to keep the system in check but it's not easy because we have a few trying to watch the many - as opposed to the many trying to watch the few. Like the old adage goes "many hands make light work".

The reality of the situation is that most people just want to do their thing, live their life and be happy. It's when we stop looking out for one another, that's when this shit starts to take root. It's when we stop communicating with each other that corruption thrives.

What makes it the saddest thing to hear is that it's the easiest thing in the world to fix. You just have to give a damn and convince the person beside you to give a damn. Give a damn enough to be motivated to fix the problem.

Easy-peasy, right?


1 comment:

Elize said...

It's difficult though -- if you want to help someone else, especially at the micro level, there's all these urban legends/stories of people getting hurt by that.

Offering food, for instance, is looked at as a lawsuit-in-the-making for anyone. You can't get any help because people are living in a structure that automatically tells them they (as individuals) can not do anything.

At the end of the day, however, going back to Margaret Mead is the best thing ever. She said -- back in the days when academics weren't as structured in and anthropology was just a fledgling concept -- that one should "never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Truer words have never been spoken. Getting involved at grassroots levels can be easy, and involve very little time commitments. Being aware of the world situation is a great first step.