Friday, March 14, 2014

Who's Really to Blame for Our Economic Imbalance?

Today is Friday, March 14, 2014.

If a man has an apartment stacked to the ceiling with newspapers, we call him crazy.  If a woman has a trailer house full of cats, we call her nuts. But when people pathologically hoard so much cash that they impoverish the entire nation, we put them on the cover of Fortune magazine and pretend that they are role models.  –Anonymous

The dictionary definition of greed is an "intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power or food."  Sometimes, however, we can learn more about a word by looking at its antonyms, or opposites, than we can by looking at synonyms. 

Greed is the opposite of generosity.  This is because greed is all about giving to ourselves rather than giving to others.  A greedy person's attention is on himself, not other people.  This is the ultimate selfishness.  Do you really think selfish people deserve to be held up as role models?  Could it be that our children seem selfish because we, ourselves, have been unwittingly teaching them to be that way?

Greed is the opposite of temperance.  This is because greed is an imbalance, whereas temperance has to do with setting boundaries and limits within which to function, for the good of the whole.  Do you really think that it's wise to put imbalanced people on a pedestal?  Could it be that our society, our economy, the structure of our political leadership and our very lives are out of balance because we have been worshiping that very quality for too long?

Greed is the opposite of indifference.  This is because greed has to do with a lack of discrimination and detachment.  A lack of discrimination means that greedy people have no idea how much is enough.  A lack of detachment means that greedy people are so attached to their money that they are afraid they can't live without it. Do you think it's a good idea to value people who are incapable of discriminating between enough and too much, incapable of setting boundaries, and incapable of living within limits for the good of the whole?  The 1% gets blamed for a lot of problems in this country, but let's look at the United States as a whole.  Doesn't our country act just like the 1% in terms of our overuse of resources, our wastefulness?  Many of us – even those of us who consider ourselves "working class" – live lives that are positively decadent when compared with the squalor in which many destitute people live in countries such as India, Zimbabwe, Haiti, or Somalia. 

Who is really at fault?  Are the ultra-rich the only ones to blame?  Shouldn't we all take some responsibility for putting people on a pedestal who shouldn't be there?  :-/

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