Tag Archives: greed

Prosperity versus Greed

What is prosperity and why can it be good?  I believe global prosperity is where all have the basics of life, including food, shelter, education, and healthcare.  We may not—and probably won’t—have everything we want, as that is limitless and basically unattainable.  This ideal state—Heaven on Earth element—is filled with gratitude for our means, rather than envy for those who have more, or condescension toward those who have less.

There has never been a time in human history where all had the same means.  The 20th century is full of the tragedies of genocide in the Soviet Union (20 million people) and China (a staggering 70 million people) where the Communist experiment with equal outcomes played out.  The charade of Communism is still in Cuba and North Korea to the extreme detriment of their people.

Greed and envy—negative values—are closely related.  Both are very detrimental to a satisfying life.  While it is important to have the ambition and desire to care for oneself and family, the lust for more, more, more beyond one’s reasonable aspirations can become greed.  Timing can matter; for instance, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett certainly avidly pursued great wealth, but eventually became philanthropic with their vast means.

It’s not just timing within one generation.  Passing wealth from one generation to another can result in dramatic advances, such as those by Darwin and Newton.  Personally, I have felt a great responsibility to use my inherited wealth to benefit others as well as my family and myself.

Financial literacy is critical for all.  But when wealth is passed from generation to generation, it requires a preparation for the handling of such assets, not just for the generation receiving the wealth, but also for their frame of mind to use the wealth and, in the end, benefit others.

Negative Values: Envy

I think envy is a close relative of greed because most likely many who are greedy are that way because they are envious of others who have more fame, fortune or whatever they seek.

President Obama used this negative value quite adroitly in his re-election campaign.  That is a very bad sign for America.

But I am the eternal optimist; I believe if globally we teach everyone to view those with more means with respect, curiosity and admiration—rather than envy—amazingly good things would come about for all.  We might learn from others who possess that which we seek and use that knowledge for self-improvement.

Negative Values: Greed

This negative value is very much a matter of degree.  Seeking financial rewards for one’s family and oneself can be a very worthy pursuit.  But at some point—especially if a person uses unethical, immoral or illegal means—this worthy pursuit becomes greed.

How do we help everyone to judge where that balance is in their own personal affairs?  Also, how do we combat the ones who practice this value?

Here again we must unite to praise those who are ethical, honest, moral and legal in their financial affairs.  We must unite in every human entity and encourage outstanding charities and other altruistic.  We should not be overly concerned about timing.  Bill Gates and Warren Buffett made their huge fortunes first, and then turned to philanthropy.

Others—myself included—want to contribute as I go along.  I still want to build a sizable estate so that my descendants can pursue altruistic ventures in their own time.  Also, I want to have the means to contribute to charities and such that I believe will bear fruit toward a Heaven on Earth.

Negative Values: Selfishness

This is my first in my series on the five negative values.  Selfishness may appear very early in children; particularly if sibling rivalry is involved.  Of course, it can and is present in all ages.  But it is a negative value that must be diminished and finally eliminated for us to reach a Heaven on Earth.  We must, globally, recognize this quality as a value to combat, one by one.  All human entities should be engaged in this worthy quest.

Now I don’t consider it selfish to strive for success and financial rewards as long as there is a balance with the positive values such as compassion.  It takes another positive value—honesty—to root out our own selfishness and turn the tide to values like justice.  Selfishness is not a value that will be eradicated globally in a very quick or easy fashion.  But as President Reagan said, there are no easy answers, but there are simple answers.