Greed, noun: excessive desire for more than one needs or deserves. Secondary: wanting to eat more than one can reasonably consume. I might be tempted to stop right there but there are too many pieces to this puzzle.
I have just finished a book on the last days of Bear Stearns. One cannot but be taken by the size of bonuses, the glitz and over the top spending on everything from offices to houses to jewelry. I am not going to get moralistic but rather be observant. The largess was shared by execs, traders and salespeople alike.
Now I try to put this in perspective with the Occupy Wall Street crowd. When they were here I went to the protest in Denver one afternoon. It is within walking distance of the Kenny digs. I really wanted to see what it was all about and talk to some of them.
They really had no distinct message which was disappointing. I was just looking for a starting point. Well, I will just find a leader. Sorry, none of those were around. It seems there were 20% who were just supporters. They were working but felt the message was right. Not bad.
Then there was about 20% who trying to develop a coherent philosophy of sorts. Good for them . But as I wandered through the tents and food lines, it was evident the last 60% was divided equally between professional protesters(some would say anarchists) and the homeless. If you are down and out who wouldn’t want a free meal and a place to stay? Disappointingly, I discovered the homeless were being actively recruited to swell the crowd. So much for spontaneity.
On my walk home I just started thinking about this greed thing and it occurred to me that maybe we are all guilty. The money is obvious. There is no one in this world that is deserving of $15-20 million per annum be they financier, athlete, or media star….unless it is their own money. That is not envy or looking to redistribute wealth but just amazement at our stupidity. When I look at all those dollars I just see them as something that could be better spent on education or R and D. The most galling aspect is that somehow I am paying for that pacheck either directly or indirectly.
Our corporations are so shortsighted towards long term planning and investment. Keep those profits rolling. Share price conquers all. Then the big guys can cash in their stock options. But the ordinary Tom Dick and Harry stockholders and analysts are screaming too.
But I also thought of greedy old people and I guess yours truly qualifies. We say we are entitled. There is not only the well off taking Social Security but the bulk of us who want to wring every dime we can out of Medicare and Medicaid. I see ads for scooters and medical supplies with the tag line “this will probably not cost you anything out of pocket” God damn it! You owe me whether I need it or not.
An educator is greedy in that they refuse to consider new methods and elimination of tenure. So many are great and so many are less than mediocre. There is no way to reward innovation or brilliance. This is true on the primary as well as secondary level. Do you know the average college professor teaches 1.4 classes per semester? Remember back to that deserve part of greed.
Are there greedy poor bastards? Do they work the system? Is it easier being on the dole than hard at work? Is everyone who claims to be a victim really so? Insurance fraud. Medicare fraud. Tax cheats. A little here. A little there. Don’t worry no one will notice. And the beat goes on.
We are all greedy with our time. We rush everywhere saying we are way too busy. We don’t have time to read, to explore our minds, to put in time towards charitable endeavours. Greed really embodies a total lack of sacrifice. You may be working hard but is it to make money or to feed your ego with trinkets?
This all sounds harsh but it is our problem today. We have cut off creativity. We have a whacked out set of priorities. We are greedy to maintain our own little worlds. This is industry and individual alike. Rich and poor. Many feel we should act like immigrants again. Look at this land of opportunity and not as the horn of plenty. I agree.
Take a real hard look at what you deserve. I know of very few of you who go to bed hungry at night. Who doesn’t have roof over your head? Who are really worrying about where the next nickel is coming from? At your worst where does that put you in the world? Maybe the top 5%.
I am not preaching. I am going to confession because I am right up there in front. Greedy bastards? We all are. Let’s have Occupy the USA and really straighten things out.
Ted The Great
Things I Don’t Get
You can kill and poison insects but you get to go to jail if you do it to a dog or cat.
Bentley owners doing their shopping at Costco. Is that what they call trickle down?
Spending $1,000 on golf clubs and zero on lessons.
Spending $500 on dinner and putting $5 in the collection plate.
Fast food as our biggest growth industry.
Not reading yesterdays oped because it is a day old
The Donald’s Hair..he actually thinks he looks good
Calling a fancy restaurant for a 7:00 dinner reservation and they tell you all they have is 6:45 or 7:15