How do you deter greed?
I’ve just been wondering a lot recently, because I see so many examples. Of course, the current market crisis and (founded) accusations of Wall Street greed are at the forefront of the news, and therefore dangling it in all of our faces. But it exists elsewhere as well. Recently, the Copyright Royalty Board had to rule against record labels who wanted an exorbitant amount of royalty paid for each song in the digital download market. They were willing to stand in the face of their largest reseller, Apple, who threatened to close the iTunes Store altogether, in order to squeeze more money from their business.
The same way that mortgage investors looked out for no one but themselves in an effort to squeeze more money from their business. Because business, after all, exists for the sole purpose of make money, right? And money makes the world go ’round.
Or so we think. That’s why we abuse our court system with frivolous lawsuits, thinking that we can somehow monetize a wrong that has been done to us. That’s why necessary services in our free-market capitalism, like fuel providers and insurance providers, charge ridiculous amounts of money for their services, because they know we have to have it and so they’re going to capitalize by sucking as much money out of us as they can.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to maintain one’s sanity, to say nothing of our spiritual peace, is to realize that what we have isn’t what defines us. More numbers in our bank accounts or retirement accounts provide us with a sense of security when, in fact, they are not secure at all, nor will they ever be. Perhaps the only reason that money has gained such a stranglehold on us is because we’ve assigned it so much value to it when it is, in fact, “the root of all evil.”
People are cheated and left destitute for green pieces of paper. People are murdered for coins. Faith is ignored in the interest of profit. Numbers on a statement suddenly are sufficient cause to end marriages. The tangible becomes so much more important to us than the intangible.
If we could glimpse into the spiritual realm for just a moment, I think we would realize how completely and irreconcilably hopeless our confusion on that point is, because it is that point, I think, that leads to all the others. Debating how to repair our economy is of no use as long as money remains the ultimate goal because, as long as money is the goal, we will fall back into the same situation. We will continue to throw away our freedoms away to politicians who are all too willing to snatch them up because of the power their huge salaries gain for them.
We will always be willing to hurt the next person, to deprive them, in order to make our own bottom line, because that, ultimately, is what business is about.
Until people are once again more important than material possessions, the problem will only change appearance…it will never go away.
I wonder when we’ll ever manage to wake up to that.