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OUT OF THIS MESS. As we all know the financial crisis was largely triggered by banks lending money to people who could not afford to repay these loans and subsequently defaulted on their loans. That `s nothing new, but the scale of this happening was unprecedented and led to severe economical chain reactions that forced the governments to bail out private banks and businesses on a scale unheard of before. If you are a banker you will take some calculated risks with your loans, but not on the level that occurred then and there. So what happened ? The mad dog of corporate greed must have gotten off the chain. The prevailing motive of the times we are living in is greed; for money or power or both, in this case money. Greed is basically severe mental pollution and the root cause of most of the man made suffering at all times, including the GFC . So why is greed so destructive and what can we do about it ? To answer this we should have a look at nature and its laws . By nature we are group animals and the survival chances for an individual on their own today or 10000 years ago are not very good , because we depend on the group for everything we need , food, shelter, clothing, medicine, work, etc . But you can only function well in a group if you have mainly goodwill or dynamic interaction, that is the consideration of others is a major factor in your dealings with others. As long as you have this two way exchange without one side getting the short end of the stick there will be few if any problems. Because dynamic interaction or goodwill being the basic requirement for the survival of the group and with that the species, it`s also the source of our happiness, and not wealth and power as we are led to believe. Just think back in your own life , when did you have the happiest time of your life : socialising with a group of nice people or when you had a lot of money or power ? Nature made us that way to guaranty the continuation of the species, we have no say in our basic layout. However we can choose to go against the grain with learned behaviour patterns or mental states like greed, envy, anger, hatred or fear . All of those are destructive because they exclude consideration of others and with that prevent dynamic interaction. All of them stand at the beginning of very destructive chain reactions but are only learned behaviour. The reason for every conflict at any time was greed for power by some body. Have a look at the major world events of the last 15 years : greed for power by somebody is behind everyone of them. So what can we do about it ? Remember smoking? 20 years ago everybody smoked. Educating people to the fact that smoking was destructive got the ball rolling. If you light up today, you are a pariah. A combination of education and legislation has lead to a strong reduction in smoking, but the strongest weapon used is collective thinking. It`s just not cool to do so. And because the
worst thing you can do to a human being short of physical damage is expulsion from the group, collective thinking works. ( because we are group animals ) So the first giant step is to declare greed for power or money for what it is : THE WORST KIND OF MENTAL POLLUTION AND DANGEROUS AND DESTRUCTIVE MENTAL ILLNESS OF ALL TIMES, and the root cause of all manmade suffering. And people affected by it should be in a mental asylum, not at the helm of governments or large corporations. Imagine , how many feathers you will ruffle with this !!! But a long journey starts with one little step, and unless or until we take this one, there will be no future worth wile contemplating. The global financial crisis is only the tip of the iceberg but a very good and graphic symptom of a terminal disease. However since greed is only learned behaviour and an acquired mental state and is not genetically programmed, we can quite easily take the road we took with tobacco. Wouldn`t that make a difference ! So where do we start? There is already a ground swell in the streets and a recognition that greed is the problem, hence the “Occupy Wall Street “movement but so far it`s more an emotional affair. So for the not so altruistic let`s just get the calculator out and let`s have a look at the example of the deep horizon disaster : they had a problem with their blow out preventer but didn`t shut down the well to fix it but kept going. It seemed they made the wrong decision for financial reasons. The cost of the resulting disaster is unfathomable. The large scale environmental impact was only the tip of the iceberg. How many lawsuits are still in the pipeline and what impact does all this have on share holders like pension funds or small time investors let alone banks etc. How many lives will be eventually negatively impacted or ruined by this ? And who will have to pick up the tab eventually ? THE TAX PAYER AT LARGE same as for the financial crisis. So if you get your calculator going you`ll find that the greed that caused all of this is no longer affordable. The same applies to the GFC, on an even larger scale. That will be the first step !!!! So where do we go from here? Nationalise banks and corporations? Not a good idea, because all it does drive the problems underground. Communism and socialism are good systems if you are very poor, lazy or stupid, otherwise they don`t do the job. But to better understand where we are at and where we came from lets just have a brief look at the last 250 years of the history of the west: The 18th century brought us the industrial revolution that in turn destroyed the social structure of the day, the 3 generation family that amongst other things provided all the social security needed by the family. Because people moved to the city to get paid jobs, and were only living in the 2 generation family they became very vulnerable to loss of income by the breadwinner as the case might be. In the absence of any sort of social security this lead to considerable misery for lots of people. Furthermore the industrialization was one of the main reasons for WW I and the subsequent abolition of the feudal power structure in many places in Europe. The consequential big depression of the 30` was a major factor for a basically proletarian power structure in some places as well as WW II . And only since the 60` we are seeing a thriving consumer society in most countries in western Europe that creates wealth and personal freedoms for most people on a previously unheard of scale.
It took about 200 years and the blood sweat and tears of millions of people to get to this point of evolution of western society. A lot of this suffering was absolutely unnecessary because it was caused by greed for money and power. The 2nd and 3rd world are going through the same birthing pains today and they haven`t learned a thing from our mistakes. If they stay on this course they will suffer the same fate and pay for their ignorance with the blood of countless millions. But we in the west should learn from it now by appreciating how far we have come and modifying our system and not throwing out the kid with the bath water. Capitalism itself is useful to provide a consumer society that provides widespread wealth and personal freedoms . However , it should come with a social conscience. That means it`s fine to make money as long as the greed factor is kept under control. The top priority is job security and creation of new jobs as necessary, not profits. Some regulation and stipulation will go along way to facilitate that. A company has to be economically viable, but after that its job security. The most important piece in a consumer society is the consumer, with out him the system grinds to a halt. But you can only consume if you have money that is you have a job. It`s that simple. If you can produce a handsome profit after that, that`s fine. But when things get tough it pays to put people on shorter working hours instead of sacking them, because at least they still have money to pay their bills and don`t wind up on welfare. Executive salaries and remunerations as well as fringe benefits should be kept to a reasonable level or regulated. As far as the banks are concerned some regulation is definitely needed. Executives salaries should be capped at a reasonable level, and no bonuses or golden parachutes. The ship goes down, you go with it. After all, it`s not their money they are playing with. If you nationalise the banks, everything disappears from view but the problems are not tackled with that. Have you ever tried to hold a faceless bureaucrat to account? So the way to get ahead is a to change the way of thinking from purely profit orientated to sustainability by taking that mad dog of untethered greed and putting it on a short leach. Some regulation and legislation are necessary for this. (Don`t get this wrong : you can still make money, you can still be rich. There will always be rich and poor. Just have a little bit of consideration for others when you make your money, and avoid stepping on them on your way up. ) A slight change of the scale of values from learned “greed is good “ to consideration for others or goodwill and with that sustainability will go along way to solve our current problems. Education , some legislation and collective thinking will help to reduce the problem. By the way, we will never totally eradicate negative and destructive states of mind like greed because they are part of the engine of evolution. But we can certainly avoid the extremes of them like we are seeing them today. And that’s globally the biggest challenge for mankind today, because if we fail, our lives as we know them might just evaporate in front of our eyes.
So finally its up to us and make no mistake, every body counts because of collective thinking. If enough people are intentionally keeping greed out of their lives as much as possible, chances are it will materialize. It will turn greedy people into pariahs. Every one of us can be part of the problem or part of the solution, its up to us. Knowing this will help you to make up your mind and become part of the solution . Live and let live instead of live and let die ! I hope you enjoyed reading this M.J.Lucas .
Ps: if you like to read more and get the bigger picture go to:http://www.mj-lucas.com/
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