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Sensei Gary Simpson
35 years in karate
15 years in motivation
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Zen Garden > Insatiable Greed is Morally Bankrupting Us

Greed is a curse that afflicts so many. What does it do to society?

A strange phenomenon seems to be sweeping the western world. Economic rationalisation and corporate greed are now paramount in the minds of governments and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) everywhere. The almighty dollar has become king and everything else has been relegated to virtual pawn status.

All around us we see evidence of this:

  • Governments are wasting taxpayers' money on building tributes to their terms of office just to glorify themselves while cutting back harder and harder on essential services such as aged care and hospitals,
  • CEOs are slashing company jobs at the "grass roots" levels thereby diminishing services to the public just to ramp up company share prices to exorbitant and unsustainable levels,
  • Many businesses now are concerned only with payment and profit and have little regard for delivering proper and fairly priced goods and services,
  • Everybody is encouraged to litigate even when claims are spurious and have nothing to do with negligence but everything to do with gross stupidity.

The combined effects of these practices ripple through the entire moral fibre of our society. In the end everybody has to pay more to receive less.

Three words sum up this phenomenon - "lack of responsibility."

Former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, who led Britain through the dim and dark days of World War II, is credited with saying: "the price of greatness is responsibility."

Where is all this lack of responsibility heading? If it continues on the course that it has over the last few years then I believe our societies are destined for moral bankruptcy.

Without responsibility there will be no greatness. There will only be brinkmanship and chicanery.

  • Governments will continue to be voted out of office rather than into office as people search desperately for the lesser evil. This will ensure that politicians will falsely promise more and more to win your vote only to ignore you when they are elected to office,
  • CEO's will continue to walk away from the companies that they strip bare yet will still be legally entitled to retain multi-million dollar severance payments. This will be at the expense of dozens, hundreds and even thousands of jobs,
  • There will be fewer businesses genuinely interested in delivering goods and performing their services in a caring and professional manner. This will cause them to spend ever increasing time and advertising money in the quest to attract "one time only" customers because they will be unable to retain "long term clients",
  • People will continue to pursue ridiculous compensation payments for outrageous claims that have little to do with common sense but much to do with falseness and irrational greed. This will ensure that insurance premiums will continue to explode to the point where it becomes so expensive that nobody will be able to afford it.

This malaise of greed has started at the very top and has filtered down all the way to the family unit level. It cannot go any further so it is up to individuals to stop the decay by refusing to accept trickery and greed as the norm.

Individuals must demand accountability, fairness, service and morality. In this regard they should voice their disgust every time they are confronted by turpitude. Having said that, you can only demand fairness and quality when you are prepared to deliver it yourself. To that end a study of self-esteem and personal development issues would not go astray.

Personal development courses and self-help books can improve the way people think.

Peter Daniels, an Australian personal development coach, has developed a body of work that would be difficult to surpass. I have attended many seminars presented by Mr Daniels. I have always found his spoken and written words to be morally and ethically inspiring. In my extensive library I also have a copy of most of his books. He has written many titles, including my personal favorite, "Miss Phillips, You Were

Wrong" (ISBN: 0-949330-26-4). It is the author's account of how he refused to allow one of his early teachers (Miss Phillips) to set the standard for the rest of his life.

By ignoring the "sharp" practices of governments, companies, businesses and certain individuals what we are really doing is giving tacit approval to them. Like Peter Daniels, you don't have to accept what is served up to you.

Write to your politicians. Tell them when they are not performing to a satisfactory standard. If they ignore your approaches, use your vote at the ballot box. Make sure you inform companies and businesses of their responsibilities if their standards drop to unacceptable levels. If they ignore you, stop buying their product and tell them so. Write letters to your local newspapers.

Wrongdoing can be corrected but it will only come through personal efforts. Similarly, sincere compliments, when deserved, can also make a positive impact. Individuals can make a difference. You can make a difference.

I am reminded of the story of the starfish. You may have heard of it but, if not, I will tell it: "A man and a woman were walking along a beach. The beach was strewn with starfish, which had been washed up on to the shore. There were hundreds of them, all in various stages of dying. The woman picked one up. Carefully she placed the creature back into the water. Her companion looked at her and said: "There are so many of them. Why bother? What difference will it possibly make?" The woman replied: "It will make a big difference to that one".

One person can make a difference. When you lead by example, you can begin a crusade. Others may decide to follow. We can put an end to insidious practices. Moral bankruptcy will only occur if we allow it.

Gary Simpson is a 7th Dan karate master who teaches self defense, motivation, self help and wealth building to students around the world through home study courses. You may reprint this article as you include this author credit and an active link to his web site.

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