Thursday, January 15, 2009

A hard look in the mirror

This is a continuation on a couple of themes that I have been pounding on for the past couple of days. The main theme of sin is going be woven through this.

I would recommend starting out over at Wikipedia (please make a donation) for a quick review of the seven cardinal sins and why they were placed there.....that being done, we can continue onto how here in the US we have really done up the greed and envy.

Greed is the driver of our current problems. The corporations that have defined us as a country for the last one-hundred years are constructs of greed. Nothing more, nothing less. Their sole purpose is to accrue money. Oh, once upon a time, long long ago, they were out to make things that folks wanted to buy. But in the 1990's, that fuckwad Jack Welsh put paid to that nonsense. Currently a corporation is a nothing but means to make its management and shareholders wealthy at the expense of people and the environment.

Now if your goal is to make things that folk want to buy, it is a pretty self-correcting mechanism. If folks don't want to buy, you shrink. What you want is a constant stream of customers coming to your door so that you can make enough to eat every month. You make your stuff well, you become a part of the community, you control yourself, because if you don't, you won't have any work next month and the wife and kids will begin to complain.

But, over the past hundred years, we have moved away from this, we have moved into the desire for money.

Money is an odd thing. Unlike too much food or too much stuff, it is nice and compact and tidy. You really can't see how you can have too much of it. So when you shift from making things to making money, you shift into the realm of greed. You make too much stuff and flood the market. You make crappy stuff because if you have good quality, people don't replace it. You begin to screw your workers, because if you pay them money, then you don't have it. You screw the environment, because being careful where you dump your shit costs money.

The creation of a corporation sends all of this into overdrive. Here you sell pieces of yourself to other folks (put into another context, a whore does the same thing, but she is evil, you are an upright member of the community). Now, these folks who buy into your company are not interested in anything but what their money is buying them. They willfully close their eyes to your actions so that that you can increase their return on investment. Now the gloves are off. The pursuit of "shareholder value" as the first virtue and the lining of your own pockets becomes all important.

Now you start experimenting in usury as this allows good returns.

Damn, those pesky workers are bugging us for more money, why don't we fire them and get some Chinese instead.

You know how the rest of the story plays out.

But the real sad part about this is how many of us bought into the greed with our 401-K and our IRA and our dreams of a golden future. We watched Martha Stewart and we sold our souls and the freedom of our grandchildren for a life of comfort.


Anonymous said...

You must not forget lust and glutony. Our society embraces most of the deadly sins as the standard way of life.

Anonymous said...

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Mockum said...

While I agree with the first part of your post, I think you cast too broad of a net in the end. Not everybody in this country has bought into greed. In fact, I would say few of the "little people" have simply because they understand that wealth is out of their reach. Plus, there are a lot of folk that aren't into money or consumerism. I do think, in general, the US citizenery is too materialistic and lazy (me, I'm just lazy). Decades of TV and advertising are the cause.

Mayberry said...

You hit the proverbial nail right on the head my friend...

Mockum: Not everyone, but a sickeningly large majority..... And you kinda contradicted yerself there.....

Degringolade said...

Mockum old friend, I guess that what I am saying is that the little people, in their envy of the rich, have supersized their dreams and expected too much out of the great ponzi.

Americans all expect too much. With the exception of a small minority of counter culture types, old hippies, constitutionalists and an odd sprinkling of other -ists, even the lumpen's dreams are too greedy.

Go live in another country for a bit. The folks there have much less intrusive dreams, yet they are as happy as we are.

Consumerism is endemic. Even those of us who rail against it have the disease, we are just fighting the symptoms.

Degringolade said...

PS...My personal speciality in the cardinal sins is gluttony.

Jethro does like his vittles

Stephanie in AR said...

I'd say that pride or vanity are also with greed. It isn't necessarily about how much $$ but the pride/vanity of biggest, best, or social standing. It isn't hard to do here in the USA, being very independent minded. Look what I did/have/earned, at how well I provided for the family. Along with the old value of getting a good value for our hard earned money - well it isn't difficult to change people's perspectives.

I have thought about this off & on. Consider some of the writings from the Middle Ages - Chaucer for example gets a 'do not let your child read this without guidance' because there are themes that are considered too suggestive. Or "Gargantua & Pantagruel" that are too explisive for hs but were not considered so when written. Things that were everyday life & not thought about twice are now heavily edited/legislated while we are casual with what was once serious. Small example would be breastfeeding.

Tis odd the way the world moves on.