Greed Makes the World Go Round...

Sunday, 26 August 2012 00:12 GFP Columnist - Joseph M. Cachia
...The Wrong Way - The English word "greed" usually is defined as attempting to possess more than one needs or deserves, especially at the expense of others. We're taught from childhood that we shouldn't be greedy.

“A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.” - Albert Camus

"When I was young, I thought money was the most important thing in life," said Oscar Wilde. "Now that I am old, I know that it is." Mr. Wilde was not wrong in his assessment; money has become the bloody lubrication for the gears of government, mass media manipulation and the steady erasure of basic human rights. To put it more bluntly, as Bob Dylan did, "Money doesn't talk, it swears."

We're living in a time when committing widespread fraud is legal as long as you're a banker, a corporate body or a politician, while people with tiny debts are finishing in jail. Anyone can pay off politicians, while whistleblowers are hunted and locked up. The economy is looking into the abyss, but our policy-makers refuse to take any action to protect working people.

But because our culture looks to money-makers as heroes -- and money-makers believe themselves to be wise and virtuous -- we don't see the destructive force of avidity until it is too late.

The Catholic Church speaks of four sins that cry to heaven for vengeance. One is cheating workers out of wages. And this is happening every day in our greedy society. The most serious spiritual problem in the country today is reckless and untrammeled greed. Unfortunately, the local Church never dared to take a direct and serious stand against the root causes for the sufferings of our under-privileged and this makes it very clear to this writer that the Catholic Church top hierarchy is more interested in creating a centrally controlled global fascist empire than it is in helping the poor and preserving the environment.

As Dom Helder Camara once quoted; "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist”. This famous statement by the never-forgotten Brazilian ‘Bishop of the Slums’ brings out the stark reality of the falsehood and the hypocrisy of our devout Catholic community. He raised his voice when many held their silence. Will we ever find a ‘Dom Helder’ in our society?

What did the local poll on poverty achieve? Aren’t we still where we started? What has changed in the sorrowful situation and in what way? Nothing, just nothing! If anything, the resulting feedback has highlighted the ever-increasing seriousness of the problem while shamefully exposing our miserly and selfish attitude of apathy, indifference and insensibility. But that’s where the buck stops!

In this case, there is something ethically wrong, because the minority is depriving the majority of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” as someone famous once wrote.

Every day, the pleas of the 99 percent - income inequality, unemployment, a too-low minimum wage and bad employers who take advantage of low-wage workers -- go on, largely unnoticed.

In this time of abuse by corporate power, screaming right-wing pundits, indifferent politicians, together with the mainstream press, refuse to stand up for the people. Furthermore, the ineffectiveness of the workers’ unions is glaringly pronounced. The issue here is that workers are too often left to the questionable business practices of businessmen that know the workers are weak individually, but strong collectively so they do everything they can to keep the individual weak. Thus, cheap labour can then be used to further add value to the large capitals that have been accumulated under stress.

"Rigid labour market" means getting rid of contracts that guarantee decent wages, working conditions and benefits, all won through a long process of negotiations and industrial action, while governments are attempting to "loosen collective bargaining agreements." The drive to scrap union contracts is coupled with "internal devaluation," which, as must be pointed out, "basically means cutting wages." If the working class can be forced to accept lower wages and slimmer benefit - and there is no better disciplinarian in these regards than a high unemployment rate - profits will go up. Sure, the vast majority will be poorer, but not the privileged 1%.

The eternal human table of greed only has so many places, ‘Who is indifferent to the fate of others is not worthy of belonging to the human race as integrity has no need of rules.’

The rape of Birgu, Fort Chambray, Tigne Point, Smart City and a host of other architectural and historical sites, most on public land transferred to private corporations who are treating their acquisitions without the least regard to community rightful interests and civic concern are glaring examples.. MEPA’s attitude has been depicted as being strong with the weak and weak with the strong. This is a very fitting attribute.

Now dark clouds are building over the fate of Smart City. Smart City Malta was largely sold to the Maltese public on the back of the 5,600 mostly ICT jobs it is meant to bring with it on completion. On the excuse of the negative impact of the Libyan war and the euro crisis, the promise of workers employment has evaporated. But, the construction of luxury villas and apartments remains and still continues. The handling of the Smart City project by the political class had always been shrouded in mystery but, in spite of all, the greed of real-estate magnates has been amply quenched. What is clearly happening is a desperate grab for capital and immovable property, as accumulation with the normal means becomes increasingly difficult.

Isn’t it still the belief of bankers that, when, through the process of law, the common people lose their homes and jobs, they will become more docile and dejected and more easily governed through the strong arm of government applied by a central power of wealth under leading financiers? Henry Ford once said, “It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

Let the masses be thrust into extreme poverty and left without jobs while the elites, drunk on hedonism, accumulate vast fortunes through exploitation, speculation, fraud and theft. Reality, at the end, is getting unplugged.

In this time of abuse by corporate power and indifferent politicians, we must come together, take the gloves off and be unafraid to call it like we see it.

A change of power requires a destruction of corporate domination and a new mechanism of governance to distribute wealth and foster the common good.

Until we revolt against big government and corporations for plundering our natural resources, we will continue to be slaves.

May we survive Corpocracy and go back to Democracy

Image Courtesy of The Design Inspiration (

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