BY SOFO ARCHON
What makes people greedy for money?
In order to understand what causes monetary greed, let’s do the following thought experiment: Imagine that clean, safe-to-drink water in our planet was scarce (by “scarce” I mean not enough to meet the global population’s needs for water consumption). Now ask yourself, what would happen in such a situation?
Since potable water is required for our survival, it seems that everyone would rush out to collect as much of it as they could. People would fight against one another to collect water for themselves. But no matter how much they would collect, they would never feel completely secure, because how can one know for sure how much water is enough for a lifetime? It’s impossible. Therefore, under such conditions people would want to collect water without end.
Fortunately, water in most places of our planet is abundant, and in “developed” countries, where clean, safe water is readily available, people don’t hoard it. When people feel thirsty, they drink water. When they want to use water, they just do so without second thought. In short, where water is available to everyone at any time, you never see people greedy for water. But you might see people greedy for water in poor, “underdeveloped” areas of the world, where potable water is scarce. So as you can understand, whenever something we want isn’t or doesn’t seem abundant, we become greedy for it, and even more so if that is of crucial importance to our survival. Greed, therefore, is the result of actual or perceived scarcity.
Let’s now have a look at how monetary greed is caused, or what makes people greedy for money.
Without money, we cannot survive, since our whole economic system is based on money. But money, as every economist knows, is never enough for every person alive, since it’s created as interest-bearing debt. Moreover, for most people money is never guaranteed — you might have plenty of it now, but who knows if you’ll have any in the future? What you’ve gained so far might be taken away from your hands, if you can’t keep up with the ever-changing competitive market.
Naturally, in such a competitive system based on financial insecurity, people become greedy for money — some more, others less. That’s why no matter how much money we have in our bank account, we never feel fully that we have enough, which explains why you see even millionaires desiring to acquire more money. Their greed is beyond measure, and although we usually like to point fingers to the rich for their immense greed for money, the truth is that the way our socioeconomic system is structured inevitably leads to this kind of behavior, and unless we change it from its very foundations and remove the root causes of greed, we will always remain trapped in its net, reaping its consequences.
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