Tag Archives: money

Greed


Why do we desire more than we need?

A car is a car, yet some must have the most expensive to validate their existence. Such cars would not be made if we did not, as individuals, crave attention or simply desired ‘the best’.

Do we, in effect, just want the best we can buy or is it the status that our greed desires? Transport provides the same function, with various degrees of comfort, until more comfort is unnecessarily luxurious. Then it becomes greed, or simply the desire to possess the best.

The best. This also relates to homes, jobs, clothes, food, all items we purchase. If we were to remove the top end of luxury and place that monetary value into the hands of the almost four billion poor we would progress as a society.

For some, progress as an individual is more valuable.

Who notices the luxury more than the owner? If it is not recognised by anyone else then its desirability reduces. What does this say about us? Do we truly pursue ‘quality’ as some philosophers state and does this intrude into personal space, or is our desire for art all encompassing.

Perhaps we require recognition for our efforts, inheritance or luck to place us above others in our world view.

Unfortunately the ‘others’, apart from a very brief moment of recognition, do not desire the same level of luxury as a permanent quality. Therefore the money used to impress is mostly wasted.

Purchase luxury for your sake, judge it for yourself, and only purchase it if your life is further fulfilled by its presence.

If luxury has no more meaning for you, assist those who will never experience it to provide them with the basics of life to achieve true fulfilment.

Corruption exists where power exists


To say otherwise is naivety in the extreme.

Of course there are people who refuse to give in and shine like beacons, but unfortunately they are far too few.

If you want something done, and have enough money, then it is done. Simple.

Why are we so surprised when corruption is ‘uncovered’? Banking Royal Commissions, investigations into top legal firms, political donations, misuse of public money, misuse of public credit cards…it is announced in the news almost daily yet the shock value never gets old.

Perhaps it is because we want, so desperately, to believe that we have the same chance as the very rich in life, that we can get by on our merit alone. Some indeed can, and do, but it is more because of luck and timing than their good intentions.

Corruption is everywhere, at every level of our society. Fortunately it is nowhere near as bad as other countries, such as India or China, but it is there. Just below the surface, ready to emerge for the right amount of money or power.

So why are we surprised when it is exposed? Is it just jealousy that we do not have the money required to bribe someone and make our own lives easier? Possibly.

Or possibly it is because we, the un-rich, cling to this notion of a Fair Go. We struggle so much, through so much and somehow over so much in life we simply cannot stand the thought of someone using a chequebook to accomplish what it takes a pound of flesh for us to do the same.

So when it is revealed as being so easy for others, just the stroke of a pen, we recoil in horror once again. Even though we all hear stories, sometimes witness it firsthand, we strive to believe people are good.

Unfortunately all are not, and the wealthier they are the more they can ‘accomplish’.

Why is life so much easier when you have a lot of money? When you answer that question truthfully you will realise why it should not shock you anymore.

Status


For centuries mankind has striven, fought, argued and made alliances for status.

The wealthy measure their status by what they own, what label it has, how many they possess and if it is the latest available. Unfortunately they are completely unaware the non-wealthy never judge them in these terms, but by what they do with their money other than buying goods the non-wealthy would never be able to afford.

The wealthy care not about what their money does other than what it purchases for them, hence the invisible disconnect that feeds large businesses and governments but accomplishes little else.

Status is measured differently by various sections of society. For some it is your number of good deeds, for others your willingness to assist people at your own expense. Money itself was largely unimportant to them, simply representing a medium of exchange so its measurement of itself is largely ignored. In particular as money began to be spoken of in larger and larger numbers it lost all meaning.

For most people if they possessed enough of this medium to afford a good home, pay bills and still have enough to enjoy simple pleasures they are happy. If they have enough to enjoy ample pleasures their enjoyment rises until the choices of which pleasures to partake in become too many and stress begins.

Thus there is a fine line for the majority of the population. Too little or too much induces stress. This is evidenced by the fact many who become wealthy overnight revert to their previous state of comparative poverty within a year.

Those with ample wealth live in their separate world far removed from ninety-five percent of the population and therefore their lives, except to them, matter little. They purchase only the most expensive items that none of the ninety-five percent produce, further widening the gap of meaningfulness.

Those with money simply sitting in banks as ones and zeroes take comfort in the knowledge it is available if required, yet those with enormous wealth laying idle satisfy no-one except the banking institutions.

To the other ninety-five percent their definition of status carries more importance. If you do not have enough you work endlessly to acquire it, to earn it or perhaps resort to fighting to acquire it.

It then becomes something to brag about to those who do not have it, a meaningless conversation that interests no-one. Hard work is being done by everyone and yet luck or inheritance are the main causes a few acquire wealth above others.

Some are more intelligent and deserve their wealth, yet many also tend to concentrate on saving lives with inventions and products aimed at poorer markets, reducing their wealth yet raising their personal status if not their societal one.

Thus status becomes a personal choice around values. Money is a means to an end but not the end itself, contrary to the belief of the five percent.

Status is not just the providence of individuals. Collectives including organisations and governments also desire it above all else and control the resources to commit crimes or declare war to gain it. Often stealing and war mean the same to such governments, their justification being the protection of their citizens when their citizens know little of their real motives, making the argument vacuous. As were many of the governments, who desire to be in the five percent and who are mainly hollow and short sighted.

Your value to those around you, your contribution to your immediate societal collective weighs far more than any gold bullion.

As money bares so little resemblance to one’s real worth, your work and your knowledge are all, valued beyond all else as there is nothing else. Being judged as the person you are seems foreign yet forms the true foundation of our society.

Wealth is who you are and what you contribute to others. Is there really any other way of measuring true status?

Big business rip-offs


Here in Australia we are at the tail end of a Royal Commission into our banking and superannuation sector.

Shock, horror, surprise, they were all ripping us off by charging excessive fees, charging fees for nothing, and cost us all thousands by not investing with our best interests at heart.

The penalties? Fines, with possible repayments to customers.

Here’s the thing. They gained billions of dollars and will have to pay back a couple of billion. Net result, billions in their pockets.

Why isn’t there a very simple law? Rip off your customers and you have to repay them double what you charged, and the onus is on the business to locate every affected customer or they pay back triple the amount.

Easy, simple and a deterrent large enough to make them think twice about expanding their bottom line at the expense of integrity.

It can apply to any business, large or small.

If these penalties are considered ‘excessive’ by anyone, please consider the hundreds, maybe thousands of people who lost their homes because of perverted financial advice born from greed.

Imagine having to pay back double the price of a lost home. How many times would this happen before behaviour changed?

Not many, I believe.

Quite simply, make the punishment fit the intention as well as the outcome of the crime.

Our true inflation figure and how it is ripping us off


I am sure you have all noticed the same thing.

For almost everything you purchase from the supermarket today, you are receiving around 20 percent less in actual product than you used to receive a year ago, and for the same price.

Our real inflation figure is around 7-8 percent, maybe more. Yet the figures coming out of the the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicate inflation is no higher than 2.5 percent.

So our wages increase by a quarter of the increased costs we pay for essential goods every day, meaning our buying power is being significantly eroded. We simply cannot buy anywhere near as much in the supermarket today as we did last year, the year before that and so on.

No wonder we all feel a lot worse off today, and get very angry when politicians state the ‘official’ yet wildly inaccurate inflation figure.

Its official title is ‘household gross disposable income’ and it is decreasing as fast as water draining from a bath once the plug is removed. Or at least it sometimes feels that way.

The ‘statistics’ say we should all be fine, yet we have more people seeking assistance than ever before. And our purchasing power has reduced by 20 percent or more on many of our regular food items.

For example, packets of nutritious nutbars we used to enjoy did come in packs of six. Without any price reduction they then contained five per pack, and now only four. They then reduced the size of each individual bar by 20 percent. The price of each box has not reduced at all

So the ABS, who only look at the surface and so obtain meaningless figures, sees no increase.

Obviously their data collection is way off, and they should have started to include the size of items as well as price some years ago.

It started when bottles of wine and spirits reduced from 750ml to 700ml, with no increase in price, and the ABS registered no increase in inflation.

Many of us did not notice this seven percent increase in overall price, encouraging others to do the same.

The ABS has been completely wrong for some years now.

Packets of potato chips now contain far fewer chips, and they cunningly fill the rest of each bag with compressed air. This actually adds weight, meaning the weight shown on the packet is the same, or very close to the same, weight was before. Unfortunately we cannot eat air, yet we are now paying for it.

Once again the fast diminishing cash in our pockets tells the real story.

If the ABS does not get its act together quickly and measure the real cost of living increases we experience every day, we will soon have our buying power reduced by 50 percent with only, if we are lucky, an increase in wages of 2.5 percent.

Businesses know this, and also know it contributes to their ever increasing bottom lines so they are not going to speak up any time soon. The government, likewise, loves announcing ‘low’ inflation as evidence of their wonderful economic management.

I have read quotes from officials within the ABS admitting they are not getting the inflation figures correct. How about they simply include measurements/quantities of food items we now receive for the same money? It would quickly show the correct inflation figure, at approximately four times the current figure.

However that would mean admitting to incorrect calculations for the past several years. Why do that when the government is so happy with the way they calculate it now?

We are all being squeezed in a vice consisting of business profits and fast diminishing products for the same amount of our money.

Once again our confidence in those who are meant to know what they are doing, because it directly affects our quality of life, is eroding almost as quickly as the size of the products we buy.

So if the increased profits businesses are making from this underhanded price manipulation are not being shared with us in higher wages, why does the federal government think their planned tax cuts will be passed on?

As always the lower and middle classes suffer so the rich can get richer. The current gap between the rich and poor has never been bigger and shows no sign of slowing.

When the results of all the bi-elections from yesterday come in and victory is dominated by independents, the two main political party’s have only themselves to blame.

We are not as gullible as they think we are.

Finally I must, in the interest of balance, mention the new government here in South Australia. So far they have met all their election promises and look like they are doing their best to meet all of them wherever possible. This is reflected in recent business confidence figures being the highest this State has seen for a very, very long time.

Unfortunately they have no clout when it comes to calculating real inflation. We can only hope that a federal government will follow their lead soon and tell it like it is.

In the meantime we progressively get poorer and, unless we read and note the weight and quantity of everything we buy, it will only get worse.

But hey, with inflation at only 2.5 percent why worry?

Is there too much white collar crime or are we lucky there isn’t more of it?


We live in a society where white collar crime has never been higher, or more well protected.

Just read any book on the GFC or High Frequency Trading. You will quickly learn how so many became so rich at the expense of the hard working lower and middle class. Like you and me.

And no-one has been charged with committing any crime.

In the GFC companies (driven by individuals within them) made junk loans to people they knew were never going to pay them back. They then packaged them up and called them A+ secure, sold them to other investors for huge commissions then bet on those same junk loans defaulting.

And yet we still listen to those corrupt ratings agencies, Standard and Poor and Moodys, and the ratings they put on investments today. Why? Because the corrupr at the top welcomed them back with open arms as being fellow greedy and unlawful money makers, just like them.

They made millions, some billions, and yet no-one was held accountable.

Indeed the senior ezexutives of companies they knew were going to collapse, sold their company for a bargain price but not before they votes themselves huge bonuses. These bonuses were then paid by the US government bailout funds. Tax dollars of individuals put to good use…NOT.

As soon as the GFC was exploding around them the same firms started high frequency trading. I will not attempt to explain it in detail here, because not even some of those who participated do not know how it works. Suffice it to say that the big end of town were making stock trades that made them hundreds of millions while the average investor, often their own clients (people like you and me) lost everything.

Given these are only two situations that we actually know about, there must be many, many more. The current Royal Commission into the finance sector here in Australia has revealed much, but only because the Australian Government was forced kicking and screaming to agree to setup this investigation. They were trying to protect their mates.

Is it a coincidence that our Prime Minister made a fortune as a merchant banker and therefore would have countless contacts, friends, amongst the senior executives now being investigated?

As disgusting as all these examples are, I now believe that the ease that people and businesses can make themselves richer and the poor (us) poorer, we are actually fortunate it doesn’t happen more often.

If you read enough books, and get a pool of money together through friends, family and a few acquaintances you too can rip people off to your benefit.

So as bad as it is, and it is pretty damn bad, I actually believe we are lucky more people do not succumb to this temptation.

Corruption in our society starts at the top with heads of big business and political parties, and as proven many times over the fish rots from the head. So they are setting us all an example that we could easily follow. That example is greed.

Yet approximately only the top 5% do so. It should be more widespread but I do not believe it is. Why? Because the majority of people have ethics and morals that prevent them from acting as decedantly and greedily.

Yes, we live in bad times like never before as the gap between rich and poor grows by the hour.

However I like to believe that it could be a lot, lot worse and will stand with those trying desperately to shine light into dark corners.

Because greed is not hard wired into our system, helping others is.

I just hope there are enough of us to stem the growing tide.

The Royal Wedding – why it is a great advertisement for a Republic


Warning: if you love the Royal Family you may want to stop reading.

Before this event was shown on millions of televisions worldwide, I read an article that said over two billion people would be watching. This was quickly changed to a few hundred million, and I think that is part of the problem.

Hype.

The Royal Family changed their surname in World War I to Windsor, as they are all of German descent. But no, that is not what I do not like about them. What I don’t like is people holding positions of power and influence simply because of who their mother is, and the industry of hype that surrounds them.

Take Royal Commentators. Who would employ these egotistical windbags if they didn’t have the Royal Family to be interviewed and written about? No one I suspect. Also losing their jobs would be their voice coaches, who teach them to speak with an overly exaggerated posh English accent that millions fall for. Margaret Thatcher employed one of these voice coaches and went from a backbencher to Prime Minister.

Oh how gullible we are as a collective.

I am from a business background and had to work very hard for everything I have, as have the other nearly six billion people on this planet. Sure, people can be born into wealth and that happens on a daily basis, but they are not also born with power over how countries are governed. Unless of course you include North Korea, and gee isn’t that going well.

Yes we are very fortunate that the British Royal Family seem relatively sane, but if Prince Charles had married Camilla when he had wanted to, and there was no Diana in their bloodline, I believe we would already be a Republic.

My main point is that we already should be a Republic. Why?

Glad you asked.

We currently have a Governor General who can wield massive power over our country (just look at the 1970s) and answers only to their boss, the Queen. Residing on the other side of the planet the Queen mainly understands our society from what her advisors tell her. She could be receiving good advice, yes, but there is also a fifty percent chance that the advice is bad.

Bottom line is she is not Australian and is not immersed in our society, so why is she our ultimate ruler? We get upset when a politician doesn’t live in the electorate they are campaigning in, yet we bow to the Queen of England who doesn’t even live in our country?

Which brings me around to those projected television audience figures.

For some reason people become so overly excited that everything about the Queen and her family is highly exaggerated. How can billions become millions? Media hype.

The media see dollar signs in the Royals (and not much else). Television stations jack up the prices of advertising during the wedding. Countless photographs of the happy couple adorn the covers, insides and everywhere else on magazines and newspapers for weeks on end. Newspapers in particular temporarily forget that their job is to inform us about what is happening in our own country. Granted, this doesn’t happen much any more because Mr Murdoch has sacked all the good investigative journalists, instead his newspapers copy stories to fill pages (pick up a paper from Melbourne and you will read the same articles in the paper in Adelaide).

Hype turned up to 11, blaring at us from every direction, because of one wedding that is taking place on the other side of the world. And the only reason many of us are interested is because the people involved were born into wealth and power? Are we really that discontented in our own lives? Do we really believe that they should rule over us instead of a democratically elected Head of State who, shock horror, would be an Australian?

Granted they do some good work in raising funds for good causes but so do thousands of families in Australia, and they don’t get to live in a castle with servants. The amount of money spent on this wedding could save thousands of lives amongst the two billion people who currently make only $2 a day. Same with the homeless, who I suspect were removed from the route taken by the horse and buggy show before the cameras arrived.

There, but for the grace of a few missed pay days, go the rest of us.

If you want to watch a wedding and cry at the love and devotion two people have for each other, there are hundreds of them that happen every Saturday. They may not have veils longer than a football field, but they are displays of love and therefore, in my opinion, far more ‘tear worthy’ than the one on every television last weekend.

Thank god for Netflix!