July 30, 2014 at 12:31 pm #83099AnonymousInactive
Published by : Socialist Center
Author: Paramjeet SinghYes! ‘Greed’ and ‘Fear’ are the two major forces that guide the conduct of human beings. They govern every aspect of a man’s demeanor in the world. The source of greed is internal to a human being and the source of fear is external to him. These two forces, though separate from each other, influence each other and work against each other. You need fear to keep the greed under control and you need greed to overcome the fear. If greed is in excess of fear, system fails and the majority suffers. If fear is in excess of greed, system doesn’t work and the majority suffers. Here, in the preceding two sentences, we are referring to ‘huge excess’ of the respective forces. A balance in the interaction of these two forces is very crucial for maintaining a balance in the society.Let us see how these forces play in the world:What is ‘Greed’? We all know it. It is something inherent in human beings: “affinity to wealth” and “a basic instinct to amass more and more wealth”. We have talked about it in some of our discussions before. Greed makes man take the risk and go for more. Not only that, if there is no fear and, thus, the greed becomes unfettered, man will break the norms of the society to grab more and more. It turns into a blind chase for wealth without any regard for anything else- not even for other fellow human beings and their rights. In fact, Neoliberalism is greed let loose.What is “Fear”? It is something that affects you from the outside. The most relevant and real fear today is ’law’. ‘Law’ operates on the basic principle of fear. It is like: you follow the law or you will be punished! Therefore, there is a fear of punishment that tends to make people comply with the law and keep their conduct within the accepted norms of the society. There could be many types of ‘fear’ like- fear of failure, fear of social stigma etc. The effectiveness of each type of fear will depend on its relevance in a particular society. In some societies, ‘fear of failure’ might be effective in controlling greed and in others, it could be ‘fear of social stigma’. If there is only fear, the suppression of greed to that extreme end might not be a good idea. Why? Because ‘greed’ is inherent in a human being and it is a bad idea to curb what is natural to the extreme. However, the extent to which fear should be used to curb the greed is an important issue. Furthermore, in today’s world, ‘neoliberalism’ has caused the effectiveness of those types of fear that have their genesis in the pure social setup to fade away. Mostly, it is the system-imposed fear i.e. ‘the law’ that works. Well! Does it really work? We should say it has started to dilute. Why? Because the filthy rich have been funding the politics and, more importantly, the politicians so that when that particular political party comes into the power, the interests of the former could be protected. Therefore, when a political party comes to power, the government is already in the pocket of those who supported it financially before and after the elections. This way, the neoliberalists hijack the policy-making machinery of the government and the resultant laws are in favour of particular group of the society- i.e. neoliberalists. This takes away the ‘fear’ factor from the law as far as neoliberalists and crony capitalists are concerned; rather, law is reduced to a tool in their hands to intensify and satisfy their greed. This is where a ‘fear’ remains no more a fear and works in the same direction as greed. This created imbalance in the society. Let us see how is this imbalance reflected in the society?Warren Buffet, one of the world’s richest “Capitalist”, once said.“Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy and Greedy When Others Are Fearful”.Mr. Buffet might have said this in the context of financial markets but this is the hard reality of life. From a sociological perspective, these words of Mr. Buffet might sound very opportunist – opportunist to the extent that they make us think of human beings in the context of the Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution: “Survival of the fittest”- only the fittest survives. Social Darwinism! We live in a world that is characterized by neoliberalism. Neoliberalism, in some regards, is like the theory of ‘survival of the fittest’-those who “can”, in the free market economy, will get what they want and will survive. Now, this “can” is devoid of all fairness, justice and equality in the environment that is governed by neoliberalism. As per the current system, the world’s richest 1% who have half of the world’s wealth are the fittest (factual information availablehere). Does it imply that the rest 99% of the world’s more than 7 billion populations are not fit and therefore, do not deserve to survive? Really? Are we animals? Of course NOT. We are all humans and each and every one of us has the fundamental human right to live – live with all the dignity that makes us different from the animals. Does neoliberalism treat us like humans? NO. Neoliberalism doesn’t treat us like human beings. We are merely raw materials for those richest 1% who used us to amass half of the world’s wealth and will continue using us unless we do something about it soon. Wait! I have been too harsh on neoliberalism. It does treat some like human beings. Yes! To neoliberalism, only those 1% richest are human beings and the rest of us are unfit 99% who deserve to vanish struggling all our lives and contributing our blood and sweat for the survival of those 1% richest. This is what the unfettered greed, without existence of any effective fear, has resulted into. Do you see this? Yes, we all see it. This is what happens when you allow greed to go on a rampage. Now, the question is – What should we do to mend this? What should we do to make sure that this doesn’t happen again? Create a balance between the greed and the fear. “Fear” – word that neoliberalists love exploiting by giving it an ‘anti-freedom’ meaning and connotation. When I talk of ‘fear’ I am referring to a mechanism that makes sure the greed of the richest 1% doesn’t take toll of the rest of us – the 99%. But neoliberalists will use the word ‘fear’ in very specific way to tell us that our freedoms will get curtailed if the element of ‘fear’ finds its way in our lives. What freedom are they talking about? Where is our freedom? We spend our lives toiling and get nothing but the struggle, pain and tears. We would rather want the fear of law keep the neoliberalists mend their ways and stop exploiting every one of us for their own economic interests. We would rather want the fear of law to destroy neoliberalism and to ensure the welfare of all. We would rather want the fear of laws to ensure that resources of the world are evenly distributed among each of us. We need to make just and fair laws that are not lopsided in favour of the 1% richest neoliberalists but work for the welfare of the 100%, for each and every one of us. This can be done only if the right people are elected to the government- those people who work for the 100% of us and not get bought by the greed; those people who will have in place – rule of the law. We need a system that has enough fear to keep that greed under control or else we all will succumb to the neoliberalism and its aftermaths that are unjust, unfair, unequal and inhuman in nature.July 30, 2014 at 3:08 pm #104053SocialistPunkParticipant
Hi again Paramjeet,Paramjeet wrote:What is ‘Greed’? We all know it. It is something inherent in human beings: “affinity to wealth” and “a basic instinct to amass more and more wealth”
Instinct, inborn complex patterns of behaviour that must exist in every member of the species and that cannot be overcome by will. Or simply put, non-learnt, unalterable behaviour.A good example is in male dogs, they are compelled to ascertain whether a female dog is ready to mate. Such instinctual behaviour sees the male dog sniff the genitals of the female and sample her urine for chemical indicators. My mum and dads male dog would do it all the time to his female companion, it was hilarious to see as he was oblivious to the fact she had been neutered.If human greed is instinctual, it would mean all humans would seek to, as you say, "amass more and more wealth" but there are plenty of examples that go against this so called instinct. I for one am not interested in amassing more and more wealth, nor my parents, my partner or most of my friends. Are they and myself somehow through sheer force of will overcoming an inbuilt instinct? I don't think so.So what you describe as an instinct for greed, is in fact learnt behaviour in response to environmental prompts.Once that fact is accepted, a constructive discussion can take place on how best to achieve a socialist society. As for the idea that if you elect "good" people into power society will be fairer, well it has already been tried in a few countries including Britain. Guess what! It didn't work. The only way for the people to be free from the injustices and horrors of capitalism is if they do it themselves, in a mass working class movement. We here happen to call it socialism.July 30, 2014 at 7:25 pm #104054rodshawParticipant
ParamjeetYou're not telling us much about what you think of the socialist point of view as set out on this website.Maybe you should take a bit of time out to study what we're saying and then ask questions. Simply making your own lengthy assertions, saying thanks for the comments, then opening another thread and doing the same again doesn't give me any idea how far you've got in understanding the case for real socialism: a classless, moneyless, leaderless, worldwide society based on common ownership of the world's resources.It's got nothing to do with greedy people, or with 'good' or 'bad' people in government. We don't need governments.What do you think about that?
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