Tag Archives: Joseph

Greedebt – a new word!

My recent post about Joseph and his Techno IPod certainly got a few people thinking but my frustration with politicians and leaders continues to grow as fast as the worsening financial crisis in Europe.  An article in the Dominion Post recently had news that Greek politicians wanted to withdraw from the European Union and start printing their own currency.  That’s a bit like Labour’s election promises of more benefit money and National’s claims that they can get grwoth going again.  It all appears to be fairyland stuff to me.

The problem seems to me to be a cycle of greed and debt so I’ve invented a new word to describe this cycle -greedebt.  Coming from the phrase Greek Debt which is going to be an implosion second only to the shock waves that will come out of the collapse of the Italian economy, it describes the economic cycle of  growth fuelled by ramapant consumerism generating unrealistic and unnecessary demand paid for by debt which is in turn fuelled by greed which eventually overwhelms the ability of the economy to sustain the growth – hence greedebt.  I’m sure the economists in this world will be able to tidy up the definition but let me use some examples to explain.

There is an economic mantra that says all will be solved by growth but as long ago as 1990 John Robinson in his book Excess Capital was describing the paradox of poverty and plenty, how the fruits of human progress are destroying modern society and the environment.  “The capitalist system, into which the citizens of the developed markets countries were born, thrives on growth.  Once created, capital must be reinvested into some new profitable enterprise.  Such a system eventually experiences wobbles when the economy becomes sufficiently prosperous.”  I would add to Robinson’s idea the thought that modern society, in all its inventiveness, allowed greed to stoke the fires of growth.  How much can any man need?  I know we all want more but how much do we really need?  So greed, the lust for bigger, better, more helped fuel growth – but at what cost.

As consumerism became the new religion we wanted more but didn’t have the means to pay so the greedy came up with lots of ways for us to have now, pay later.  When my wife and I started on our married life we saved to buy a section, eventually built a modest house (with debt of course) and when we moved in our total possessions amounted to a bed, a dining room table and chairs, a fridge, a washing machine and a car.  Over time we saved and laid a drive, built fences, erected a car port, bought a clothes drier, got more bedroom furniture for the arriving family and then treated ourselves to a telly.  Today when you buy a house the list of things that come with it is extensive.  Its a turn-key package paid for with debt in many cases.

At the national level the same thing happens of course.  In the Greek economy I am lead to believe that no-one pays taxes, everyone gets generous handouts such as superannuation and all this has been paid for by debt.

Hence my new word greedebt – debt fuelled by greed for more.

The worry is what happens when the house of cards that is the world’s financial system begins to fall?  One card at a time, will the house come tumbling down?  What does a post capitalist world look like?  What will it mean for the average person like me?

So many questions I think I might rush out and buy myself an IPod to satisfy my want for gadgets – booked up on my credit card of course.

 

 

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Joseph’s techno i-Pod

Young Joseph was having a hard time.  His many older brothers and sisters were always picking on him and making life miserable.  He wasn’t sure how many family members there were but when they had pizza he was lucky if there were  enough slices in two pizzas for him to get a piece.  Life at school wasn’t much better but he stuck with it and eventually through study and hard work became an accountant.

One of his strong points was economics and over the years he watched as the people around him got increasingly into debt.  More and more material possessions but only possible through mounting debt on credit cards and bank loans.  He was uneasy as this didn’t seem to be the way things were meant to be and he recalled the biblical story of Joseph who had a coat and was a man of dreams.  It seemed to the modern day Joseph that there was a historical precedent to where the world was heading and he worried.

In his job he was given a new fangled thingy to let him stay in touch when he was away from the office.  The boss thought he should keep up to date with the action and this i-pod would let him do that.  Joseph enjoyed being able to surf the net while he was out and about in his job but still he worried that all the news he was reading was just the same – nations spending more than they could afford, getting further and further into debt, and people in those countries becoming more and more poverty stricken and losing control of their destinies.

He decided to post a post on a blog site of the Prime Minsiter.  They wanted feedback and so he would give it to them.  Would they listen?  He didn’t know but Joseph felt he had something to say and he would say it.  Here’s what he posted.

My name sake Joseph predicted seven good years for Egypt followed by seven bad years so he urged the leaders to store the surplus from the seven good years to tide them over in the bad years.  They heeded him and disaster was averted.

It seems to me (said the modern day Joseph) that we have had seven good decades since the end of the second world war.  Nations have propspered and the standard of living has improved for many.  For some nations the good times have been slow coming and for some the greed of the wealthy has kept them in poverty or deprived them of their resources.  In those nations that have prospered people haven’t been storing the surplus to help in the future, instead they have been gorging themselves, becoming fat and idle, ignoring the pain and anguish and desperation of many so that the few can live in luxury and excess.

The seven good decades are ending and I am predicting that we face seven decades of famine – famine not only in terms of food but also in resources and in spiritual well-being of the people of the world.  Starvation for many and a life of misery when dust is all that children and mothers and fathers have to eat.  Water taken from their lands by the greedy nations will leave them dying in the sun.  The people of the so called developed nations will reap what they have sown.

By ignoring the plight of the poor and needy in their communities they will face an increasing tide of people wanting to breakdown their doors to plunder their mansions built from greed and immorality.  The police, increasingly expected to keep the haves safe from the have-nots, will be overrun by the sheer scale of the breakdown of law and order.  Governments will find themselves isolated and overrun by the people wanting a share, anything at all to keep them and their families alive.  Governments will scratch their heads and wonder why is this happening, blind to their indifference about what sort of society they have created.

Joseph hit the send button and it wasn’t long before his boss was on the phone.  “What have you done Joseph?  What is this blasphemy you are preaching?  Don’t you know the best interests of our company and therefore your position depend on the benevolence of the nation’s leaders?  And here you are, predicting doom and gloom?  That’s not what they are all about, they are there for the fat cats, the greedies, the well-off and we get our cut from their good fortune.  I’m sorry you are banished, exiled, outcast.  Oh, and I want that i-pad thingy back please.”

With that, Joseph was without a job, cast on the heap of the unemployed.  And what was worse his link with the internet was gone too.

Of course that’s not the end of Joseph’s story so, just like his Biblical namesake, Joseph will be back with further installments in his story.  Meanwhile, do you think he was right?  Was his boss right to sack him?  Should those in leadership positions be heeding his warnings?  Are we really in for seven decades of “famine”?