By Pearson Mbendera.
Harare, Zimbabwe. (News Of The South) – When I watched the 1987 movie, Wall Street starring Michael Douglas playing the role of a financial villain Gordon Gekko, I was thrilled. And when he went on to give a speech in which he was quoted on saying that, “Greed, for lack of a better word is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit” I was hooked.
They were wise words, and they truly shook the world. Maybe the dramatic effect of how Michael Douglas had delivered those words gave them much impact and effect, they certainly because words movie lovers would love to memorise and quote. They had me ponder on whether that statement was true. I agreed with the words at the time, it sounded reasonable. More than that, I wanted to be greedy.
There was a certainly invigorating feeling attached to it. Feeling the need to have everything coursing through my bones, it was powerful, like a drug. Gordon Gekko’s words were more than words, but surely a needle of adrenaline, that kick right to your behind that makes you fearless, hungry and eager to gain. One didn’t need anything more than that.
Surely a lot of success has been built on the backbone of greed. Who really doesn’t want to have good things in life, be it material things, money, fame, or whatever anyone values in life. After hearing those words, it seemed to me that greed was just a way of life, and that to succeed in life, one had to embrace greediness.
Psychology has described some successful business people as psychopaths, comparing them to serial killers, the ruthless killers who killed people for the enjoyment of it. And how could they not be ruthless, when greed seemed to be the driving force to success. In a lot of ways, they made it sound so admirable to be so ruthless, so psychopathic. The movie had rubber stamped it, and whether guided by the movie or not, greed had come to stay.
There is a lot of greed surrounding us. There certainly is a lot of greed going on in Zimbabwe. Greed for power, money, control or influence. We are no exception. We too have fallen prey to the allure of greed, the need to have it all and have it now, most of the times, without even working for it. Having it, so that someone else doesn’t have it.
With the rate of corruption so astronomical, surely one can see the ugliness of greed. Maybe those disadvantaged will agree with m, surely their view will be tainted by how unfair life is to them, making them better able to comprehend how evil greediness can be. The unfairness of it all, the lies and deceit uttered in the name of greed, the abuse of power and authority, all in the name gaining a little more. How can that be considered good?
A book I read on corruption once asserted that corruption at times nurtures development. That by being corrupt, sometimes people speeds up the process of setting up businesses, cutting through the red tape and thus aiding development. In a nutshell, it reinforced Gordon Gekko’s words, that greed captures the evolutionary spirit. It seemed right. It seemed acceptable, but to what end?
What has greed gotten us? Not on an individual level but national? how many people have been incarcerated today because of their greed? How many people gave in to the demands of greed that it took them, even drove them to do something crazy?
It is greed that caused the world’s financial crisis of 2008. It is greed that caused Cuthbert Dube to earn US$500000 a month while the company was in debt. It is greed that has caused the US$15 billion from the minerals in Zimbabwe to just disappear. It is greed that has caused corruption to fester in Zimbabwe, with people taking money from organizations and just keeping those funds in their bank accounts, somewhere hidden, without much productivity. If greed was good, what have we gained from all these greedy endeavours, and how is it that the more greedy we become, the worse off we all get.
Maybe greed has worked well for others. Surely some have been greedy on behalf of their countries. Look at Cecil John Rhodes, who spearheaded the British colonisation of Zimbabwe.
His greed, on behalf of his nation, the nation which he dubbed as the finest flower of civilization worked wonders for his nation. Not so much for us.
Greed, is not good. Not standing on its own, and definitely not for the greater good. Greed is only good on a personal level. Maybe we can be greedy as a nation, greedy for the nation, greedy for the betterment of our people, but would there be a way of taming the beast of greediness once we have let it loose, nurtured it and let it guide us? To what end will it takes us, or will it consume us, and make us turn against each other?
With greed being that bad, why do people still give in to it? It seems as if humans are more complicated species.
Truth is, greed is a monster. Greed is greedy in itself. It will want more and more without ever quenching its own thirst, until there is nothing else left. If only people had the right set of mind, we wouldn’t need to be greedy to succeed. But who cares really, the ends justify the means? But do they really?
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