Thursday, April 20, 2006

    The Greed Of Hunting For Greed

    Simoncat (United Right) sent me a link last week and asked me for my opinion of what turns out to be a teaser for a book. The author, Julian Edney, was born in Uganda and now (with his PhD) teaches college in Southern California. The book teaser is titled Greed.

    I felt I needed to get a feel of who the author is and what his purpose was in writing his books. He has 2 books at Amazon, and 1 ebook sold there as well - to make some extra money on top of his salary he gets where he teaches I suppose. As far as his political and ideological alignment is concerned, I'll leave that up to the reader to decide. Let's put it this way - his works are prominently posted at the website - check that site out for yourself and you'll see the obvious. Oh, BTW, he hates Capitalism and corporations.

    If you follow the Greed link above you will see the writing is quite long so it's not easy to adequately give my comments but here it goes. Let's take part of his definition:
    Contemporary dictionaries define it as intense acquisitiveness of (usually material) goods or wealth. To dilate: Greed is the acquisition of a desirable good by one person or a group beyond need, resulting in unequal distribution to the point others are deprived.
    His dilation is really just a copy from Wikipedia as well as the definition gives - almost identical. Within his definition lies the weakest point of his argument: "the acquisition of a desirable good by one person or a group beyond need".

    Who is to determine another persons need vs. want? Some group of individuals? A government? Some selected "greed" judges? Some people, as I see Mr. Edney doing, labels people that buy expensive (subjective) items as greed. His narrow view of life is there are those that have more than others and therefore these people are greedy, mean, bad.

    He also quotes statistics about people going hungry in America and makes many references to the sad state of Los Angeles. What he fails to include are millions in Los Angeles are illegal aliens - who I would label as greedy for taking what they have not earned.

    Mr. Edney does point out there are people in need - but again, he doesn't fill in the blanks. Why are they in need? He wishes there were no extremes when it comes to what people have - sort of sounds like socialism to me. Read his article and you'll also see how he tries to link his ideas to some moral principle - in other words, the old liberal guilt trip laid on you if you don't give your hard earned money to those that don't have what you have. I wonder Mr. Edney, after covering your initial outlay to your publisher do you just give all your profit to the pan handlers of Los Angeles, since they don't have as much as you do?

    If we were to look at the statistics of who gives the most to the needy we would see the big corporations do. Mr. Edney is against big corporations (Google his name for his other writings in addition to his books). Yet without the profits from companies and corporations they would not be able to hire so many people - providing them with money that buys food and shelter. It was big corporations and Christian groups that flooded (no pun intended) New Orleans after Katrina. How many people did we hear about from the World Socialists groups helping? None.

    I do believe greed exists. A couple of example definitions are far different from Mr. Edney's:
    • A person wants something they can not afford to pay cash for and whips out a credit card is greed.
    • Officers in a corporation lie to their stockholders (and the SEC) about the financial state of the company to artificially pump the stock price up as was done with Enron during the Clinton administration, that is greed. It's also illegal, as those officers were prosecuted by the Bush administration.
    • A person that has children just to collect more social services while they are unable to take care of the children they have - that is greed.
    • A person like John Kerry that owns multiple gas-guzzling SUV's are using a limited resource of the planet while those without his billions have to pay more because people like Kerry adds needlessly to the demand. That is greed.
    • A union that keeps demanding from a company - until that company is no longer competitive, causing the company to fail - that is greed.
    I believe in freedom - freedom for a person to spend what a person earns, as long as it is legal and does not impact a limited resource on the planet. I give money to those that I feel deserve it - not just because they feel they have some right to it.

    Yes, Mr. Edney talks a nobel talk and blames government for not providing more handouts, and even blames private charity and churches for not providing more than they already do. He makes naïve comments like:
    This nation is filled with churches: the World Almanac lists over 330,000 Christian houses of worship. If each church took in 6 homeless, there would be no more homelessness.
    No Mr. Edney, if that were to happen there would be millions more that would suddenly appear on the "homeless" front - just to get an easy ride. Tell us Mr. Edney, how many strangers have you taken in and are caring for at your house right now?

    You ask Does my wealth cause your poverty? Let's put it this way Mr. Edney, if people with money suddenly stopped buying stuff - especially expensive stuff - there'd be many many millions of people suddenly in your "poor" category. It is business structure - capitalism - in the USA that has over 95% of our people employed, and that number would be higher if we didn't have the illegal aliens taking American jobs. Shall we compare that with countries with much larger social handout programs - along with double-digit unemployment?

    The sad part of his book preview is there are some tiny parts that people should be taught at an early age - but are not. In the section titled "Neuroses" he shows how television marketing feeds the desires in people to buy - usually what they don't really need. Well I worked in marketing a few years and that's the whole purpose of marketing - induce people to buy. But many people have never been taught at an early age what to others is the obvious. If only he didn't mix the reality of life with the delusion of socialism he might have had something educational to provide.

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