“Greed is good!” so declared the cine-mythical Gordon Gekko of Wall Street fame. That may well have been the battle cry of the 1980s generation, but it now pales in comparison to the over-the-top greed creed of the new millennium.
Oh, the fall from grace of the masters of the universe from their commanding perch of power after the crisis that penalized the real economy was made worse by the length and breadth of its fallout.
I disagree with the Gekko credo; although, like everyone else, l had the guilty pleasure of watching him do his thing. I believe greed is the excess of everything, good or bad, corrupting the good and exacerbating the bad.
Are you greedy? The truth may hurt, but it heals. Self-denial will only prolong the agony and cause irreversible damage.
Greed pushes you to do the wrong thing by taking a shortcut sparked by a yearning need or want.
Greed spurs you to step on the accelerator with total disregard for risk, forgetting to use the brakes, and causing you to hit a dead end or, worse, go over a cliff.
Greed seduces you with the fleeting exhilaration of flying to the moon—followed by the painful comeuppance of falling back down to earth, hard, with a loud, embarrassing, painful thud.
Passion with temperance is more desirable. Do what you love and what is right with every ounce of your talent, skill, and endurance. Temper it with the knowledge of when to pause or stop. Balance passion with a diversification of activities that cultivate a healthy, well rounded life.
Embarking on your passion with reckless abandon will run you into a serious risk of falling into greed territory.
We are not our worldly possessions. Once we succumb to the thought that we are our wealth, then we become vulnerable if disaster strikes bringing down our painstakingly built creation. Disaster may just cause us to crumble along with whatever we built.
Strength lies in detaching yourself from the wealth you created.
As we emerge from the brink of disaster, badly battered but starting out on the road to recovery with growing confidence, let us be circumspect in learning our lessons well.
A sequel—though seemingly inevitable due to fallibility of human nature and its tendency to fall into temptation—can be consciously avoided if we are resolute in building a greed fuse. This fuse can trigger the interruption of the flow of money when greed is overloaded and a bubble has been formed.
As George Santayana once wrote: Those who can- not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.