The Biggest Problem of our times
Selfishness and greed to some extend is good as it motivates people to strive for rewards. It is good and normal human nature to want fame and fortune.
Be selfish and greedy, but not to the point of self harm where your selfishness and greed hurts, alienates and inflames everyone around you, and is self-defeating.
The Biggest Problem of our times is selfishness to the point of self-harm
We want rewards we don't deserve, and are prepared to go to great lengths to get these undeserved rewards, even when it causes long term harm. Our greed blinds us.
This trait is demonstrated globally by people at every socio-economic level, as well as corporations and government. We are our own worst enemy. We act without thinking of the consequences.
Selfishness and greed are good to some extent as they motivate people to strive for rewards. It is normal human nature to want fame and fortune. The problem arises when there is no self-restraint and it harms everyone.
Almost all the pressing global problems - corruption, corporate-controlled media, over-population, inequality, climate crisis, environmental destruction, migrant and refugee crisis, inequality, racism, bully worship, breakdown of families and communities, stagflation, un-affordable housing, declining quality of life, rise of populist demagogues, erosion of human rights - can be partially explained by this trait where people, corporations, and government are selfish to the point where it harms their self-interest
Take the example of corruption
as a global problem. People want
corrupt and thieving leaders and politicians. They want
their leaders and politicians to extort from others and give them free stuff as handouts. Every election, or a promotion of a corporate leader or government bureaucrat, or corporate product launch, is accompanied by giving out free stuff. People are greedy, and that is why thieving leaders and politicians still survive. People want something for nothing, to the point where their selfishness and greed cause self-harm. "People that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims... but accomplices
": George Orwell.
Take the example of the poor in third world countries
. They destroy their environment under patronage of the local politicians, elect lying politicians who promise them free stuff, take loans they can't pay, refuse to adapt, and hound away those who help them. This is because they want something for nothing, to the point where their selfishness and greed cause self-harm.
Take the example of Social Media
, where we are happy to lose our privacy for the convenience, the dopamine fix in our lonely lives, the narcissism, and to save a few dollars. We continue to be selfish and greedy for attention and dopamine fix for our narcissism even when all of us know of the self-harm it causes.
Take the example of 'liberal' Left
which is on a mission of Social Justice. They are easily offended by normal speech and normal human behavior. No real discussion of important topics is allowed by them. They abnormalize the normal, politicize everything, and alienate normal people in order to achieve their selfish and self-centered goals.
Take the example of non-profits, NGO's and Social Enterprises
. Most of them are ineffective, and run by feeble, fossilized, underpaid, hypocritical, incompetent, narcissist, amateurish Directors of Charities. Everyone else is a volunteer working for free or on minimum wages. There is a strict top-down hierarchy to go with the control freak and selfish behavior of their Directors and Patrons. All the financial perks and recognition is limited to the very few people at the top. This is justified by saying they need to keep strict control and responsibility over money and actions of their organization. The Founders and Directors achive fame and financial success while the cause they support becomes more hopeless with every passing year. It is an obsolete and outdated model of management with roots in 1950's management practices. The Directors of Charities have destroyed their business model through their greed and selfishness.
Take the example of Bay Area/Silicon Valley and several large cities
where selfishness and greed of property owners and the government have overruled any plans to build a decent public transit system in 25 years. There is a mass exodus of people out as the area became unlivable for people with families. It is only the influx of young naive newcomers that sustains the area in-spite of selfishness and greed to the point of self-harm by property owners and government.
Take the example of Wall St and large corporations
whose selfishness and greed destroys the economy every 10 years by design, and alienates the vast majority of the population. Farmers are forced to adopt profit-maximizing farming practices which are so bad that laws have to enacted to prevent journalists from investigating farming practices and photography of feedlots. Corporations and Government have alienated their citizens by their selfishness and greed. It is their nexus, police protection, and lobbying of politicians that keeps them in existence.
Take the example of Capitalism
which is based on maximizing efficiency and rewarding you for your output. However, incompetent, nepotism, selfish, greed and crony senior executives don't focus on efficiencies and innovation, but just steal fair compensation from the workers who gave capitalism its productivity gains. The result is thorough discrediting of capitalism, and calls for its replacement. It is selfishness and greed to the point of self-harm by the captains of capitalism.
Take the example of elections and politicians
. In every election, lying politicians promise us the moon, and people buy into their promises because they are greedy. Promises of Nationalism and Protectionism are made, along with free tuition, lower corporate taxes, more handouts to farmers and corporations, free healthcare, more subsidies, etc. Why have the people and the electorate not realized after at least 50 years of democracy that politicians lie, and the government only give 17 cents away for every dollar it collects. Yes, the government and politicians will 'take care of it all', but the consequences and the cost to do it will do more harm to you than the problem itself.
You can attribute these traits of selfishness to the point of self-harm to ignorance or stupidity or just human nature. It partially explains almost all the global and local problems we face today.
"Our challenge really is against stupidity"
- Dr. Vandana Shiva.
Avoid 'free' stuff, it isn't free. Beware of entities promising to 'fix it all' and giving you something for nothing. Learn when to stop, say no, and recognize your own greed and selfishness. Practice this in your personal and professional lives.
Be selfish and greedy, but not to the point of self-harm where your selfishness and greed hurts, alienates and inflames everyone around you, and harms your own interests.