The effects of greed on human living

Written by debra rigas
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The effects of greed on human living
Imbalances in the distribution of wealth are one cause of extreme poverty worldwide. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Greed equates to excessive selfishness, a constant yearning for more than you have, typically with no regard for others or thought about the consequences of your choices. Greed is not limited to wealth accumulation. Hoarding, refusing to share, withholding information and not using your gifts for the betterment of society can all be deemed forms of greed. Greed in the arena of wealth often motivates criminal acts. The lack of an authentic spiritual foundation or lack of awareness of society beyond your own aspirations can prevent you from having compassion for others. Greed is a form of sickness because those who suffer from greed seem deprived of morality.

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Individual

Every choice you make has an impact. If you choose to purchase a shirt, you may be helping the economy and all the people involved in manufacturing the shirt. If you purchase every single shirt available at a store, leaving nothing for someone else, your actions are considered greedy. People wonder why you need that many shirts. Or why you don't want someone else to have them. Some would assume you are living from fear of not having enough. That deep fear prevents you from recognising other people exist. Same applies to food, tools, autos, equipment, technology, energy, and so forth. Gross consumption on one end leaves little available on the other. Beyond the economic level, hoarding your possessions or never contributing to society is indicative of a "hole" in your own sense of self; theoretically, you need to keep filling it. Because the hole is only a belief, you may possibly never have enough.

The effects of greed on human living
Taking more than you need without consideration of others is a form of greed. (Sky View/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Family

Within family units, simple examples of greed may occur. At dinner, you heap gross amounts of food onto your plate, but when your sister returns from work, nothing is left. She just has to fend for herself. When families are hurting financially, tensions arise and stress builds. Values evaporate. This can catapult members into dysfunctional behaviours, or even toward crimes of theft and abuse. Perhaps a family is exceedingly well off. It's members all thrive at all levels of society. Some share their wealth. Others hoard. The group may choose to give to charity, or it may continue accumulating just to have more and more. To some families, this is a form of power, class distinction or status. Compassionate families contribute to their communities through monetary gifts, volunteering, and using their talents.

The effects of greed on human living
Being stingy with your time may prevent you from volunteering to help your community. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Institution

Every person and family has the right to basic needs: food, shelter, clothing and education. Some institutions provide grants for schooling, shelters and community assistance at a number of levels. Others, however, care only about their own success. Stingy organisations exist across the globe, some in guises concealing fraud. Courting donors, fabricating records, or representing the institution falsely solely for gain can lead to worse criminal acts. These institutions do not care about the well being of the majority, rather only concern themselves with profit and status. Those in charge of such institutions often have ties to corporations involved in fraud and greed.

Corporate

In the award-winning film "Inside Job," the debacle of Wall Street and America's banking institutions are vividly revealed. A very small group of individuals amass fortunes while millions are paying the price. Corporations focused solely on the bottom line ignore human suffering. The impact on society at large is enormous when corporations steal, lie or participate in fraud. Governments may bail them out, but consumers and taxpayers pay the cost of such greed. Some corporations seem to feel they are above the law. Few, if any, of their members go to jail. People like Bernie Madoff and similar Ponzi schemers cause thousands of people great suffering through scams. The few corporations that participate fairly or that contribute to the betterment of the planet are often overlooked when such serious crimes take precedence. The majority of the hungry world remains ignored.

The effects of greed on human living
Participants in corporate fraud often do not end up in jail. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

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