"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Monday, 2 September 2013

silly money and social consequences

A friend’s gliding club premises were broken into the other night and well and truly trashed before the vandals made off with some expensive equipment.

Our local allotments are regularly broken into, sheds and green houses damaged and stuff stolen.

One can only assume that the people who do these things feel that in some way society owes them something that they don’t have, cannot get, other than through dishonest means. And they presumably feel angry as well, which is where the trashing comes in.

We hear this weekend that the Welsh football star Gareth Bale is to transfer from Tottenham to Real Madrid for a transfer fee of $130 million and a weekly pay for 6 years of $465,000. That’s very roughly $66,000 per day or $2700 per hour or $46 per minute. We can argue over exact amounts due to conversion rate and rounding differences but at those values who cares? The point is that this sort of money for a single man who happens to be quite good at kicking a ball around a field is obscene in any currency!

There’s a TV ad at the moment that shouts at us from the screen the virtues of taking part in a lottery – we can get lots of stuff, lots of money, we are told. Stuff, stuff, money, money… As if that is all that’s important in life and this will be the route to happiness. But it isn't and it won't be!

The divide between the materially wealthy and the hungry poor in the world is massive and the gap is apparently widening. Around half the world’s population live on less than $2 per person per day, a massive testament to human suffering, and this figure includes something like 1.4 million American households. Statistics such as these are an affront to our humanity when at the same time we have the ‘super rich’, to be found among the celebrities of sport, television and movie, the top bankers, investment fund managers, lawyers and doctors, including a footballer who will earn $46 per minute! It is true that many on the ‘rich-list’ are extremely generous in giving their time, talent and wealth for the global good, using their celebrity status or wealth or both to for social justice worldwide; people such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Bono, the Irish lead singer of U2, best known perhaps for his key involvement with the Make Poverty History campaign.

But silly salaries and lavish life-styles breed an envy and greed, particularly it would seem among the young who are being taught by example that material wealth and celebrity status are the measure of ‘success’. And in the developing world others are attracted to our consumer life style and aspire to similar ‘wealth’. 

Meanwhile the poor of the world continue to struggle for survival and allotments and gliding clubs will still be broken into and trashed.

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