Greed Or Contentment: We MUST Make A Choice!

It's A Choice We All MUST Make...

 

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION:

Money is not evil! The love of money is... OK... Now the air is clear.

THE CRUX OF THE ISSUE:

I don't wish to sound harsh, but I feel greed is a part of our DNA; rearing its ugly mug with many profiles.

People are greedy for acceptance, greedy for love, greedy for status... The list ensues...

According to the free dictionary, greed is an excessive want to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth.

And then there's...

Contentment: The state of being content; satisfied.

Greed is the opposite of contentment, which is why (in my humble opinion) America is stalled at the intersection of ‘fall' street and ‘recession' avenue.

I don't think many would argue our great nation is witnessing her most catastrophic financial crisis since the great depression.

Although the onus of blame is being placed on 'fall' street investment bankers and their willing participants in shame, the back-burner kettle behind this mess is us: Me, you, and everyone else with an investment stake in corporate america.

This milieu of greed has its roots (some, not all) with our 401k plans, stock portfolios, and other corporate investments. All of which are geared toward our long-term successes and happy retirements.

This is where a lot of it started.

In our desire for the golden, golden years, (all the while maintaining our happy-go-lucky lifestyles), millions of Americans bought into the easy money being 'manufactured' in the housing bubble and the seemingly, can't-miss mortgage-backed securities.

I know. I made a living in the housing business during the inflation, the rising, and the bursting of the bubble. And let me tell you, IT IS AS UGLY as you hear.

In the middle of it, you're blinded by the work. Complacency becomes your mis-guided friend and you become vulnernable... sad, but true.

The last time I checked, greed, doubling as the blind-eye hypnotist, had us mesmerized.

Many years from now, I HOPE, we can look back upon this tumultuous piece of history as a foothold to greater personal, corporate, and governmental fiscal responsibility.

Wise men and women, along with their communities, learn from their mistakes.

I HOPE we can learn from ours.

Money, Money, Money.... Money

The ROOT of All Evil? It's Up To US!
The ROOT of All Evil? It's Up To US!

Let's Breathe The Air Of Fiscal Responsibility.

All that being said; and regardless of what the pundits spout, GREED is the SEED that has grown into this mature tree of financial recklessness.

With a sad heart, I feel we had this coming.

Financial greed has been epitomized and gaudily exposed in this great country of ours.

It has weakened our ability to compete. It has downgraded our standing in the world economy. But worst of all, it has made our great nation vulnerable like never before: Both financially and militarily.

We've been complacent!

A wise proverb once said: ‘Drink from the well of ease too often and the drink will spoil'

How true is that?

How often have we (America) as a culture lived the life of ease with no recompense for tomorrow?... Unfortunately, too long.

Most of our parents didn't live this way and did just fine. A calm sense of contentment reigned. I know it sounds cliche, but life, not that long ago, was a lot simpler.

And I'm not talking about 40 or 50 years ago. It was the 1970s and early 1980s. Although I was just a kid and a young teenager, I never felt the pressures of wanting to have so much stuff like I see today.

True, there's more stuff to have and many more ways to spend money. But living within our means was by no means a crime or a reason for ridicule. It was common sense.

And yes, common sense along with a few cents WILL get you a cup of coffee...

People, something has gone gravely wrong in America.

We've become the victim of our own wantonness for stuff and our desire for instant gratification. It's become a party drug for us... And like all other unnnecessary, social mind-killers, it's beginning to erode away the fabric of this country.

I feel we can end it. We can end it with a trip back to fiscal responsibility and by adopting a mindset of not being "ashamed" of not having as much "stuff" as Billy and Betty down the street.

This mentality will be difficult to ingest for many people, but if we fail to eat... we might fail to eat.

Yes, the underlying problem we face is greed. But greed begins with a lifestyle ensconced with entitlement. Correct me if I'm wrong. Please?

How else can we explain statistics reflecting the average American citizen's savings rate at a negative 20%. That's crazy folks. For every dollar we earn, we spend a buck twenty. Insane. (Keep in mind this is an average and not everyone is sitting in the same boat)

As long as there are imperfect people wandering around a perfect (in design) world, we're going to have problems.

How did secretary Paulson call it recently, America has been humbled and embarrassed.

Gee, what a profound insight.

In my book, America hasn't been humbled. We've been humiliated, scorned, bruised, battered, kicked on our rears, and embarrassed.

And what's worse? There could be more to come. I HOPE not, but it's possible.

There's a good chance many of the other, ready-to-implode mortgages will kick up their heels and spoil our current, soon-to-be-bucketed-out, economy.

If all the Alt-As and 125 mortgages decide to join the default ball, gosh darn it'll be a grand ole' time.

I HOPE NOT. But if so, hitch the wagons honey, we're moving on up... or I mean, out.

The World Seems To Be Content... Why Can't We?
The World Seems To Be Content... Why Can't We?

A Final Call...

There's no doubt our nation has been wounded... we've been there before... we've always fought back.

My prayers are for the well-being of this country and for the non-political ability of our new administration to make wise, and well-stewarded, decisions for this land.

Time is truly of the essence. We have to stop the greed, the corruption, and bring back meaningful living to our families.

A bankrupt and weakened US is not only a threat to the us, but the world as well.

I don't know about you, but I want my children to grow up in a country where they won't have to be burdened with the mess we shoveled them.

Common sense goes a long way in my book and common sense tells me we cannot continue to purchase beyond our means, borrow from our next two generations to pay for our greed and sense of non-contentment today, and in general, practice the financial irresponsibility we have now.

It won't work people. It never has...It never will.

I'm a firm believer all we have is not ours anyway. God has STEWARDED all to us. And there will be a day when we have to hold court and account for what was provided to us.

Live within your means. Save 10% of what you earn. Give away 10% of what you earn.

We're on our way... The game is not over... We can still win... It will take time... And it might hurt a little. But as my coaches used to tell me: NO PAIN, NO GAIN.

Pain on the road to fiscal responsibility is real and not an option.

Greed vs. Contentment: We need to choose... or the world will choose for us.

I feel this is the only way.

Please pray for this country and our next administration... We, and they need it.

"Honey seems tasteless to a person who is full, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry." Proverbs 27:7 NLT

Blessings,

RJ

 

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Comments 19 comments

hootnhowell profile image

hootnhowell 7 years ago from Peoria Heights, Illinois

Prayer is always a good option. In the lean or fat years. I suggest we are a country of excess. Why not do as a country what we as citizens do when we have too much stuff, & not enough money. We should have a national garage sale! We could sell the statue of liberty since we as Americans now spurn immigrants. We could sell 1 of the Dakotas as we have 2 and scantly use either. We could try to sell the liberty bell. After all it has a crack and seems pointless now that most Americans have erroded liberty and very little personal freedom. We could easily sell the London bridge. Why do we have the London bridge? Nobody knows! We could sell Congress they no longer serve the American people. So what is their purpose? I believe since the Senate has made it irresistible for American business to move to Mexico. We should outsource them to Mexico. I'm sure we could get Mexicans as well qualified as these bozos for a fraction of the price! We should require all American manufacturers who moved their jobs to Mexico to save a labor buck. To move corporate headquarters there and insist the CEO lives there. Then we could tax his money more when he decides he would rather be here making America great. We here in Illinois could sell the Govenors mansion in Springfield since our Govenor Rod Blajoivich won't live in it. I could go on & on. Like selling California to Austria since the best candidate they could come up with for a Govenor is an Austrian born weight lifter. We could sell back the mandated metric system. The only people who know how to use it are drug dealers & bottled water companies. Let me just finish by saying good hub! Really got me going I could not agree more!


Wbisbill profile image

Wbisbill 7 years ago from Tennessee USA

I like the way to bring light to this problem.

I believe this Scripture is not a commentary on those who have wealth, but those (rich or poor) who desire it with a passion. This love of money sets in motion a path(s) of temptation of which many have fallen from the faith.

We choose where we set our hearts; will it be on God, or will it be avarice?

Thumbs up!


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 7 years ago from Midwest USA Author

Hoot: I love your wit. It always puts a sparkle in my day. Sell one of the Dakotas... funny!

Thanks for your generous, and lively comment!

Wbisbill: Nice to hear from an old friend. Your comments are always wise and winsome. Thank you brother...

This Hub (after being absent from here for a few weeks) is a vent of sorts and a plea to live as we were meant to live.

"Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich, When the glory of his house is increased; For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not descend after him." Psalm 49: 16-17 (NASB)

"Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, is like the beasts that perish." Psa. 49:20 (NASB)


Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 7 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

Excellent hub, excellent ideas & comments.

We have been greedy and now we're having to pay for it.

Land has long been considered a good investment, but people often forget the basic rules to buy low and sell high.

real estate taxes have ruined the ability of people to live simply, because even if you own your home, it can be taken away if you fail to pay the taxes on the land!  So how can anyone be totally self-sufficient these days?

One of my ggg-grandfather's brothers became a millionaire by running a farm back in the 1870's.  He took excellent care of his parents, children and grandchildren, leaving them with actual wealth, not just paper money wealth.


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Good hub, Rob. Do you think we'll ever learn balance?


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Good one Rob. Folk have to learn not to overconsume. But it's an uphill struggle, against the forces of advertising, peer pressure and irresponsible 'role models'


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 7 years ago from Midwest USA Author

Thank you all for stopping by! I appreciate your kind words of encouragement and it's nice to know I'm not alone with this notion of living within our means.

It simply has to happen. With all this mess around me, and everyone else, how grateful I feel to have a limited exposure on the debt side of our household.

Sure it's tempting to want to 'keep up' but when those bills come... whew!

Making money is not bad. In fact, I feel God has gifted many people with the ability to earn much. But when greed gets in the way, that's where the problem arises.

Paul Newman (God rest his soul) was a man who understood stewardship. He made millions and gave away millions, over $200M and possibly more.

To those who much has been given, much is required.

There is enough money circulating our world economy to satisfy every soul. But not all of it is in the right hands.

Thanks again for your comments. I appreciate each one.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut

Hi Rob, I agree - we brought this on ourselves. I don't think we live as well because we don't know how to be content...and still...we are always rushing off to get more. I hope we learn this difficult lesson. :)


Andrew Webber profile image

Andrew Webber 7 years ago

Hi Rob, It's not like somebody came and stole all the money now is it?

I think this problem has a lot to do with the banks overloading the system. People tend to be over optimistic with credit when spending, but payback's a bitch.

The best thing I can think of for people to do is put out as much value as possible into the world, in whatever way they can. Half of the problem is that a lot of the money isn't backed by something of value.

To make money you have to get it from someone, and if you're not backing it up with service or a product that has value, you're draining the economy. Now what large organization do you know of that does that?

Try over delivering and see where that gets you.


PenmanZee profile image

PenmanZee 7 years ago

Don't know how I missed this hub earlier Rob. Excellent provocative writing. I like the passion with which you write and sense the deep concern you have for the direction the nation is taking. You are right all of us are responsible for where the nation is because our contribution to the "I want it and I want it now" mentality.

You also quote Sec. Paulson stating America has been humbled and I'm reminded how often I hear "America is the greatest nation in the world." As a resident of this country I don't dispute the statement at all. America is the greatest nation in the world but with greatness comes responsibility both to ourselves and the rest of the world. This present crisis should surely be a lesson that we can't have our cake and eat it. Seems we already bit off a huge chunk of it.


Eddie Perkins 7 years ago

Greed came with the package of flesh that I had when I arrived on this planet. 

I refer to it as the sin nature and I believe the Bible supports that belief.

Contentment is something “learned by submission”.  “having food and clothing let us be content with that”. 1 Tim 6:8 “…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”. Phil 4:11

I agree with you. I hear so many folks arguing politics.  I hear so many criticizing our leaders and I’m not saying that it is without reason, but….  The Bible tells us to pray for our leaders. I hear few calling for prayer.

Thank you for the call to pray. I needed that. Thumbs up ~ eddie


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 7 years ago from Midwest USA Author

Amy, Andrew, Penman and Eddie, I appreciate your comments. Thanks for spending a small amount of your day reading my discourse.

Although the waters have calmed a bit, this storm is far from over. The latest statistic I read was around $1T lost in wealth among 401ks and other stock investments.

Around these parts that's a bunch of nickel (with a bushel of corn to boot).

I feel when the history books are inked on this chapter in American lore, we as a country will have learned a few things...

I remain optimistic. But we still need to squelch the greed. It will lead us nowhere.

Thanks again!


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

We have been bruised,scorned and embarassed and money to me is the root of evil, we all enjoy and spend it. But we should spend it wisely. :) Great Article!!! All that is happening is in Revelation :)


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

Amen!!! So very true. We have to have the best and the next thing on the market. We have allowed ourselves to be pulled into the idea that we would always have enough and get more and more. Nothing is gauranteed. We've got learn to live with we have and not sacrifice that for what we don't have.


John Juneau profile image

John Juneau 7 years ago from Sierra Nevadas

Generally, in the USA, we have been so spoiled for so long, that we simply expect to always be gaining more (even if we don't work for it), we expect instant solutions to any problem that comes along, we expect good things to be handed to us and life to be easy.  We have not, as a nation, had to face any real sacrifice since the days of WW II.  Each family faces various challenges, but still, overall, most things just go along well.

We build bigger, fancier houses, and think that is just normal.  Few people today would choose to live in a house that seemed quite adequate to our grandparents.  We buy fancier cars with standard features that were extrem luxuries (or didn't even exist) 40 years ago.  We have fancy "entertainment centers" and eat out frequently, etc.  And most of this we do using borrowed money; often without considering carefully if we can really afford to pay it back.  And the federal and many state governments do the same things.  They spend exorbitant sums on totally unnecessary things.  I don't see much inclination to slow down.  It will be interesting to see where this leads, but it won't be pleasant.


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 7 years ago from Midwest USA Author

A big thank you for the continued comments. -- It seems that with every new day, the news is worse to worser. I don't know. I don't have the final blueprint in front of me.

To my gracious readers: AEvans, RGraf, and John Juneau, I thank you for contributing to this conversation in such wise ways!


one2get2no profile image

one2get2no 5 years ago from Olney

Great hub...well written and witty....Thanks for sharing.


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 4 years ago from Midwest USA Author

Thanks one2get2no,

Many of these simple realities are the partial cause of many current issues when it comes to money and debt. Thanks for reading.

RJ


Mike 4 years ago

Well I could just agree with you as many points I do or I could pick out all the areas your also wrong but I won't except one area an that is the statement that if we all live within our means it will somehow magically make it all better. It is easy to say stop buying what you don't need unless you are someone who makes the money the buy what they need buy selling someone thing people don't need. Which is most of us How many people work for a company that provides Just what people Need and not what they want?

Unless people buy no one else can Sell and if you can't sell your goods (or services) you can even buy even if you decide to just spend on what you need. If every one only bought what they need then only those who produce necessities would have any money to spend or they have to convince people that the need what they are selling.

It is not that simple to say it is Greed alone that leads to this What is needed is social planing I know americans HATE social Planning that sounds too much like Socialism and that means taking away personal liberty and that SUCKS but when the free market turns on them and individualism and personal greed is turned against them oh all of a sudden something must be done about this greed. As long as it does not mean taking away anything I have that is.

It is not possible to have both individual freedom to keep what ever you can earn and or take out of the resources and also have equal distribution of those resources. So you always have to have some social planing how much does that CEO owe to his employees? how much to the investors ? How much is too much and also how much contribution to society is required to get a stake of that society?

We set values on one persons contribution over another's NBA basketball stars make millions while the guy that just made your lunch at the fast food joint makes Minimum wage. Now Let me ask you which would you do without lunch for a year or watching the NBA for a year? In that contacts the guy that made your lunch is more important then a star NBA player both are just a employee that provides you a service one entertainment the other food yet the guy providing something that in no way can be justified as a NEED makes way more.

THere is some food for thought

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