“Greed is not a crime” according to Prof Jitendra Singh, the ex-dean and Shaw Foundation Chair, Professor of strategy, management and organisation at Nayang Technology University.
His statement was made in the midst of today’s financial turmoil, which many attributed it to greed. He further elaborated, “There is a complex interplay of micro and macro things leading to such human behaviour.”
In the legality construct, if you had taken something and can explain why your taking it had not hurt others, well it is all clear, there is no crime. I am sure, you also know that even if such acts did not hurt others (directly), but somehow we know that greed in our financial world today is surely not right.
To trace the ‘hurting of the masses’ to the individuals who ‘practise’ greed in their business and careers is not very easy. The factors, context and indeed timing etc are extremely complex.
Deep down inside, surely you would agree with me that ‘something is definitely not right’ in the finances. Yet, until someone trace the linkage it is not legally wrong. That is the difference between legality and morality. Legality need proofs, traceabilty and links. But as human beings that is not all, in fact that aspect of life is just a small spectre, not the main works of life as we know it.
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Legality and morality are not necessarily consistent at the surface, but both have impact on our lives and those around us.
In fact if we extrapolate from any straight-line projection of any two points which are close to one another, we could project into the future and draw a conclusion. When we traced back from where we are, it make us awe at the ‘wrong conclusion’ or wrong path we have taken. But it was never ‘seem wrong’ in the first place.
The difference between Communism and Capitalism is that Capitalism believes that it not illegal to horde, but Communism is dead against it, and had made it illegal to horde (except by the central Government). But we all know that both have their respective usefulness in a short term. Once we extrapolate it, somehow the reality becomes complex.
The only way to guard ourselves against such errors is to fall back on some fundamental truths. Check our source, check our path, to validate and evaluate, then take a step forward.
I remembered the golden rule of crossing roads: STOP, LOOK(CHECK), GO
Our consciousness and sense of morality tells us right from wrong; what we should be doing; and what we should not be doing.
Somehow, the almighty God has ingrained into each of us; within our sub-consciousness; what we should be doing and what we should not.
Ephesians 4:19 warns that, “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more”.
In the raw form, greed is a bodily sin. God is not saying that greed is legally right or wrong, but just morally wrong. It is nothing wrong to eat, but ‘excessive eating’ (which is actually eating without checking) leads to sin, and such a sin causes bodily harm.
When God drop down manna from the heavens, it was only good for the day (except for the weekend portion). He was teaching his people not to horde and become greedy. However, we did forget fast, didn’t we?
This sin is taking its toll in many countries. The result is obesity – a primary cause of many ailments, starting with diabetes, stroke, and minor dysfunction of the immune system.
That is a recent survey in America – welcome to the land of the fat.
Two centuries ago, people in this part of the world were concerned with having enough food for their families. In this part of the world, where my Grandparents migrated from China to this part of South East Asia, their primary objective is to escape poverty. Our great grandparents were term economic migrants by these countries. They had to leave home with one luggage because they were just escaping hunger and poverty. It is hardly possible to have square meals every day in their homeland. They came here so that they can have enough food for themselves and their family. Such a thought is deemed ridiculous today. We have forgotten the real need but had translated such into ‘want’.
WANT + WANT + WANT = GREED
Marketing 101 teaches people to create wants first. Then when people accept them it turns into a need. Many years ago, we ‘want’ colour tvs, wireless handphones, air conditioning; but today these are basic requirements. That is what my children ‘need’, my wife need a new pair of shoes, evening dress, new laptops etc.
The same is happening to management of WITS. Unconsciously they have allowed the ‘need for WITS’ to improve productivity at the workplace’ to turn into “wants of glamour and status.”
Do you really need this car, or wouldn't it be nice to have this car? A fine line between greed and need.
Originally the glamour and status of good WITS projects were accompanying achievements, but today, these had become the ends in itself.
As WITS managers, do you really need the Golds (?) when what you really need is the implementation of a good solution to reduce problems affecting your work team.
For Christians, they would be doing things according to Jesus’ examples and not doing them, is sinful. The corollary is also true. Things that God told us not to do but we are doing, is therefore sinful. The reference to Jesus’ examples is a way for them to
“STOP(Wait for Jesus), CHECK (with Jesus), GO (with Jesus)