Greed is God

That is called headline by typo. I had meant to type “Greed is Good” but missed a key. This one is even better.

Andrew Lim asked an interesting question the other day, and provided a reasonable answer, too.

  • Q: Why do Americans “pursue” happiness and never seem to get it? On the other hand, Pinoys are clueless or inept on how to get things done to improve their lot, yet revels in what little joy they can find in their lives.
  • A: The trick is to get it somewhere between those two, I think. Strive to find meaning in the struggle to improve our lives, and find happiness in that.

I see frequent criticisms of greed. It is used to slander America’s wealth and to paint the rich who control Philippine corporate empires as scoundrels. It is a criticism levied by those with little or modest amounts of wealth against those with great amounts of wealth. Or it is levied by Filipinos in the homeland against those who aspire to better themselves, by peers left behind.

greed02

And it pops up in America as the famous consumer drive to “keep up with the Joneses”, the Joneses being the neighbor who went out and bought a new Lexus, leaving us in shame for hobbling about in a six year old rusty Isuzu.

But greed, which is essentially the effort we put out to bridge the gap between the wealth we want and what we have now, is the great driver of capitalism and the good life for so many. It is what inspires all those entrepreneurs, inventors, problem-solvers, and achievers. It gives us computers and air conditioned homes and nice cars and vacation trips to Palawan. It impels workers to climb the promotional ladders over other workers.

Greed is a motivation that can be good or bad. It can be factually bad (consuming all the world’s trees) or presumptuously bad (thrusting us into depression about our poor standing in life). It can be factually good (buying us good health care) or presumptuously good (our dreams get us out of bed in the morning).

One can tie one’s happiness either to the PROCESS of greed, or the END POINT, the wealth we desire. There is a danger in attaching it to the end point, for if we can’t reach it, we are likely to become discouraged, depressed, or even suicidal. Or if we fail to achieve it we may opt for criminal ways to succeed. But attaching happiness to the PROCESS of greed means we can find satisfaction in each little step we take. A day done, a project completed, an award won, a promotion earned.

I think way too many Filipinos have neither an END POINT nor a PROCESS. It is a hard reality shaped by hard experience. For many, there is no place to go and no way to change that.

Once one has given up on greed, it is easier to find the joy of having a simple day.

And I think way too many Americans focus on the END POINT. It drives everything from the partisan political bickering (winning elections) to white collar crime (money) to lying and cheating (to save face or show off). Yes, Americans do that, too.

Americans are intense, driven. Born and nurtured to innovate and produce. They do that by abiding by two of life’s principles that are pretty good: freedom and respect for the laws, where laws define ways the community can best be free. But make no mistake, greed in America, in both its good and bad shadings, is everything.

In the Philippines, greed is nothing. Power is everything, and envy is its negative silhouette.

Greedless Filipinos largely bounce about from one reaction to another, just going with the flow. They do that because others may have some power buttons and aren’t afraid to use them. It is an authoritarian society, where authoritarianism exists in just about ever personal interaction.

Animals that travel in groups identify a social hierarchy and so do people. Filipinos do it more effortlessly than most, and more minutely. I am a power person when I drive my shiny black Honda through town or shuffle my white face up to the LTO registration window. That readout from Filipinos is clear. They concede without a word. But I am a powerless person when reaching an intersection about to be occupied by a big 10 cubic dump truck or lined up at the ATM behind someone else who is already there. The truck has power because it is big, and knows it, and the ATM user has power because she is already there, and she’ll take as damn well long as she pleases, thank you.

greed03

To westerners, the Philippines is a rude place. To Filipinos, it is simply the way it is done; it is the way people read situations: finely and perceptively and generally correctly. When they read it incorrectly, someone is likely to get shot.

Power.

Americans find that their greed-driven processes are actually courteous processes. The processes DEMAND consideration of all, and consideration of customers, because to be thoughtless is to throw wrenches into the engine that generates the wealth that satisfies the greed.

That to me is the sum and the substance, the all and everything, of weak Philippine productive standards. Way too many Filipinos lack greed.

Now I know, many of you are saying:

  • Joe, yer nuts. Look at all the oligarch billionaires we have profiteering off the laborers of the land. And all the show-offs touting about in jewels and manicures and fine cars. And look at all the people rushing to buy condos, whether they can afford them or not.”

And not one to run from an argument, I’d respond. “Yes, there is a small group of people who are learning to be greedy, and benefiting from it. Too many people, however, have not yet caught on.”

  • A person driven by greed would not sit back and snipe at someone else who is getting ahead. He would take steps to get ahead himself.
  • A person who is greedy would not accept the nephew of the boss’s brother-in-law being appointed to the job he aspires toward. He would demand the job himself and sue the boss for discrimination if he did not get it. Or he would collect with other greedy people to get fair employment laws passed.
  • A greedy person would not stand for a department store being slow in providing service, because time is money and he is wasting big money waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

You see, synonyms for greedy in a capitalist society – capitalism being a socio-economic platform that is very, very good at generating wealth – are:

  • ambitious
  • motivated
  • goal-oriented

These greedy behaviors lead to other behaviors, some of which are roundly criticized by those lacking similar greed motives:

  • Impatience
  • Efficiency
  • Arrogance (not wanting time wasted; pushing, pushing, pushing)
  • Confidence

The Philippines has engineered greed out of its capitalistic institutions, thereby undermining the ability to generate wealth. It has done this with autocratic, power-based thinking, and with poor lawmaking. Lawmaking that does not get the IDEALS of capitalism inserted into the Philippine economic fabric.

Power and favor are tools of INEFFICIENCY, not tools of efficiency.

Greed is an amazing capitalistic dynamic that ensures wealth will be created.

When wealth is created, we are not all running around trying to bludgeon a living out of the pittance of an economic pool that is available to us. We are making our lives better, and we are making the pool bigger.

The Philippines should think about ways to engineer greed into its economy.

Greed is good.

Comments
33 Responses to “Greed is God”
  1. ella says:

    Wow! a very good article. I hope more Filipinos will read this and push them towards more. I see a lot of OFWs who had been OFWs for the last 15 to 20 years and the only things are notice with them are better houses above their heads, better clothes, cars but sad to say some of their kids think that Mommy or Daddy OFW will always be bringing the dollars,

    1. they do not have the ambition or the greed to keep the money and do the best they can in their studies.

    2, they do not have the greed to keep the money and use it to make more money … but they use it to show off in whatever form like vices or parties, etc and before they know it the money is gone and they are waiting for the remittance of the OFW.

    3. they do not have the sense to prioritize where the money sent by the OFW should go … like paying their monthly bills and setting aside something for basic needs such us food on the table instead of beer for their friends, unfortunate these so called friends are only friends when they have money.

    So in the end when the OFW can no longer be an OFW they will be waiting for the remittance of the next OFW of the family … if they have somebody next.

    You are right greed is good!

  2. andrew lim says:

    Thanks for picking up on my comment. To expand on that, Viktor Frankl’s thoughts: happiness cannot be pursued, happiness ensues from a search for meaning. The pursuit of happiness often results in overindulgence – in food, drink, sex, material things, self worship, etc. which leads to nowhere.

    (you may want to do an essay on this: Robbie Antonio, a scion of a local real estate tycoon is building a “museum of me” , commissioning world -renowned artists like Hirst, etc to do 30+ portraits of him. ) Link: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2013/07/robbie-antonio-museum-of-me_slideshow_item0_1

    But your essay is right, extreme positions are taken in defining what is good or bad; shunning greed results in a lack of ambition and desire to improve one’s self here. At the other end, when one gets greedy, he does it at the expense of the law and country.

    I think religious instruction here has a hand in this; too often “money is the root of all evil” instead of “love of money is the root of all evil.” The simplistic mind takes over too often.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the link. I think that is vanity in action more than greed. Antonio is a young eccentric with more money than compassion and more ego than kindness. Not my kind of fellow. Bill Gates seems somehow a lot healthier, mentally.

      That is true, what you say, that too often greed here turns into a manipulative, law-breaking lifestyle. I suppose that is the result of money mixed with power and self-justification without much compassion for the greater community. Not a good recipe, for sure.

  3. This my take on Filipinos’ attitude towards wealth:

    I think Filipinos love money, but most Filipinos have a middle class to upper-middle threshold. Most Filipinos want financial security to the point of being able to raise a family and afford some “wants” such as consumer gadgets, cars, vacations in the Philippines or nearby countries; THAT’S THE ENDPOINT. And they don’t like debts unlike those in West (US, Spain, Greece, etc) who went beyond their credit line.

    “A person who is greedy would not accept the nephew of the boss’s brother-in-law being appointed to the job he aspires toward.”
    If that greedy person is in the same position, he will do the same thing. Filipinos hire people they know they can trust. It doesn’t mean that they would hire a lawyer to do the job of an economist.

    “time is money and he is wasting big money waiting. Waiting. Waiting.” i think this saying realistically applies in certain professions like stockbroking and fund managing–correct me if i’m wrong. MY POINT is Filipinos know when to work and when to waste time. However, I have to admit that Filipinos love cramming and last-minute activity, but their justification is that they get the job done anyway.

    ONE BIG THING: You didn’t mention the lack of interest of Filipinos in business or investing. You might say lack of greed as the primary reason but I have my own as well:

    1. Red tape, corrupt bureaucracy and need for rent-seeking discourage many aspiring Filipino businessmen

    2. It’s hard to start from scratch in the Philippines if you are the typical employee unless your parents are rich, or you will work abroad and return here. For most typical employee, their lifetime income is barely enough to support and educate children, and enjoy some “wants.” “I’d rather invest in a home or car loan than a business loan.”

    3. Lack of awareness and interest especially when it comes to stock and other economic matters; Filipinos see them as boring w/c is unfortunate. Another obstacles are the spend-now culture and lack of long-term and saving orientation. “Bahala na ang Diyos.” (“Leave everything to God.”)

    4. Professional mentality. This is another concept I suggest you explore. FIlipinos, especially the smart ones, see earning a degree and passing a licensure exam as much more dignified than starting and succeeding in a business. There’s a reason why they say Filipinos value education very much, even though not as obsessive as S. Koreans and the Chinese.

    I understand the moral of your piece, but when one lectures the FIlipinos, they make sure they use the right words without negative connotations. Greed, ka-swapangan in Tagalog, is not a negative word in this country.

    Good Day!

    • erratum: Greed, ka-swapangan in Tagalog, is a negative word in this country.

    • Joe America says:

      And a good day to you, too, Angelo. I find your commentary fascinating, and I think you have a much richer understanding of the motives and goals of Filipinos than I do. Professional over business career is typically Asian, I think. Business people are generally scorned the way we Americans scorn shoe and insurance salesmen. Untrustworthy.

      The point I was trying to drive at was your point 2, that it is hard to start from scratch in the Philippines, and my concluding line, that the Philippines should engineer greed into the economy. People need to think about it. Why the Philippines has such bright and educated people who do not aspire to build a career. Well, they can’t get on any career track because there is no track and no entry point. So maybe laws ought to be written to give young people a better shot at opportunity so that they don’t have to go to the US, often taking a career step backward to do so, to find a job with opportunity in it; opportunity for a decent wage, salary increases and promotions.

      I’m betting that opportunity lights a fire under ambition.

      And I have another blog on education rattling around in my head. Rather than teaching memorization, it would be better to teach problem-solving. So I think I’ll do a course outline for a problem-solving class, high school level.

      When minds learn to explore and opportunity exists, think of the ways that lives can be improved. And wealth generated.

      Thanks for your thoughtful remarks.

  4. JosephIvo says:

    Not all those entrepreneurs, inventors, problem-solvers, and achievers are inspired by greed. Curiosity exists, nerds exist, altruism and looking for a cure exist, ego’s trying to be the best in a field exist. Wealth is very often the result, seldom the driver. Does greed really impels workers to climb the promotional ladders over other workers? Or is it ego and hunger for power? In an experiment 85% of the people choose a nicer job title over a salary increase!

    People have properties too much, too little or just at the exact amount to prosper and be happy. Isn’t greed too much desire and too much ako, ako,ako? For a balanced life you need for each property a little bit of the opposite too, for desire it could be a little moderation and generosity.

    People are not stupid, if they now it is impossible they will not try. As there is no middle class in the Philippines, the distance with the next class is so huge that nobody tries to advance. In Africa the people around me knew that I could achieve more, not so much because of strength, better health or money but because I had stronger amulets. Amulets are personal, prepared by powerful sorcerers, the whites have secrets they will never share. In the Philippines I feel a similar fatalism. The pope and decision makers in the church are white, Christ was white, the Spaniards and Americans were white, the dynasties are white or can afford daily bathing in papaya soap. Superstition holds back. OFW found a magic solution to easy money (few here can imagine the sacrifice), they are Gods answer to our prayers.

    If you look for happiness, travel light, the Dalai Lama is teaching us. I came to the Philippines because it’s easier to travel light when you do not have to stock up for the winter. It is easier when the people around you are less greedy. It’s easier when you know that you produce a lesser CO2 footprint. Let’s listen to Edgar and find a middle way that keeps enough of the Filipino easy going.

    (A Libra always looks for a balanced position… or is this superstition holding me back?)

    • Joe America says:

      @ josephivo, superstition warrants a deep look, too. If we set that aside, I agree with your balanced position. Water finds it’s level, and people, too, within the confines of their economic tub. You are so right, the lack of a middle class limits opportunity, and I think maybe we are seeing a bit of a break-out in that regard. My wife commented the other day, “you know, there are a LOT of new cars in town.” And I believe that to be true. The growth and wealth attached to it is pushing out from Manila is ways that we can’t really measure. And that is good.

      As I commented to angelo above, I suppose I am writing to our new lawmakers, fresh and with fresh ideas. Maybe directly to Grace Poe, who knows. And the point is that the economy and its work environment does not have to just sit there, it can be managed and structured and filled with the kinds of opportunities that allow people to express themselves by being productive. Government offices and companies with more than 50 employees could be MANDATED to hire and promote strictly on the basis of competence. Get rid of the nepotistic tendencies that cause dynasties to thrive. We all agree that dynasties are like dogs too much inbred. Hyperactive and twitchy and often misbehaving.

  5. edgar lores says:

    This is a complicated issue. Here is my take.

    1. If we start with Andrew’s question, my answer would be ‘grasping’.

    2. If we refer to the dictionary (Merriam-Webster in this case), greed is defined as “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed”.

    2.1. There are three components: (a) excessive desire; (b) something; and (c) more than is needed.

    3. If we take the first component, Greed is excessive desire.
    3.1. Desire in itself is neither good nor bad. It is the human condition, although religions would want to control it if not suppress some of it.

    4. The End Point is the second component; it is that ‘something’ or the object of desire. That object can be anything, usually the basics of food, shelter and clothing or the means to acquire these — mainly money and power.
    4.1. Beyond the basic End Points and their means, man also has middle-range desires in a mate, a family and companionship. Beyond these, he also hungers for recognition, order, beauty and even truth.

    5. Of themselves, there is nothing wrong with the first two components.

    5.1. The pursuit of happiness is not greed. It is a natural desire. The want for personal satisfaction and a better life is universal.

    5.2. Both Americans and Filipinos are possessed of Desire. For Americans, the face of Desire is Money, because with money one can buy happiness. For Filipinos, the face of Desire is Power, because with Power one can gain money, fame and minions, all of which will bring happiness. 🙂

    5.3. What is unskilful about the pursuit is not the pursuit itself (Process) nor the goal (End Point) but the distortion of desire and goals.

    6. Greed sees the End Point as the end-all and be-all of existence. In this it may use methods (means) that are unskilful.

    6.1. Methods are unskilful if, in the pursuit, we mis-use or ab-use Self and Others. Mis-use is improper use. Ab-use is repetitive improper use. Others may be people, animals, plants, minerals or resources of any kind. It may even be the mind or thought itself.

    7. The End Point is also subject to unskilful interpretation.

    7.1. Firstly in the absence of a clear definition of goals.
    7.2. Secondly in the lack of recognition that the goal may have been reached.
    7.3. Thirdly in the repeated and excessive attempts to move the goal posts.

    8. For want of a better word to describe the difference between Americans and Filipinos, I would use ‘aspiration’ instead of ‘greed’. One definition of aspiration is: “a strong desire to achieve something high or great”.

    8.1. Note that the difference between ‘greed’ and ‘aspiration’ is in the quantum of desire. The first is ‘excessive’ while the second is ‘strong’.

    8.2. Arguably, JoeAm’s use of ‘greed’ is acceptable because it highlights differences, whereas ‘aspiration’ is nuanced.

    9. Americans have ‘high’ aspirations whereas Filipinos have ‘low’ aspirations. The difference is in the intensity, direction and duration.

    9.1. In terms of intensity, Americans have strong aspirations whereas Filipinos have weak aspirations. Americans try to arrive at the best long-term solutions and are always fine-tuning and maintaining the solution. Filipinos are satisfied with patch-work short-term solutions and are not interested in maintaining or improving the solution. American examples: the mansion, the car, the computer and the mobile phone. Filipino examples: the squatter hut, the jeepney, flood drainage pipes that are not periodically cleared.

    9.2. In terms of direction, Americans have inclusive aspirations whereas Filipinos have exclusive ones. The American focus is beyond the Filipino focus on Self and Family and includes Community, Nation and World. American examples: the vision of the Founding Fathers, the Marshall Plan. Filipino examples: political dynasties, the myopia of the Constitution and Congress.

    9.3. In terms of duration, Americans look at tomorrow whereas Filipinos hardly look beyond today. American examples: the military build-up and the space program. Filipino example: smoking, drinking, overpopulation and the birthing pains of the RH Law.

    10. JoeAm’s original answer stands. Happiness is a balance.

    10.1. No doubt Greed is a great motivator. Just as fear is.

    10.2. To a certain extent, Greed in the guise of perfectionism is good, as long as there is no mis-use or ab-use and as long we are not held in its constant grip. Growth must be sustainable with integrity of Self and respect for others. (Bishops and China: are you listening?)

    10.3. Greed does not know its limits, when enough is enough. It is the taxi driver wanting a querida besides a wife. It is the politician corrupting himself and others by buying votes and stealing the people’s money for himself. It is the priest unsatisfied with the promise of heaven but would establish hell on earth to impose his truth.

    11. Perhaps the dichotomy of Process and End Point should be looked at closer, the difference between the Journey and the Destination.

    11.1. Most say that the ends justify the means. This is where Filipinos, the NPA, the bishops and the GOP currently stand.

    11.2. Others would say the means are equally important to the ends or even more important than the ends. This is the dialogue America is caught up in with Wikileaks and NSA-Snowden.

    11.3. A few would see no dichotomy: the ends are the means and the means are the ends. The Journey is the Destination. Thus the Malaysian way of strong economic growth side-by-side with political repression is not the way. The possible Filipino way of gradual sustainable economic growth with true democracy – with mutual respect, cooperation and cleanliness, and without corruption, cheating and other criminal behavior – would be the way. This is the gentle world I would like to live in.

    • Joe America says:

      10. Actually, that was Andrew answering the question he posed. Credit is his.

      11. Yes, yes. Let’s look at process, and as a big part of process, opportunity. OFW’s are looking for opportunity, it is that simple. Because in the Philippines, it is blocked, by poverty, by the lack of a middle class, by nepotism, by schools that equate memorization to learning and ignore problem solving, by a crummy home environment rich with discipline and light on nurturing, by social values that generate envy whenever anyone gets ahead.

      I think these barriers to opportunity can be significantly eroded if we only think about doing that. That is, PROBLEM-SOLVE it, something that does not seem to come naturally here. Educators don’t teach it or do it.

      So I suppose I am challenging legislators, HOW CAN YOU BUILD OPPORTUNITY into the Philippine socio-economic framework so that people don’t have to go overseas to look for it?

  6. JosephIvo says:

    Spying on the European Council and the European Commission by the NSA is another example of American greed. Or did they expect to find terrorists between the European heads of state or in the commission? Malacanang better checks for American bugs too.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, that is bizarre, presuming it is true. I can imagine that they might be looking to see if other nations were dealing in good faith. I look forward to the explanations. See if Obama can tap dance.

      Trust, so hard to build, so easy to destroy.

      • JosephIvo says:

        In negotiations it might help to know the position of your opponents and their internal frictions, not just their good faith… just a thought. Could Monsanto, Boeing, Automotive, Banks… have some interests in EU positions too, driven by greed? What politicians knew what and what politicians are in what board of directors, greed here too?… an additional thought maybe.

        If it is true (and Der Spiegel is know for serious journalism), I’ll have to revisit my opinion on Snowden.

        Indeed the Americans might better start monitoring their secret services instead of their allies.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, although I want to see what the response from the U.S is before drawing such a conclusion myself. I don’t think they can spin this if they indeed were spying on friends. Although it does remind me of a few years ago when a big bruhaha developed because Israel was caught spying on the U.S.

          And, indeed, if such a program were approved, did Hillary Clinton know? Her shot at the presidency is dead in the water if she did. Did Barak Obama know?

    • edgar lores says:

      I would assume that all states spy on other states – at least those that may affect them.. I don’t think that is remarkable. What is remarkable is internal surveillance.

      • Joe America says:

        Internal surveillance is when Facebook rampages across the internet to find your friends and family and schoolmates, dredges up your e-mail addresses and phone numbers, and sends two e-mails per day encouraging you to get on line to prowl, too. Telephone data traps (networking who connects with known terrorists) is weighted 98 to 2 as a valuable tool for defense, over invasion of privacy. Scanning e-mails to foreign addresses for keywords or known terrorists is weighted 84 to 16 as a valuable tool for defense, over invasion of privacy. Failure at privacy may mean a mistake, an embarrassment, some correctable harm.. Failure at defense may mean a city is erased. Multiply the defense quotient by 1 million deaths, and the weightings becomes 98,000,000 million to 2, and 84,000,000 to 16. I vote for surveillance.

        • edgar lores says:

          That’s interesting. Who assigned the weights? And what was the basis?

          And has NSA admitted that they are ‘listening’ to calls and ‘reading’ (scanning) emails when they initially claimed they were not? That they were just looking at metadata?

          When I say that internal surveillance is remarkable, I am not referring to the reality of it. I am referring to the need for secrecy, to the denial of its existence, the possibility of misuse of the data gathered and the lack of trust of the government in the people. It is the disrespect that gets me, particularly in the denial. Government exists for the benefit of the governed. Once you disrespect the governed you have lost your way. This is especially true for America.

          And is there really that much need for secrecy? In “Data Spies and the Art of Letting Go”, I said that I assumed NSA were scanning content on calls — and later on emails as well. To me those assumptions are a given taking into consideration the level of technology. It should be obvious to anyone who has read spy novels and seen spy movies. (Incidentally, my item 3 in that piece does not deny the need for internal surveillance.)

          I am certain that sophisticated terrorists know of the risks of using phones, emails and blogs, and have found ways to go around them. So there is nothing lost for the government to admit to the governed that their privacy has been intruded upon, that scans are being performed on calls and emails, all in the interest of security. They could have admitted it in the first place rather than being forced to reveal bit by bit. Again, the government exists to serve the people not to fool them.

          • Joe America says:

            I assigned the weights, not out of statistical refinery, but to make the point that the need to defend against terrorism is incredibly more important than privacy. Even if the Feds are listening in on private phone calls, which I believe they are not, without court warrant.

            I think the damage on this one was the elegance of the phone data traps. No one, not terrorists or anybody, understood how much data was being pulled from the phone companies and how intricate (I like the term elegant) the tracking was. If you can imagine spider webs leading out from known terrorists or terrorist suspects, it would enable the Feds to carefully build cases on some legitimately dangerous people and gather the hard data needed to convict. Without sending the other spiders scurrying into hiding. Now they have all scurried off into hiding, and America is grossly less secure.

            The success of the program WAS its secrecy. And I would argue it was necessary, valuable, and Snowden has no real grasp of what his intellectual position means in real terms, on the ground, where bombs explode.

            People knew about the Google and other e-mail sweeps of foreign missives because it has been in the news, from those companies, explaining how they handle requests from the fed (they deny some).

            The government (security agencies) did do its job of letting the people know of the programs by advising the representatives of the people, in Congress, of the programs. No more should be required if we have confidence in the capabilities and good intentions of our representatives. I personally do, on matters of national defense.

  7. J says:

    But greed is a negative word. It means excessive. I think you’re talking about something else, like maybe ambition or wants, but not greed. That aside, I agree that motivation to achieve more can generally be a good thing. And few Filipinos seem to be motivated: They’re content with a house and lot and a car, while others want to be really rich, hence our OFWs are mostly consumers, while the Chinese diaspora are mostly entrepreneurs. We also have what we call in Tagalog as the “pwede na yan” attitude.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, technically, that is correct. Greed has a negative connotation. I was giving the word a little twist to suggest there is a driver missing in the economic engine. A force of desire. The missing desire is for self-improvement, and/or the OPPORTUNITY for self-improvement. The former is when people accept their current state, the latter when employers and government fail to present career tracks or training or counseling.

      Capitalism is a grand machine for generating wealth. The Philippines has a superficial structure because the gas is diesel with water in it, instead of high octane.. I guess it is a jeepney economy, and it does not have to be that way.

  8. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    There are many warnings in the Bible about giving in to greed and longing for riches. Jesus warned, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal… You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:19 and 24). Did Jesus pursue the acquisition of money? No. On the contrary, He became poor for our sake (2 Corinthians 8:9) and had “no place to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). The only disciple concerned with wealth was the embezzler Judas, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

    Greed and a desire for riches are traps that bring ruin and destruction. “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil,” and Christians are warned, “Do not put your trust in wealth” (1 Timothy 6:9-10, 17-18). Covetousness, or wanting more than we have, is idolatry. “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person – such a man is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Ephesians 5:5). The principle to remember is contained in Hebrews 13:5: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”

    Greed is evil, says God. It maybe goot for capitalist countries but not goot for the soul. So, Christian Catholic OFWs, come back! Come back, please, for you soul’s sake.

    As what God said, “It is easier for a poor man to pass thru the eye of the needle than a rich Filipino” Hallelujah! Filipinos are poor, HEAVEN IS OURS !!!! Thank you Gloria! Thank you Erap! Thank you Filipinos for picking corrupt politicians for they make us poor. Our spot in heaven is secure.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, greed corrupts the quality of our being. But we are a community, and if we are good of soul, if we are good-hearted, we will work diligently to better the community. Not shrink off to some cave on the cliff side to contemplate God’s navel.

      And as community, we deal with a way of tabulating and trading values, and that instrument is called money. Money enables us attain a cleaner, safer, warmer (or cooler), happier and healthy home. Those things fulfill most souls, they don’t corrupt them. Well, in accumulating money, we can go slow, as the Philippines does, or go fast, as the U.S. does, or find a place somewhere in between.

      I think going slow would be fine if so many kids were not eating off the scrap piles.

      • JosephIvo says:

        @ Joe, isn’t Mariano giving a reductio ad absurdum? From the absurdity of the conclusion one can see the falsity of the premises.

        @Mariano, does the bible has a search engine and where could I find it?

        • Joe America says:

          Ahahaha, perhaps so, but Mariano is an artist known for his passionate brush strokes, not the rigor of his deductions. Greed is bad, therefore poverty is good, therefore thanks to corrupt politicians. That doesn’t flow true, eh?

          See if this does the trick for you: http://www.biblegateway.com/

  9. The Mouse says:

    My take on this:

    The problem with A LOT of Filipinos:

    They want to spend money for most part but not generate it. There seem to be a very negative connotation when one has the drive to generate money. It is either you are envied or you are leeched by lazy people. People hate you for your money (even if you started from scratch and not merely inherited your wealth) or you have one million people who are claiming to be your relative and wanting you to $pon$or them for the rest of their lives and their generations to come!

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, bingo. That fits with my experience here. I cannot quite comprehend this notion that my money belongs to others simply because I have it and they don’t. I had to draw a hard line that I basically explain with, “sorry, you are not one of my children”.

      • Attila says:

        That is my wife’s big concern that when we move to the Philippines than we will be bombarded by people who will want to “borrow” from us. She says that they will label us and bad mouth us if we will not give than. I asked her what if Filipina has a Chinese husband? Will they ask money from him and her? She said not likely. She told me that Chinese arrogantly send away Filipinos who approach them for money. “no money, no money, go away..” That works fine for the Chines but she thinks it does not for Kanos. We are treated differently. We expected to be generous and “stupid”

        • Joe America says:

          My wife has learned to scowl like the Chinese. “You aren’t my husband’s kids!” The worst for me was when the community asked us to contribute to the roof on the church, which we did, and the contractor “over estimated” the amount of tin required. Church. Gift. Ripoff. It turned my heart cold to all requests for money.The giving confirms that we are “stupid” for doing the giving. One also has to accept that having money makes you unliked, the target of envy and unkind gossip. And not care about it. It’s a strange dynamic, for sure.

          • Attila says:

            I’m seriously considering learning the Chinese and Filipino way of verbal defense.once we move to the Philippines. I want to learn comeback lines and understand the way locals manipulate. My wife is very good at it.and she likes giving me a very detailed analysis of possible situations. I can not change my values but in order to “defend” myself I want to understand the Filipino streetwise thinking. She likes the idea. Unfortunately the more I learn the less I want to move there.

            • Joe America says:

              Ahahaha, yes. You might also study how to be laid back when people insist on being rigid, illogical and petty, like at most government offices and some stores where the managers think that we, as customers, should be thankful they are generous enough to sell to us. I prevent myself from going nuts by looking at it all as a wild computer game that some genius kid invented that has boogie men jumping out of trees to try to get at me. Mostly I duck and dodge, even though I’m sometimes inclined to get nasty with the light saber.

  10. patrioticflip says:

    This should be a Ted X talk. – patrioticflip

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s