A Glance at The Effects
Greed has taken us far in technology, further away from God/The Higher Power, and has led us to mass consumption. We have seen continuous people working endlessly all to answer one question: How can I make Money? We have seen trash build up throughout the world out of mass consumption that can devastate the land we rely on for the resources we massively consume. We have seen debt build up to outrageous levels to the point where it is a mental ball and chain. We have seen Money praised like God.
While the list of negative attributes of greed can go beyond another 1,600 word-long blog post, a positive aspect of Greed is found in all faiths and religions of the world: Greed is denounced to be poison for humanity. The level of denunciation; however, is subjective. Therefore, greed has become subjective.
While it is renown that the love of money is greed in a nutshell in a Christian Context, the use of the word greed has been used in a variety of ways. I was reading an article by Ezinne Ukoha on the the greed of White Men and it brought to light quite a few important notes:
“After being exploited for our resources — Nigerians were abandoned and left to pick up the pieces that were too jagged to put back together again…The [African] countries are troubled because of the outstanding debt that is owed them from the Western world that is still raping them of their resources while the people of the land are sinking in villages ravaged by oil floods”Written by Ezinne Ukoha on Medium.com
Similarly to Ezinne’s post of African Nations being taken for granted for centuries for the wealth of other nations, Native Americans have also been wronged by greed. A letter by the Hopi Native American Tribe to the United States also resonates similar feelings of the effects of one nation’s greed for resources and allocations. Written on January 11, 2019 during a government shutdown, it reads the following:
The Hopi Tribe relies heavily on federal funding to provide key tribal government services, including but not limited to health care, public safety, housing, nutrition and food distribution, and social welfare services. This government shutdown destabilizes programs causing unnecessary fear and anxiety not only among our Hopi-Tewa people but others who reside and are employed on the Hopi Reservation.”Open Letter to Arizona Congressional Leaders by the Hopi Tribe.
On one side from Ezinne, we have anger. One the other side from the Hopi tribe, we have fear. In another mentality, we have some studies explaining the use and current definition of entitlement in an American sense, as written by Dr. Jane Adams, “It’s an unfair rap to those who want their kids to be successful and do the best they can. It’s not up to us to tell them their dreams are unreachable or their expectations are too high. Instead, we would be wiser to support their efforts to achieve them.”
I truly do wonder what the true endpoint is of greed, but that leads me to question what greed truly is. A person in New York City seeing the letter from the Hopi Tribe as greedy because of a heavy reliance on government resources while the Hopi tribe will see New York City as greedy for hogging all the resources after the Spanish Empire and the United States ravaged their land of resources and land allotments to other tribes – as noted in the Book of the Hopi by Frank Waters. What is greed, in both of these contexts? There are many different ways we can answer it.
Just as how Ezinne shares justifiable anger at how the world, in history and in today’s world, has ravaged Africa through slavery, how King Leopold II of Belgium used his greed to perform horrific deeds in the Congo that are pretty synonymous with Hitler’s treatment of the Jews, and so on, the Hopi Tribe is responding to the greed of a stronger nation due to essential reliance on a system that has treated them poorly in the past. New Yorkers, on the other hand, may have been born into a system that is geared towards great competition in order to survive. In my view, the greed of those who view Money as God have wronged both New Yorkers and the Hopi in a variety of ways.
City, The Desert, and the Plains
I will never forget the last time I was in Staten Island, New York City. It was about four years ago and I was there to see a specialist for a neurological disorder. My father and I went to a pizzeria on a main street and it was dark out. After eating, we both left together an walked back to the car.
On our way back to the car, I saw many faces of people full of sorrow and heavy use of drugs. We quickly walked to the car and I saw this man, roughly 40 years old, who was talking nicely with another man in his 50’s. After one minute, a cab pulled up and the 50 year old quickly hopped in the cab. The 40 year old screamed at the 50 year old, “You’re leaving me?!” and, without another comment made, the cab drove off. All I saw left was a man that had given up everything – wandering in the middle of the street as if he was lost and no care about the cars honking at him to get out of the street.
For the Hopi, with unemployment rates as high as 50%, do not have the same resources and job opportunities as New York City. With Hopi beliefs in living one with the earth, such as stated by Ahkima Honyumptewa during the Covid-19 pandemic, the developments, technological advancements and vast wealth as we see today are not in line with their cultural values. However this may be, the Hopi tribe has seen many conflicts over accepting the ways of The United States or holding true to their cultural beliefs – such as the conflicts seen in the Split of Oraibi – dividing the Hopi tribe.
For the Lakota Native Americans, as shown in this video, have seen the effects of drug and alcohol abuse similarly to the man I saw in New York, but without the resources available to them as a New Yorker would have to tackle the disease. The Lakota, just as with the Hopi and other Native American tribes around the world and the African Nations as described by Ezinne, have experienced the mass consumption seen by the United States of the Lakota’s primary food source, Buffalo. During the Sioux wars, “the source of the Plains Indians life style, the buffalo, was disappearing. Not only was the new railroad frightening these once numerous animals, the soldiers and settlers were hunting them by the thousands.” The effects of this war are still felt today as we can see in the video of current Lakota life as the United States continues to grow in wealth – though I may argue on borrowed time.
While greed is subjective in a variety of context, one clear definition of greed is this: an intense desire of wealth collection at the expense of others. We have seen this in many different texts, from King Leopold’s Ghost, the Book of the Hopi, in history of the Lakota, to even a man struggling on the streets of New York City. The faiths and religions of the world have syncretism on greed – no matter how you combine the views on greed, the denouncing of it is very real. The effects of Greed, both short and long term, are deserving of further attention to tackle this worldwide issue.
The over-reliance of massive consumption of resources in the United States, and across the developed world, has left many nations, from Africa to the Native Americans, left with very little and paying the expense of other nations’ desire for power and wealth. In my view, defaulting into anger or fear only allows money and greed to hold a stronger grip over a population who struggle to maintain the dollar.
Money needs us to survive, we do not need the love of money to survive. We do not need to massively consume resources at the rate that the world does while also seeing how the theft of resources from other nations and peoples have left them starving for basic foods and shelter more than American’s hunger for their next McDonald’s burger and their next mortgage payment.
The effects of greed has lead to a great imbalance in the world not just economically, but culturally and psychologically. The effects of greed has allowed us to see the divisions between races, divisions between people in cities, nations, and tribes. The effects of greed has led many to find anger and fear to be the primary response to tackle greed.
I see money as just another tool for man to make ends meat. I see this tool as a tool that should be utilized equally, and fairly, for all people no matter race, religion, creed, or nation. Perhaps if we find a different way of utilizing our resources rather than steal them from other nations and tribes and massively consume them while the others suffer, the world then can find a better way at living mutually with the earth, all peoples, and all life without greed.