Sunday, July 29, 2007

Greed is Unattractive

"I never doubted that I wanted to stay at Chelsea or that the club wanted me to stay. I have been here all my career, and now we are trying to build something special and I want to be part of that." So said John Terry the Chelsea Captain, it was just the small matter of him being offered an obscene amount of money to stay. He's settled on a £7 million a year deal - that's £135,000 a week. I believe he had previously been offered £120,000 to sign a new contract but this wasn't enough - that's a mere £6.2 million a year. The extra £800,000 he's getting will net him around £384,000 extra a year after his agent takes a cut and he pays his tax.

Is it any wonder that our society is becomming hooked on greed?


Tom Paine said...

I respectfully submit, Richard, that envy is more damaging than greed and that if our society is hooked on anything it is the former rather than the latter.

Richard Havers said...

Tom, I agree with that. But clearly one begets the other. :)

I guess the old averous and greed are inexorably linked.

Tom Paine said...

I don't think so. Greed is a vice that is bad for the sinner, but not everyone else. It drives production, builds ambition. Avarice is unattractive, yes, but it is a winner's vice. Society needs people to be winners, like John Terry in his trivial way.

Avarice is the vice of the loser and a society consumed with it is doomed to fail.

Richard Havers said...

I knew I'd spelt it wrong!

I'm not sure I'm entirely with you on the arguments though Tom. Greed can be destructive for society as a whole, not just the sinner.

I'm not quite following the argument here. Avarice I would argue, is equally destructive; it’s an unreasonable condition not one that I would call a winner’s vice.

r morris said...

There are seven sins bad enough to be classified as 'deadly'. Greed and avarice are both on the list. They are both bad.

As long as fans are willing to pay big money to watch grown men play games, these athletes will make huge amounts of money. Simple economics, the law of supply and demand, states that the value of a rare and desired commodity will increase.

We enable the huge salaries by buying tickets and watching the games on TV or pay-per-view.

And are we jealous of these guys? Hell, yeah. But can we kick a football like them? If we could, we'd be making the big bucks.

Tom, Richard, great debate. You both make salient points.

Anonymous said...

"Is it any wonder that our society is becoming hooked on greed?"

Hmmm. I think it more a case of footballers being showcased as role models with which to delude the upcoming generations with "Yes, learn to kick a football very well and you too could earn squillions and live in a world of boys toys, blondes, breast implants, lager and 3 hour long vacuous interviews on Sky".

There was a great ad that used to appear in US comic books in the 60's and 70's headlined: "Don't Envy Plumbers ... Be One!" Plumber envy was a big issue back then and went through a revival recently here in the UK. I guess that line could now be tweeked to read "Don't Envy Footballers ... Be One!"

Of course, a question lurking behind all this is, just what is it that John Terry will be paid in? Pounds, apparently. But what are they? Hardly anyone knows. Not even Alan Greenspan, the infamous recent ex-head of the US Federal Reserve, who said that they no longer have a working definition of what money is. He was being disingenuous. But he has to be, he's a banker.

If you follow the money, you get a rather interesting picture of what John Terry is about to be paid in. Here's most of the trail -

Fred, a fan, shells out £60 (or whatever) to go see Chelsea v A Team That Can't Win The Premiership Utd. This £60 (plus lots more of them) pay John and his Chelsea chums.

Fred is, ta da, a plumber. He got paid £800 by Mrs Wilkinson for replacing her dodgy sink.

Mrs Wilkinson, no longer able to earn a crust at the Chelsea Fan Shop where she has been replaced by a robot with breast implants, had to re-mortgage for a couple of grand to pay Fred and buy some food to live. She likes food.

The Bank enabled Mrs Wilkinson to re-mortgage. They switched the figures round on her account and blobbed £2000 into her current account.

Question; where did the bank get the £2000 from?

Answer; nowhere, they just made it up. Out of thin air. And dropped interest charges onto it also. Nice.

98% of all the so-called money we use in the UK is created out of thin air by banks as credit at interest. The banks always are owed more money than exists. That's a bit of a thought isn't it. In musical terms, our money system is in a permanent, ever increasing feedback loop. And soon, it will go BANG.

The nature of the system is such that the only solution is for the predominant mass of people to get ever more deeper into debt, forever. If they don't, people like John Terry wouldn't get paid because no one would have borrowed the money into existence for it to be there to pay him. Who said Football was a simple game?

The debt is wholly unrepayable because the system has been designed to make it that way. On purpose. As this structure ensures that a very few people can control everyone else by carrot and stick technology (you get credit, you don't get credit). Think this unlikely? Ask yourself why you were never taught about money in school.

So where does this leave John Terry? Well, I would suggest playing for a pointless team in a pointless league which is now a part of showbusiness and no longer acts as the great community fire lighter it once used to.

I suggest an English Football League where the Stanley Matthews Boot is the only allowable footwear, shirts must have collars, fans have to use rattles and pitches must cut up easily bring mud back into the game.

Nice site btw.

-- Paul

paul at thefreepress dot org dot uk

Richard Havers said...

Paul, great post btw!

Seriously that's a fabulous piece, very thought provoking.

r morris said...

Paul, you are an excellent writer and satirist.
I'm going to have to check your website.
Thanks for the thoughtful and entertaining post.
Would you be an economics major, per chance?

Anonymous said...

Would you be an economics major, per chance?

Hi R Morris -

I am no economics major. I think it unlikely you'll find more than a few economics majors who know much about money and banking. It tends to occupy a small part of degree courses. There are exceptions, mostly residing within the gold community, but that makes them easy targets for a bought for media that acts to mock anything not in the main script.

Economics tends to masquerade as a science but it's main function is to present itself as a highly complex and dull subject so that most people are put off any line of enquiry. Which is probably why John Terry never took it up.

If men think about sex every 2 minutes, I suggest the other 1 minute and 59 seconds is spent pondering on money. That's the hold it has and those that run the system know it. The system is not designed for your benefit or mine and never has been.

Because the Banks are always owed more money (a combination of capital plus the interest accruing on it) than exists, they are compelled to keep swelling the money supply by issuing more credit. If they fail to do that, there is not enough money in the system for debtors to repay their loans and the defaults begin to undermine the profit of the bank(s). Therefore, the true purpose of a bank in engineering terms, is to permanently keep the bulk of its clients permanently in debt. If it fails to do that, it goes bust.

Not much of a plan for enhancing civilisation is it?

You can't build civilisation with uncivilised money. Until the money system is transformed, no Govt policy will ever make any difference to anything. Because it can't.

As you can probably tell, this runs deep with me. I tend to hijack conversations all the time and drive them into this area. Mortgage by the way means Death Gamble, it comes from the French. Always a handy way to get the topic moving I find.

I'll have to write a book and turn it into a West End musical. "Is You Or Is You Ain't My Bank Manager" and other toe tapping tunes.

One thing that happens a lot (though you still have to dig them out) is the outbreak of conscience amongst the ex banking chiefs in their later years. Here's a couple you may find edifying.

"Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of Bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create deposits." -- Sir Josiah Stamp At the time the 2nd wealthiest man in England and an ex Director of the Bank of England.

"I am afraid that ordinary citizens will not like to be told that the banks can, and do, create and destroy money. And they who control the credit of the nation direct the policy of governments, and hold in the hollow of their hands the destiny of the people."-- 'Mr Reginald McKenna' (when Chairman of the Midland Bank in London)

"The few who can understand the System (Cheque Money and Credits) will either be so interested in its profits, or so dependent on its favours, that there will be no opposition from that class. While on the other hand, the great body of people mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical (hostile, hurtful) to their interests."-- 'Rothschild Bros of London' (to New York firm of bankers - 25 June 1863)

I don't think they use these quotes in Economics courses.

The FreePress is an evolving thing as finding effective ways to broker this topic needs a little imagination - listeners eyes tend to glaze over once they've heard you say "Fractional Reserve Banking" for the fifth time in 5 minutes.

Thanks for the positive comments. All used to propel forward and onward and upward.

-- Paul
paul at thefreepress dot org dot uk