But how can the government regulate greed? It is like telling the wind not to blow. Greed has always been with us, and it always will. Since greeds began as solutions, trying to regulate greed will only make the problem worse.
The notion that individual greed can serve the common good has wormed its way even into political philosophies. We recall the Hubert Hughes’ Vote of No Confidence; the ADP/AUM Better Government for Anguilla debacle; the Hubert Hughes’ Transshipment saga; and the Edison Baird recent refusal to work with the government theatrical - just to name a few. Greed demolishes equity, as it is impossible to have both unrestrained. In the end, unchecked greed erodes freedom, undermines the social fabric of our society, and is an undemocratic force.
The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote more than 2,500 years ago that: ‘There is no calamity greater than lavish desires, no greater guilt than discontentment and no greater disaster than greed.'
However, Greed is being redefined as a virtue and a legitimate guiding principle for economic prosperity and general happiness. In the process, it is steadily eating away at the cornerstones of civilized societies and undermining the visions, values and collective aspirations that made them strong.
Many economists believe that greed produces preferable economic outcomes most times and under most conditions. When we salute uncontrollable greedy Anguillians as the standout ‘growth engine' of our economy, we are in many ways paying tribute to the economic wonders of greed.
Anguilla enjoys a relative absence of constraints, including tax and labour constraints or effective Employment Laws that would otherwise burden corporations, as a result, this allow greed to flourish. However, in reality, we on Anguilla are very much blessed with natural greed-regulations in the absence of legislative-regulations. We are blessed with ‘Jealousy and Gossip’; though cynical but effective.
A greed driven economy is toxic to our well-being and is hastening our slide into a state of unhappy consciousness. There is little doubt that our nation’s sanctification of greed is creating a deep existential void that cannot be filled - whatever the degree of material indulgence, personal achievement or private gratification.
Research shows that the human being are incorrigibly greedy by nature. One survey shows that nearly 90 per cent of people agree with the statement that ‘Humans always want more, and that it is part of human nature'. But in truth, a society's culture determines the extent to which our propensity for greed is activated or suppressed. On Anguilla that is Jealousy and Gossip! Imagine…
- Imagine if Albert Lake was allowed to feed the poor and elderly simply to steal their land
- or Ian Donaldson Mitchell was allowed to lobby the British
- or the Director of the Lands was allowed to steal property
- or the amount of land problems we would have
- or our attorneys were ripping people off left, right and center
- or the Welfare Department Director (past or present) steal from the elderly
- or our Governments were allowed to favour contracts and receive underhand rewards
- or our religious ministers were stealing from the church
- or our laws only work for some
- or jobs were designed for specific persons or families
- or banks were allowed to steal business plans from their clients
- or bank managers were allowed to steal millions like other banks' CEOs in other countries
- or our indigenous banks refused to finance competition
- and only if our Police Officers were corrupted
Greed has our opposition candidates so divided that in the quest for stability and prosperity; they are giving our incumbents an unfettered mandate in our next general election. Sadly... we can not regulate our politicians’ stupidity, else we would have an easier time electing competent Parliamentarians.
Anguilla’s institutionalized regulatory mechanism or our famous greed-checker is Jealousy and Gossip. After all, there are some good in everything.
Just imagine living without them on Anguilla…