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A Pathological Sickness

How greedy does someone have to get before it becomes pathological? A sickness, if not of the body then at least of the mind. How much does one person need before they reach the point where what they already have becomes meaningless and further acquisitions are an exercise in futility? And what sort of person will accumulate huge wealth and yet avoid sharing even a small part of it to help out his fellow human beings?

Well there’s no point in asking me because, even though I live in a relatively rich country, have a good degree and a reasonably good job, and work long hours, I still haven’t reached the point where I could be said to be even slightly wealthy. And I suspect there’s not much point in asking most of my blog readers either, because none of you are likely to be part of the 1%

Yet there is a certain part of society which has reached the point of being so disgustingly greedy that it really has become a sickness. And no, greed is not good, despite what some people on the political right might say. And in addition, no, these people do not deserve what they have because no one deserves so much no matter what their contribution to society is. Not that most of the 1% actually make any real contribution anyway so the point is moot.

My rant so far has been triggered by the Panama Papers, of course. That is the leaking of massive numbers of documents from the Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca which implicates many world leaders in dodgy financial transactions to avoid paying their share of tax.

So who are these world leaders? Well there are 12 leaders of countries, 120 other politicians, associates of Russian president Vladimir Putin, 6 members of the House of Lords, 3 former British conservative MPs, many donors to UK political parties, and 8 members or ex-members of the Chinese Politburo.

So far there is less evidence of people from the US being involved but we are told that those will come later and it would be astonishing if they didn’t exist.

So when you have unbelievable wealth – more than any reasonable person could possibly use in a meaningful way – why would you feel the need to avoid paying a fair share of tax and contributing to the society which allowed you to gather that wealth? Why would you not want to help with healthcare, for example. Would you not feel even slightly responsible when you see people dying because the health system in your country is underfunded?

No, apparently not. These people just ignore everything around them, unless it can be manipulated and warped to their own benefit in some way. They seem to think they are somehow above the petty responsibilities that other people have and they wonder why should they have to pay tax when they can avoid it relatively easily.

I’m sure that most of the tax dodging is actually legal (although there is a suggestion that some of it isn’t) but so what? This has got beyond what is legal. The people who are saving millions in tax payments are the same politicians and business leaders who are making the laws. What possible reason would they have to change something which benefits them so greatly?

These people are sick. Our leaders and the richest echelons of society are a blight on our species.

And the worst thing is that my own country, New Zealand, features prominently as a tax haven for these vile parasites. Yes, I know our prime minister has insisted that NZ is not a tax haven and that is one of the reasons why I think it is. The PM always gets these things wrong.

We know that the majority of people on the planet are victims of the 1% but these things never last. Corrupt regimes always fall and I don’t think this one will last much longer. It’s unrealistic to think global capitalism will be replaced with something much better in the short term but I do think the current system will be forced to undergo big changes within the next 10 years.

Pathological greed is a sickness which has to be cured, and it can’t happen soon enough.

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