Need and Greed

5 Jul

The line between need and greed is often very thin and difficult to distinguish.  It may be somewhat obvious for the average Australian when considering a sizeable purchase.  Do I need a new phone or new car?  Or can I survive with my current one?  Taking this many steps further, you could ask the “Do I need?” question on every single one of your daily decisions, big or small.  If you took this to the extreme, you may end up living in a cave eating berries.

Let me attack this from another angle.  I discussed in the previous article about the theft of the video camera, and whether this was driven by need or greed.  I have also wondered about this from other observations.  Metal security grills on houses in remote villages in the middle of the Pacific or in Africa seem a little unnecessary.  Surely crime doesn’t exist in such remote locations.  But I can guarantee these people wouldn’t have spent the money on security grills if it wasn’t necessary.

Another example shocked me when I was travelling through Kenya.  Travel in Kenya on buses means lots of stops, and whenever you stop, there is no shortage of people trying to sell you something through the window.  This is great, as it ensures you are never hungry on a bus, as it is mostly food being sold.  However, I was in a minibus one time and the driver slowed down enough to buy some oranges.  By slow down, I mean he didn’t stop, he kept driving at a slow pace so the women selling the oranges had to run along beside the car to make the sale through the window.  Just as the money was changing hands another woman barges in trying to out-sell the other lady, nearly resulting in both ladies tripping themselves up and tumbling along the edge of the road.  With a bit of jostling the first women kept her feet and completed the sale.  This was some intense competition between the two women (who probably live in the same village) and I wonder whether it was need or greed.  The need maybe between dinner and no dinner for her family or it may have been some meat for dinner versus another night of beans and rice.  The difference between need and greed is far too hard for me to tell and not for me to judge, regardless.

My current conclusion is the difference between need and greed is a personal decision and can be only judged by the individual.  This type of moral decision is ingrained in you from your upbringing. You alone are responsible for deciding what you need and what is greed.

Puma fact:

5) Pumas are just like all other cats, they like nothing better than having a snooze in a sunny spot.  It may last 15 minutes or it may take an hour.  Either way you need to be ready to go when he is.

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2 Responses to “Need and Greed”

  1. Joel Muliro September 7, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    I just stumbled on your Need and Greed post. I just wanted to comment on where you say “Metal security grills on houses in remote villages in the middle of the Pacific or in Africa seem a little unnecessary. Surely crime doesn’t exist in such remote locations”.

    It is not only about need and greed but could be the simple provision of security for one and their family. We occasionally are threatened by election triggered ethnic violence in Kenya (as one example that comes to mind). I also can’t understand why one might believe that just because a community has less than (presumably) their own, there can’t be any crime there. Crime is everywhere. Just a little more in some places than others.

    I live in a so-called remote part of Kenya. Believe me when I tell you we also have crime here, and I doubt you would voluntarily choose to be without grills if you took the time to attempt to live in one of the remote areas.

    Joe

    • mjfuss September 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

      Hi Joe,

      That’s precisely my point. If you look at the next sentence “But I can guarantee these people wouldn’t have spent the money on security grills if it wasn’t necessary.’, crime is a part of all societies. But my question is is it need or greed that motivates the thief?

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