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Musically Speaking: Greed

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JJ Rocks Article # 116: Greed
They say that the United States was built on capitalism. When I was growing up I thought that word just meant making the most of something and then getting other people involved so they could not only help in the progress of the venture but also benefit from the results of their efforts. And generally speaking, that system has been working up to a point. But since money and the material pleasures that it can buy have become even more addictive than any drug on the planet, the original concept of capitalism started its decline as soon as it acquired the taste for greed. And since greed has been here since the beginning of mans existence, capitalism never stood a chance against its temptations.

Every day on the news there are more and more examples of greed overpowering the original concept of true capitalism that was created to have leaders and dreamers, creators and builders, buyers and sellers, and of course the most important, the people who work hard and make a good honest living building things that we all need. And if you take a close look at most business situations you will find that corruption and greed start at the top of the income food chain, and not with the ones who put their sweat and hearts into the products they make. Thatís because in most cases the real workers only concern is to have a simple, safe, and secure life, where family and basic comforts rule. Sure, these desires may range from a wide screen TV, a nice car, or even college money for their kids to name a few. But thatís not greed at all. Itís just some of lifeís necessities and rewards that anyone who works hard deserves. But the greed that infests the successful people in this world, especially in the US, is in my opinion going to be the downfall of this once upon a time great nation.

I donít want any of you patriotic flag wavers to get pissed at my comments, but why donít we start with the products from China and other Asian countries. Why are there so many? Is it because their products are of a higher quality? Well, in many cases as in electronics thatís true. Could greed be playing a big part in this? No Iím not talking about the Chinese; Iím talking about the workers in the US who allow other countries to take over certain markets because they refuse to work for less money. I know for sure that the United States has just as many or even more electronic geniuses than other countries. I just think that we are too salary minded instead of trying to be competitive which only gives other countries the economic edge. Now of course their excuse is that they need more money because of the cost of living. Well, thatís true because the prices of products keep going up as a result of greed from the suppliers, and also bullshit because many of them just want to keep paying for the maintenance of their swimming pools. This is their ďGreat American DreamĒ which is fueled not only by greed, but the fact that they think we are the center of the world and all other people are just foreigners who wear T shirts that say ďWill Work for FoodĒ.

Maybe some of you are picturing people who are right out of the rice patties that work for pennies just to feed their families, but you canít do that because you are an ďAmericanĒ with real bills. Did you see the Olympics from Beijing? If we were to go one on one with them I would bet that the Chinese are better off than we are as far as happiness, health care, and creature comforts. Hmm, letís see, is it me thatís wrong and Iím just a communist bastard, or is it the overweight guy shooting pool in a racist bar with the crack of his ass showing that has all the answers? If greed is really a Holy sin, then itís got to be smart enough to choose the right mentality for successful breeding. Letís start with the leaders of a people that were given the gift of free election, and then bitch about the government officials that they put into office and think that the ďdominoĒ effect is an action movie. Maybe some of us should keep that in mind when we see the next report on global economy. Or possibly while sucking down a huge draft and spiting pieces of popcorn into the face of the guy sitting next to them at the bar as their over stuffed mouths spew out expertise on world events and high prices.

This situation is no different in the music world. I mean think about it, in this modern age of music the meaning of the word successful has taken an extreme turn towards commercialism and the almighty dollar while the true art of musical composition has taken a back seat. If Beethoven was alive today and making music, how would he stand against our hottest hip hop artist? Some of you are probably saying ďyeah man, but times are different now!Ē And you know what? You have just made my point because it shows that much, (not all) of the music world only cares about making a quick buck on people who just want to shake their asses. This does not include any hip hop artist who sends important messages to help their communities and convey true love and peace through their music. They have all my respect and support as a writer and they are far beyond the meaningless ďRapĒ tripe that blows across some of the airwaves. I mean the kind of rap that is directed to the mentally deprived whose only concern is to set a new world record for owning gold chains and passing on their ignorant beliefs that are represented by the lowest forms of human language.

But even in the music world with all its hooks and genres and ďwant to be famous starsĒ that keep growing on a daily basis, in my opinion there is a little less greed in that line of capitalism than any other form. I guess itís because some of their egos are bigger than their economical goals. And others (bless their hearts) are more concerned with artistic contributions and just trying to stay financially stable. Letís face it, most musicians are having so much fun and not really hurting the general economy that the issue of greed is so well blended with self discovery that Iím wondering why I even included them in this article. I hold them in such a high respect! But hey, we are not all perfect! But they definitely should be recognized as examples of dedication, emotional output, and concern for uniting the world through a form of communication that comes from the heart and not only a paycheck. With musicians I feel that the balance between the money dreamers and the true musical explorers is a Yin Yang thing that keeps the music flowing and the neon glowing. Most of them are not in the same disastrous league as the everyday business executive who prays to the almighty buck on a daily basis while using crude oil as their Holy water and our natural wonders as their gardens of waste.

Greed is represented daily through reports from the media. We hear about gas prices going up but never told exactly why. So we are left with the impression that there is a short supply in the world so we have to pay more at the pump. But when we decide to be more thoughtful when it comes to our transportation and using less gas, the prices go down. This doesnít make sense to me! If there was a shortage of bread to eat and we tried to eat less, it shouldnít change the price because the surplus of bread was still low to begin with and just as valuable. I mean once the bread is gone, itís gone forever even if it takes a little longer because we are buying less! Now Iím not saying that our oil supply is not going down, but the rate that the prices have been going up seems to be more connected with greedy people lining their pockets than it is with our supply going down. But we never hear about the government checking the books on the oil companies and setting standards on their greediness! We only hear about the change in prices and its effect on our society.

Iím also insulted by the greed in the medical profession. I always felt that the same government that pays for highways to be built should also supply heath care to people who need it. If the road in front of my house starts to crumble, there will be road crews out there the next week pouring asphalt. But if my neighbor is dying from cancer and has no medical insurance he will be turned away at the hospital and left to die. Letís face it; the reason that there is no free medical care is because most doctors refuse to work for less money like a government salary. From what Iíve heard, most people in the medical profession check out the yearly salaries first before choosing which field of medicine to venture into. Come on folks, wake up and smell the greed! Have we come to the crossroads where our existence depends on how much money we have to offer to someone who took an oath to preserve life?

It has to be obvious that when we use less of a product, the price goes down. It just reminds us of the old ďsupply and demandĒ lesson from high school. We all donít have to be Einsteinís to realize that the price changes are not only from a low supply of everyday needs, but also (mostly) greed. But unfortunately we canít play that ďcat and mouseĒ game with our energy, healthcare, environment, and education to name a few. Who knows, maybe one day we will have a president who is the real deal and not sucked into the greed vacuum and sets an example for the American people to follow. Hopefully it will be someone who will get us to realize that if we donít stop being so greedy and demand so much money for the everyday jobs that we do and the products that we produce, other countries will be having their ďGreat American DreamĒ and ours will just be a chapter in our history books that is too embarrassing to pass along to our children.

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