Greed Addiction

I don’t believe the love of money is the root of all evil but it has a lot to answer for. Love of money, and its inevitable bed-fellow, corruption, is rife among the leaders of nations. It seems incredible that people who have literally sacks full of money, billions more than they can ever spend, steal still more, often from the world’s poorest people.

Greed has always been with us. Is it increasing or are we simply better informed by all manner of media?

What drives them? Is greed as addictive as alcohol and drugs? Which in no way excuses the behaviour since the cure is in the hands of the addict. I don’t suppose it matters what drives them. It’s the pernicious effects of greed that is so harmful.

Arms manufacturers need wars, prolonged wars to stay profitable. Their anonymous shareholders purport to despise drug-dealers for leading their privileged children into addictions. Yet greed enables them to ignore the children whose legs have been blown off as a direct cause of their profitable shares.

Closer to home, corruption is beginning to characterise areas of our employment practices. Immigrant employers rewarding immigrant workers with starvation wages and slave-labour conditions; the transport industry issuing fraudulent driver licences and warrants of fitness for cash; the leaders of our top learning institutions are either so incompetent they should be sacked, or they are overseeing cheating on a grand scale and selling of degrees.

This is not new. It has simply become such a problem that it can no longer be hidden. The growth of corruption, I believe, is connected to increased immigration from countries where cheating and paying back-handers for public services is a rooted-in part of the culture, a necessary means of survival. Such conditioning is difficult to break.

But it is no longer acceptable to claim this detestable development is down to New Zealand’s naivety. The fact is, there is dirty money to be made and greedy people ready to make it, without losing a moment’s sleep.

The growth of corruption in this country is extremely serious and strikes at the heart of New Zealand character and reputation. It does not appear on a balance sheet and perhaps that’s why it has been ignored. If we ignore it much longer it will be too late to turn back. Yet at this stage it would not be too difficult to stop.

We need people of stature to talk about this in public. We need all public servants and public service contractors to be reminded, frequently, that corruption will not be tolerated. Let’s be frank: corruption has crept in to New Zealand and  we should shout from the rooftops that we find it despicable and unacceptable.

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Chris Horan

Chris is a former social worker, probation officer and Family Court counsellor, living in Hawea in the South Island.