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Greed, not match fixing or black money, our biggest issue
Recently, I received an unexpected windfall, when an old ancestral property was sold off and I received my proceeds from the sale. This was totally unexpected and therefore not factored into my reasonably well done financial planning.

Since my needs are not much, even though I have worked in the NGO sector for almost all my life with its somewhat modest salaries, I have managed, by some good planning and discipline to meet most of my financial objectives. This money is therefore sitting there as an unexpected bonus.

My predicament has made me ask aloud the question – just how much money does one really need to live, even live well? Admittedly, I don’t live luxuriously and there are those who do want a good life, but even so? when I look at the scale of graft around today – be it match fixing, or the various scams unfolding in daily newspapers or the private wealth of the recently-deceased Ponty Chadha and others like him;  one cannot but ask a basic question – what do these guys do with this kind of money?  Is it necessity that forces people to make this of money by any means – foul or fair or is it greed at its most base level?

Look at Ponty Chadha, for instance. From selling snacks by the roadside to owning a business empire worth around Rs. 8, 000 crore, Ponty Chadha's was a real rags-to-riches story. Using his political clout, he soon ruled over the liquor business in Uttar Pradesh and his corporate interests also spanned across real estate, sugar, film production and exhibition. And in spite of the fact that he had so much, he had property squabbles within his own family and was eventually killed in a messy shootout. Did it achieve anything? What was all the money making about if the final outcome was to be a bullet in the chest and a violent death?

Similarly, take match fixing. Lots of old time cricketers have made observations about how much more today’s cricketers – even the mediocre ones get paid compared to what was in place, a few decades ago, and we are only talking of cricket playing, not to speak of the advertisements, product endorsements and what  not which bring in additional income. And still they need to fix matches and earn another additional amount unethically with the possibility of disgrace and prison terms? Just how much money is enough?

Rampant consumerism, of course, has contributed to all of this. For now, I don’t want to place any value judgments on consumer cultures. There are many useful aspects of consumer cultures but it is worth noting that Indians are making a shift from a value system derived largely from religious beliefs and traditions which lauded austerity and self-denial --to another type of culture such as a consumer culture and a society where conspicuous earnings as well as conspicuous consumption are both to be flaunted.

The Worldwatch Institute, a US think-tank has warned in a recent report that human civilization would “collapse” unless the world curbs its culture of greed and excessive consumerism, and that without a wholesale transformation of cultural patterns the world would not be able to prevent the collapse of human civilization. Sometimes I feel that the collapse has already happened at several levels of our society and no one is concerned or has become blinded to this all pervasive greed. Match fixing or black money is perhaps not the bigger issue in our society. Greed is.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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