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#19760 - 12/19/11 03:38 PM Inexplicable Greed
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
In Ad Astra Virtual1 mentions that Kim Jong Il had hoarded 4 billion dollars. We've also heard that the recently dispatched Muammar Gaddafi had 200 billion, and over the years have learned that all sorts of "men of the people" were extraordinarily wealthy while their people went without.

What is it that makes these people so greedy? Gaddafi could easily have lived a luxurious life while building hospitals, schools, homes, et cetera, and been remembered in his country's history books as a great saviour of the nation. Instead he's a disreputable villain who died ignominiously.

I recall many years ago chatting with a union representative and musing that it was strange that Jimmy Hoffa (not yet in concrete) was so popular with his membership although he was known to have all sorts of unsavoury connections, and allegations of corruption swirled around.

The answer was: "Simple. No matter what he does, Jimmy makes sure everybody gets a piece of the action. Every one of those people driving a rig knows that, whatever else he does, Jimmy will make sure they get another buck or two per hour."

Seems to me, some dictators should have taken a cue from Hoffa.
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#19761 - 12/19/11 05:19 PM Re: Inexplicable Greed [Re: ryck]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
Some sort of mental disfunction i suppose. Take gaddafi or mubarak for example: if i had billions banked away, and my people were revolting against me... i'd just retire. Here, have the desert, enjoy... i'll be at some beach on St. Barths drinking bushwhackers and checking out the babes.

smile


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#19767 - 12/19/11 10:14 PM Re: Inexplicable Greed [Re: Hal Itosis]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
My experience with the rich is that they want to get richer...at almost any cost, which is why I laugh when people say that raising their taxes will inhibit their investment activities, etc.

Hell no! As long as Congress doesn't try to take too large a percentage away from them they'll be content to get richer at a slightly slower rate.

Watching bank balances grow is as obsessive an activity as I've ever run across, and that goes equally for both the less and more affluent.
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#19773 - 12/20/11 04:10 AM Re: Inexplicable Greed [Re: artie505]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: artie505
My experience with the rich is that they want to get richer...at almost any cost...

Watching bank balances grow is as obsessive an activity as I've ever run across, and that goes equally for both the less and more affluent.

But, with these dictators, it goes far beyond that. They plunder so much money, so fast, that interest rates are not an issue.

However, they sacrifice their place in history. They must have huge egos and yet, in order to have more than they could possibly spend, they risk an end where they are hated. The 200 billion didn't do Gaddafi much good and you have to wonder what "jeez, I wish I'd done this differently" thoughts went through his head as the gun barrel touched it.

I referred to Jimmy Hoffa being a person they could take a cue from. Although it was a bit tongue in cheek, I wonder if some haven't. I think about Fidel Castro, who's a pretty rich guy, but nobody's dragging him into the streets. However, he has given his people an excellent educational system and a healthcare system that's pretty much the envy of the world.


Edited by ryck (12/20/11 04:10 AM)
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#19774 - 12/20/11 05:00 AM Re: Inexplicable Greed [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I don't think they seek wealth so much as they do POWER. Wealth in this case is merely a means of keeping score. (If I have more money than you have then I am more powerful than you are.) This is as true with the 1% on Wall Street as it is with the dictators of the world.
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#19775 - 12/20/11 06:53 AM Re: Inexplicable Greed [Re: joemikeb]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
I don't think they seek wealth so much as they do POWER.

Good point. A common denominator with the dictators seems to be that they were all feared and went to great lengths to ensure people were afraid of them (secret police forces, torture). I suppose there's no better way to feel powerful than to make sure people are afraid of you.

And I guess there is also a parallel with the Wall Street 1%. They may not have torture chambers but they certainly could, using their high-priced lawyers, bring financial ruin to anyone crossing their path.
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ryck

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#19777 - 12/20/11 09:14 AM Re: Inexplicable Greed [Re: ryck]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: ryck
... they were all feared and went to great lengths to ensure people were afraid of them (secret police forces, torture). I suppose there's no better way to feel powerful than to make sure people are afraid of you.

And I guess there is also a parallel with the Wall Street 1%. They ... certainly could ... bring financial ruin to anyone crossing their path.

It seems to me that a dictator's primary reason to suppress the population is to stop it from going after him, and making it fear him clearly helps toward that goal. They pick their fights by going only after some of those who're insufficiently im-/suppressed, and that in turn has the side effect of cowing almost everyone else into submission. Ruthlessness here really is a form of expediency. A sense of power seems more of a (welcome?) side effect than the main goal, although I grant you the occasional exception.

As to Wall Street, I don't consider the parallel all that hypothetical: by abusing its position the Street arguably did (and still does) bring financial ruin to many of those they deal with/prey upon. It's drive for profit maximization has become dangerously excessive and appears to overrule basic concerns for its clients. Its veneer of legality has eroded somewhat, but its policy makers still aren't held to the same account as you or I, nor does it look like that's going to change any time soon, even after their latest exploits. That sure is frightening.
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#19785 - 12/20/11 02:41 PM Re: Inexplicable Greed [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
I don't think they seek wealth so much as they do POWER. Wealth in this case is merely a means of keeping score. (If I have more money than you have then I am more powerful than you are.) This is as true with the 1% on Wall Street as it is with the dictators of the world.

There's a great line in Michael Stanley's "Midwest Midnight:"

Quote:
[...] chasin' for fame keeps 'em all in the game, but money's still the way they keep score [....]

On the other hand, though, hidden wealth doesn't represent power; it's the ability to create it does.
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Moderator:  alternaut, cyn