The Great Money Delusion

The Great Money DelusionThe capitalist system in western society has caused many of us to become addicted to wealth and be dominated by the pursuit of money and power.

This is at the expense of fairness, sharing and compassion. We are all constantly being measured, to all intents and purposes, by what we own or what we earn, rather than who we really are as a person.

A society that has sacrificed so much to material wealth that it has forgotten the human heart and the best of human aspirations, degenerates into something compassionless, doctrinaire, ignorant and ultra-conservative. When this happens, fundamental solutions to the issues of that society become impossible. If we protect the truth and are resolute, we are capable of creating peace and prosperity, and the truth that we should be protecting has to be high and great.

The great truth of Nichiren Buddhism, the thing that we must do our utmost to protect, involves ethics and the very best of human nature. At the very heart of this lies our duty to protect the truth of life, the truth that we are all one with the universe, and that every single human thought contains the entirety of universal life.

The sooner we realise that this addiction is destroying our human nature, the sooner we can start to right the injustices in society. Failure to take steps to redress the balance of wealth will result in more of the kind of riots and protests we saw across the country in the last few years. We all knock the bankers for their greed and avarice, but we are all to blame to a greater or lesser extent for letting the system continue, and we must do better.

If you would like to help change the way money is controlled and how it dictates the structure of society, you might like to join Positive Money and find out how money really circulates. We need to change the money mechanism in order to make the world a fairer place. The sooner that process begins, the better for all (but the richest) of us.

Ironic Or What?

The Barn Of FollyIt’s a fairly well known fact that 90% of the wealth of the UK is in the hands of 10% of the population, which is a shocking state of affairs in my opinion.

Of course it’s fairly easy to be shocked when you aren’t one of the 10%, but it got me wondering whether I would be any more benevolent if I were.

You may remember the fable about the rich farmer who, having grown his crops, decided that he needed to store it somewhere safe, so that the peasants of the area couldn’t get their thieving hands on any of it. So he set about building a huge barn, and made it secure so it kept out the riff-raff.

It must have taken him quite a while to build it, but finally it was finished, and he was happy that his crops would now be safe. Of course, there was far more than he would ever need himself, but he locked it all away and hoarded it for his old age. Ironically, the night the barn was finished, he died in his sleep.

So the adage that ‘you can’t take it with you’ is anything but new. So I suppose the lesson from the story is, if you have enough of anything, money, food, whatever, you are fortunate. If you have more than enough, you are more than fortunate, and you might consider sharing some of it with others less fortunate, particularly in these austere times.

Isn’t It Ironic?

The Barn Of FollyIt’s a fairly well known fact that 90% of the wealth of the UK is in the hands of 10% of the population, which is a shocking state of affairs in my opinion.

Of course it’s fairly easy to be shocked when you aren’t one of the 10%, but it got me wondering whether I would be any more benevolent if I were.

You may remember the fable about the rich farmer who, having grown his crops, decided that he needed to store it somewhere safe, so that the peasants of the area couldn’t get their thieving hands on any of it. So he set about building a huge barn, and made it secure so it kept out the riff-raff.

It must have taken quite a while to build it, but finally it was finished, and he was happy that his crops would now be safe. Of course, there was far more than he could ever need himself, but he locked it all away and hoarded it for his old age. Ironically, the night the barn was finished, he died in his sleep.

So the adage that ‘you can’t take it with you’ is anything but new. So I suppose the lesson from the story is, if you have enough of anything, money, food, whatever, you are fortunate. If you have more than enough, you are more than fortunate, and you might consider sharing some of it with others less fortunate, particularly in these austere times.

Enough Is Enough

The Barn Of FollyIt’s a fairly well known fact that 90% of the wealth of the UK is in the hands of 10% of the population, which is a shocking state of affairs in my opinion.

Of course it’s fairly easy to be shocked when you aren’t one of the 10%, but it got me wondering whether I would be any more benevolent if I were.

You may remember the fable about the rich farmer who, having grown his crops, decided that he needed to store it somewhere safe, so that the peasants of the area couldn’t get their thieving hands on any of it. So he set about building a huge barn, and made it secure so it kept out the riff-raff.

It must have taken quite a while to build it, but finally it was finished, and he was happy that his crops would now be safe. Of course, there was far more than he could ever need himself, but he locked it all away and hoarded it for his old age. Ironically, the night the barn was finished, he died in his sleep.

So the adage that ‘you can’t take it with you’ is anything but new. So I suppose the lesson from the story is, if you have enough of anything, money, food, whatever, you are fortunate. If you have more than enough, you are more than fortunate, and you might consider sharing some of it with others less fortunate, particularly in these austere times.

Class, My Ass

The Class SystemDriving back from Reading tonight, following a great day with my son, his fiancée and his mum, I was listening to Radio 4. Following a rather interesting program about credit, the good and evil aspects of borrowing and the social stigma of bad debt, there was an article about the BBC part-sponsored, BBC Lab UK’s Great British Class Survey.

I had heard about the new classes, seven in all, that had been observed, following the compilation of the survey, in which over 161,000 people took part. The seven classes range from the Elite, the most privileged group, set apart from other classes because of wealth. Highest scoring economically, socially and culturally, to the newly classified Precariat the poorest, most deprived class who score low economically, socially and culturally.

I’m not convinced about all this, so I decided to conduct my own little one man survey, to see whether it stood up to scrutiny. I went to the BBC Class Calculator page and entered my current details, with all the financial, social and cultural options. I came out as an Emergent Service Worker, who are typically young, have little money, but are very social and cultural. Well they got the bit about little money right at least.

Then I entered my details from a few years back, before I was made redundant, lost my home and my marriage failed. The social and cultural options haven’t changed, only the earnings and the property, but amazingly I used to be Elite.

It is complete twaddle. Money doesn’t give you class, nor does losing it take your class away. All this little test proved was that we, as a society, value people far more for what they earn and own, than who and what they are as people. I know several people who don’t really have two pennies to rub together, yet they ooze class. On the other hand, I know lots of people who have more money than sense and who wouldn’t have any class even if they could buy it.

Why don’t we try to conduct another survey, where people’s class is measured by their sociability, their altruism, their compassion and their caring for those around them. That’s what gives a person class, not obscene amounts of filthy lucca tucked away in tax havens, or tied up in second and third homes, pushing prices still further out of the reach of the people who really need them.

We are being governed and controlled by those people who are, by and large, in the Elite class, and who will do their utmost to keep themselves there, not to say, keep the rest of us as far down the ladder as they possibly can. The UKIP results this week may be a protest vote, but by all that’s holy, it’s time for a serious shake up in the way this country is structured.

The Wealth Delusion

False ValuesSitting reading William Woollard’s book Buddhism and the Science of Happiness, he talks about the way western society has become addicted to wealth and is dominated by the pursuit of money and power. This is at the expense of fairness, sharing and compassion. We have become, to all intents and purposes, what we earn or own rather than who we really are as a person.

A society that has sacrificed so much to material wealth that it has forgotten the human heart and the best of human aspirations, degenerates into something compassionless, doctrinaire, ignorant and ultra-conservative. When this happens, fundamental solutions to the issues of that society become impossible. If we protect the truth and are resolute, we are capable of creating peace and prosperity, and the truth that we should be protecting has to be high and great.

The great truth of Nichiren Buddhism, the thing that we must do our utmost to protect, involves ethics and the very best of human nature. At the very heart of this lies our duty to protect the truth of life, the truth that we are all one with the universe, and that every single human thought contains the entirety of universal life.

The sooner we realise that this addiction is destroying our human nature, the sooner we can start to right the injustices in society. Failure to take steps to redress the balance of wealth will result in more of the kind of riots we saw across the country last year. We all knock the bankers for their greed and avarice, but we are all to blame to a greater or lesser extent and we must do better.

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