Springingtiger's Blog


How Many Houses Do You Need?

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Recently Amar Bose died, his obituary in the Telegraph   contains an interesting quotation, “Company directors who pay themselves dividends get enjoyment out of the money, but I wouldn’t have that,” he said.“It’s not that I’m a good person. I am just doing what I enjoy the most. I don’t want a second house, I have one car, and that’s enough. These things don’t give me pleasure, but thinking about great little ideas gives me real pleasure.” (Amar Bose)

Some time ago Neelam bought the DVD of a film of which I had not heard, “I Am” by the director Tom Shadyac, I am pleased to say I have finally watched it. After a serious accident Shadyac reevaluated his life and what was important to him and out of that came this film wherein he travels the world asking prominent thinkers two questions, “What is wrong with the World?” and, “How can I change it?” By reference to scientific research the film made it clear that greed is unnatural, all creatures are genetically predisposed to act communally. However the, “greed is good” philosophy has been propagated by a minority of self interested individuals. The promotion of self interest over the needs of the community is seen by many cultures as a mental illness.

I am not going to condemn anyone for having more than one house, I have a retired friend who lives for six months a year in Greece and six in Glasgow, to do that in hotels would be exorbitant for anyone but the rich, and why should simple pleasures be denied ordinary people? On the other hand how many houses do most of us need, how many cars can we drive at once? How much does anyone need to be happy? Recently I read that Keanu Reeves had signed away much of his income for the Matrix films to the special effects team  In one report. he is quoted as saying he had enough money to last him several centuries.   

There are many, like Andrew Carnegie, who have ensured their good fortune has been shared by many. I, for one, would begrudge no one the full fruit of their honest toil by hand or by brain. However there are many whose toil is not honest, and many remunerated far beyond their worth who should hang their heads in shame, but instead grub for every penny they can. The banking and political scandals of recent years are but the tip of the iceberg, the financial industry has been repeatedly found wanting. There is a mindset among our senior management that high salaries and bonuses are a right, a right they deny to their employees.

It is said that, “There is enough for every person’s need, but not for every person’s greed”. It has also been said that, “Property is theft”. The world has enough resources to support us all, if we use them responsibly. As long as a few people abrogate to themselves the right to exploit the world’s resources for their own personal gain at the expense of both their fellows and of future generations, then, however legal their activities, they are thieves; as long as people are dying for want of the resources these few hoard, they are murderers. The politicians who pass the laws that allow them to exploit others are also murderers,  the heads of state who sign the laws into the statute book, they too are murderers.

Every child who dies while you have more than you need is the victim of your greed.

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