Sunday, January 11, 2009

The wages of greed

TRUE enough, the wages of greed are far worse and more widespread than the evils of war. This was the thought of the Holy Father’s Christmas Message which was propounded in his traditional message for the World Day of Peace on New Year’s Day.

Poverty, among others, is the byproduct of greed. Interestingly, as early as 1951 the Philippine Bishops in their Joint Statement at the close the Holy Year already painted the gruesome face of poverty in the country.

“Grinding poverty is a blighting disease. It eats away the very core of man. It makes him an inferior producer, unskilled in the technical arts which augment public prosperity. It makes him an inferior citizen, incapable of offering a man’s full contribution to the social and political well-being of the community…It makes him in the full and awful sense a poor man, subnormal, subhuman. He is too poor to help himself, so poor that others pass him by,” wrote the Philippines bishops five decades ago.

And yet making every Filipino become even poorer has been the craft mastered by most politicians in the part of the earth. Ah, greed, it’s the moving force that goads people to file certificates of candidacy all the way up to Malacañang. It’s the very stuff that drives voters to sell their luck, too. Perhaps, it’s likewise the force that makes honorable men want to change the charter.

Amidst poverty, which in this country is as endemic as corruption, every government program is suspect and ultimately becomes a sham. In truth, even the higher values of freedom and democracy become preposterous when the only other option is to survive the mortal clutches of paucity.

“Hell has three gates: lust, anger, and greed,” says Bhagavad Gita. If we keep electing people who are congenitally driven with the latter, then we are perpetually condemned to suffer the wages of greed.

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