Selfishness and Greed
When I first starting writing the answer to this post I was on campus. I quickly realized that I had no idea. I had ideas, but no idea, if that makes sense. I decided to think about it on my walk home. I am glad I did – although I don’t know that I am much closer to an answer.
The topic is what is the most important issue. I think in order to find what the most important issue(s) is/are, we need to start at the ideal state – a state where there are no poor.
The gap between the ideal, just mentioned, and the current state of matter is obviously very large – that is why we are all here. The issues range from financial poverty, lack of education, malnourishment, sickness, disease, unemployment, slavery, poor sanitation, environmental degradation, and the list goes on. Many of these can be thought of as a lack of something. Yet it seems like the earth (and mankind) have never been so productive. The problem is not in how much we have of something – it is in the distribution.
Even food experts agree. The earth is currently producing more per person than ever before (too lazy to look up the source, but I am 95% this is true). I also know from my research in the oil and gas industry this summer that there are plenty of resources to last (oil & gas for at least another 100 years, and other alternative methods are abundant, just more expensive with current technology). GDP per capita has never been higher around the world (with the exception of a few African countries where it has stayed fairly constant or slightly dipped due to war and famine). The human race, as a whole, is many many times richer than we have ever been before.
At the same time, however, disparity has never been so large. Poverty has been around. I would imagine ever since there have been men on the earth. Although globalization has accelerated change and brought on new issues, many of the issues have been the same through time – or at least I would imagine. So, if distribution is the problem, why? My first thought is selfishness and greed. I think this is fundamental to the world’s problems. If people really did care about one another more than, or even as much as, themselves, I think that most of the worlds problems would not exist.