People are known to be selfish and greedy in today’s world. The usual criticisms leveled at today’s society are aimed at its promotion of the twin evils of selfishness and greed. We hear about the degeneration of society all around us, with children committing heinous crimes and families falling apart. Is this, however, a fair assessment? After all, to say that there is nothing positive about people today appears to be an exaggeration. I will attempt to demonstrate that, while the assertion in the question has some validity, it cannot be accepted as the entire picture.
Greed has a biological foundation. It does, however, have a stronger social foundation. This distinguishes it from self-preservation and reproduction. To investigate greed and how it fits into human sociology, we must begin at the beginning. Greed is defined as an extreme or excessive desire for resources, particularly property such as money, real estate, or other wealth symbols. We run into two issues here: defining excessive and defining wealth, particularly in terms of human psychology.
Greed has taken hold of our society, infiltrating the government, the marketplace, and even our homes. It creates a schism between one’s moral compass and one’s relationships. It can linger in the minds of its victims like a dark plague, a relentless desire to acquire more and give less.
One cannot deny that people today are less likely to want to reach out in friendship and goodwill to others. Long have stories circulated about how, for example, in Malaysia, urban dwellers are now more likely to close their doors against their neighbors in times of trouble. Many neighborhoods fear covetous people and, as a result, prefer self-preservation over community assistance. However, this cannot be viewed solely as selfishness, but rather as a desperate attempt to protect their lives in an increasingly violent society. In America, even a family-run fast food restaurant like McDonald’s had been the site of a number of shootings by enraged and deranged civilians. Can you really blame these people for barricading themselves?
Selfishness has played a significant role in creating tension even in prestigious learning institutions such as universities. A good example is a local university, where recommended books for subjects have been known to have critical pages ripped out to prevent others from sharing the same knowledge. This extreme selfishness can be traced back to the rat race, or the competition to obtain the best paper qualifications in order to get a head start in their career.
Because there is no balance achieved through the effective installation of moral values and ethics, many graduates enter the working world with a plethora of practical money-making ideas but few scruples. Their only concern is to make more and more money. This is an unfortunate reality for many people today.
However, one cannot deny that the world has seen some instances of goodness in recent years. When the plight of a foreign worker who had been dumped in a drain by his heartless employer and left to die was widely publicized in Malaysian newspapers, many Malaysians stepped forward to offer comfort, encouragement, and material gifts. Despite being paralyzed, as a result, the Bangladeshi national never stopped expressing his gratitude for the people’s concern and willingness to help a stranger. In an increasingly callous world, such acts of kindness have served as beacons of hope. There are still acts of kindness.
As a result, to say that people today are selfish and greedy is a broad generalization that cannot be applied to everyone everywhere.