Mitigating Greed

Since capital flow (as in: the ways in which money moves through the systems designed for money to move) is blind to ethics, morals, locality, race, attitude, desire, aesthetics, etc., it is our responsibility to instill and impart these ideas when designing systems within which capital flows. From a programming perspective, greed is a vicious malware that has been embedded into society since the dawn of human culture. As a social function, greed promotes the desires of the few outweighing the needs of the many. Greed is also an agent of the falsehood that somehow, individual people are inherently “better” or “lesser” than others, as if we are not all genetic rolls of the natural selection dice. Greed demands a hierarchy. Because contemporary society, at large, generally defines the current “necessities” of the time (i.e. the addition, over time, of electricity and internet access to the index of necessities in the modern developed world), greed is potentially manifest in any economic event wherein one party stands to personally gain more than what’s contemporaneously considered “necessary” from the transaction, despite intention. Beyond the simple threshold of “sufficient”, it is simply a matter of degree by which greed may be measured. 

When we consider the system of capitalism-as-usual, it facilitates continual occurrences of greed by default. Not only are profits absorbed by top-level executives while wages are doled out to the working class at pitifully low rates, but the basic business ideology of profit-maximization centers on efficiency, not sustainability. There is no limit of sufficient, only levels of more. Excessive extraction is locally harmful while hierarchy breeds inequality. Nevertheless, there is no dismantling of this type of capitalism-as-usual as it is the system upon which society, at large, has been built. Thus, one of the only available solutions at this point in time (since a “hard reset” is unfeasible) is progressive mitigation through the introduction of new elements; adjustments to the environment

Mitigating the harm that capitalism-as-usual does, can do, and will continue to do is a logical and achievable aspiration. From our vantage point, most of capitalism-as-usual’s harm is seen and felt through wage labor (this includes you, salaried workers!) The people who do the literal physical labor of the job at hand are paid the least, treated the worst and consistently suffer economically at the hands of their own employers. Moreover the groups who suffer the most from wage labor are commonly those who are already part of a historically disadvantaged community in other respects. Systemic poverty and systemic racism are all symptoms of capitalism’s innate inequity. 

And so, mitigation. Oftentimes, the easiest, simplest solution demands the most from and is the most difficult for the individual’s ego, that’s why such elegant solutions are so infrequently exercised among humans. Put another way for our context herein, the easiest solution is frequently the most difficult thing to ask of someone who aspires to be part of the business industry, and that asked thing is to simply not be as greedy as possible, which can actually be a crippling handicap in the cutthroat environment of capitalism-as-usual.

When a society or a group of aspirational business leaders seeks to prioritize the well-being of the whole of their community over the power-hungry, wealth-seeking urge of the self, the most critical demand is to address the equitable sharing of the business’ profits among every person who contributes to the business in any way, shape or form. This means that the business must be lean, trim, fast and agile. This also means that the people who become “Members” (not employees) of said business all must agree that profits are to be shared each pay-out term. This, then, also means that each Member must pull his/her/their own weight in the eyes and judgments of all the other Members. This “style” of business operations, referred to as a LOPSIII (pronounced lop-see; acronym for: Locally Owned, Profit-Sharing, Income Inequality Inhibitor), is organized so that every participating Member and Manager within the business is compensated through the same share-based payout system, with a few possible exceptions for contract work and other ancillary modes of productivity as to be determined by the collective Members of said business themselves. Distributing earnings in this way prevents the special treatment and compensation of select individuals, which is a primary driver of wealth stratification.   

As a fundamental quality inherent (non-exclusively) among humans, greed will always be present in the future of human society. And since we all suffer from greed at different times for different reasons, it never hurts to create systems wherein being generous is the status quo, and the ethical distribution of economic profit continues to operate by design, even when we’re feeling greedy.

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