Most of the ills of our society can be traced to lop-sided rewards – some work hard for a living while others make-off with ill-gotten wealth. The famous saying – Behind every great fortune, there is a crime – is mostly true; also Gandhi’s words – there is everything in this world to meet our needs, but not the greed! The society becomes unjust, the moment it condones injustices, allowing some to go scot-free with ill-gotten wealth. It becomes a virus and soon it overpowers reason, breaking-up even families by this all-consuming passion to get ahead of others, at any cost.
How much is enough? Not all are Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, heeding a higher calling to give most away to the needy across the world. True charity is to give till it hurts, not just writing a check once in a while; even to seek publicity. None will grudge just rewards for the efforts put in, but not to the extent of thumbing noses at society. All are entitled to a decent life & just rewards. Communism had great ideals like – from each, according to ability; to each, according to his needs. But even dyed-in-the-wool communists could not resist special privileges & exclusivity! The leaders & their hangers-on became the privileged few, everywhere. The poor man in the street always gets the raw end of justice, whatever the political system! The saying that there were always the rich & the poor, from the very beginning, proves true always.
The rich tend to become impervious to the needs of the poor & get better opportunities as they go up the ladder. They are in power centers to receive choicest pickings, much ahead of others; they have advisors highlighting grey areas of law to keep ill-gotten wealth stashed away even in far-away lands. Ironically, such wealth is hidden from everyone else and enriches those who are in cahoots with the greedy, be they be governments encouraging such nefarious activities or crime syndicates, on the prowl! It is easy money for some, but at the cost of those who are left cheated of the resources of the land, which should belong to them. The billions of Marcos & Saddam would never be traced properly & tend to disappear into thin air over time!
Indians also are supposed to have trillions of ill-gotten wealth in foreign banks. No government is willing to pursue such ill-gotten wealth, like America did with Swiss banks and with success. The reason is obvious; it will throw-up many skeletons from the cup-boards. If the owners of these accounts pass, the wealth would be in limbo as it is kept away from everyone else! What a bad karma for many who believe in reincarnation! Many can run away from the law & hungry hoards, but can anyone escape from own conscience?
Most ills of our world arise from plain greed, it does not spare anyone or country. China has accumulated reserves more than anyone else, but they are also liabilities of others! What guarantee the latter can honor their dues and even if they do, it could be by printing their currency! It is time we have a code of conduct, strictly enforced, to follow-up the ill-gotten wealth and limit the fall-outs to society in general. The moral fiber of society is attacked to the core, if some benefit endlessly & the governments cannot book the culprits.
Gates & Buffet are role models to the rich everywhere, as they undertake the thankless job of nudging some from their summits, by making them pledge most of the wealth to charity. Wealth accumulation becomes an end-in-itself, carried away by the ensuing perks, as nothing attracts flies more than honey. The rich becomes enslaved by the trappings of wealth and the society loses its moorings & focus. When governments can enforce corporate governance & accountability with Interpol etc., having the teeth & muscle to catch criminals, they should also cooperate to curb the virus of ill-gotten wealth, as billionaires sprout anywhere, in double quick time, from places one hardly associate with for such proliferation! Encourage the work ethics, but curb unbridled greed with effective systems to catch the culprits.