A Culture of Greed

Money“The fault is our greed and if we are not willing to change, we will disappear from the face of the globe, to be replaced by the insect.”  Jacques Yves Cousteau

GREED is a challenge for everyone.  I become greedy when faced with lemon pie.  Seriously, I want the biggest piece even if you get less, or none.

Greed is also rampant in our financial institutions.  Just five years after the onset of the global financial crisis, a recent study shows that the moral codes, rules and standards governing the financial sector’s conduct are frequently not put into practice. Writer Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times reports that new research on Wall Street’s industry insiders and ethical conduct, to be released July 23, finds the financial sector’s commitment to ethics, values and integrity may largely be lip service.

“Of 250 industry insiders from dozens of financial companies who responded to questions — traders, portfolio managers, investment bankers, hedge fund professionals, financial analysts, investment advisers, among others — 23 percent said that “they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace.”

The research was conducted by a partner of law firm Labaton Sucharow, Jordan A. Thomas, a former assistant director and assistant chief litigation counsel in the enforcement division of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The results reveal that ethical challenges may be prevalent in the field of finance:

  • 24 percent said they would “engage in insider trading to make $10 million if they could get away with it.”
  • 26 percent of respondents said they “believed the compensation plans or bonus structures in place at their companies incentivize employees to compromise ethical standards or violate the law.”
  • 17 percent said they expected “their leaders were likely to look the other way if they suspected a top performer engaged in insider trading and 15 percent doubted that their leadership, upon learning of a top performer’s crime, would report it to the authorities.”

Of the people that drive the financial engine of our economy, which can be trusted?

  • 28 percent of respondents felt that “the financial services industry does not put the interests of clients first.”
  • 52 percent said they “believed it was likely that their competitors have engaged in illegal or unethical activity in order to be successful.”
  • 89 percent “indicated a willingness to report wrongdoing” yet few do.

How greedy and dishonest will the next generation of financiers be?

  • 38 percent  of respondents with under 10 years of experience said they would commit insider trading for $10 million if they wouldn’t be caught

The article sites a study called “Economics Education and Greed”published in 2011 by professors at Harvard and Northwestern that showed how an education in economics may be making the problem worse.  “The results show that economics education is consistently associated with positive attitudes towards greed,” the authors wrote. “The uncontested dominance of self-interest maximization as the primary (if not sole) logic of exchange, in business schools and corporate settings alike, may lead people to be more tolerant of what other people see as morally reprehensible.”

While at the S.E.C.,  Thomas of Labaton Sucharow helped develop a $500 million whistle-blower program that pays 10 to 30 percent of penalties collected to the whistle blower at the S.E.C.  Regardless of the $450 million remaining in the fund, Thomas observed “We are seeing a culture of silence. There’s an unwillingness to come forward.”

The article concludes by stating that greed, for far too many, is still considered good in the financial culture.

The good news!
Greed can be healed.  Anxiety, stress eating and sugar cravings have ruled my life.  I literally sugar-coat trauma.  However, through hypnosis and other healing modalities with Dr. Sharon Forrest, I discovered that my craving for sugar comes from a subconscious desire for more sweetness in life.  The solution is to “become” the sweetness, find it within, and stop seeking it from outside of me.

Each challenge in life is an opportunity for learning and growth.  When you rise above adversity in this lifetime, the next one will exclude those same lessons.  Whether your craving is for sugar, power, or quick cash and an easy escape from life’s challenges, greed hurts everyone and must be overcome.  Once you recognize you have a problem, you can fix it.  We’re all in this together.  We’re literally connected in a cosmic field. When one hurts, we all hurt.  Similarly, when one heals, we all heal.

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”  Who is thine neighbor?  Him that ye may aid in whatsoever way that he, thy neighbor, thy brother, has been troubled.  Help him to stand on his own feet.  For such may only know the acceptable way.  The weakling, the unsteady, must enter into the crucible and become as naught, even as He, that they may know the way. I, Halaliel, have spoken.  ~Halaliel, an Angel who spoke through Edgar Cayce, believed responsible for the governance of laws of karma among humans