Posts Tagged ‘greed’

I’m Struggling – How Can I Help You?

November 25, 2008

USA Today reports that companies across the country are slashing bonuses, severance packages and pay raises.  40% of surveyed companies plan to reduce the amount allotted for raises in 09 and 62% say they will be giving smaller bonuses than last year.  The number of companies holding holiday parties is the lowest in reportable history.  American Express just canceled its annual year-end bash.  Companies that normally avoid any layoffs are now compiling lists of who will be let go.  Last Friday Focus on the Family announced they are eliminating 202 jobs, the biggest layoff in their history. 

But here’s the unexpected twist.  Many charities are seeing an increase in generosity.  In Seattle, Boeing Co. employees tripled their cash donations this year to Northwest Harvest, operator of Washington’s largest food bank. And every week, Northwest Harvest spokeswoman Claire Acey says, companies are calling to say their employees have decided to skip their holiday party and buy food for the hungry instead.  History shows that the stock market has a relatively small impact on charitable giving.  World Vision is predicting that 2008 could actually be a better-than-usual Christmas for the nation’s charitable organizations.

Justin Greeves, VP of Harris Interactive (a giving tracking organization) says that “in a year when people are having trouble meeting basic needs, giving by individuals usually increases.”   Companies decide that instead of a lavish party, they’ll help those in need.  Families decide that instead of more electronic toys, they’ll group their funds and give a charitable gift to another family in where perhaps there has been a job loss. 

It appears that if we have too much, we become greedy and hoarders.  If we are struggling ourselves, we seem to be more willing to share what little we do have.  Maybe this will be a good year after all.

Are you making money?

July 7, 2008

This morning I read in one of my business magazines that it costs the government 1.67 cents to make a penny.  Somehow that struck me as totally absurd.  How could they possibly justify making pennies when each one costs them 1.67 cents?  Now you and I are not the US government.  We have to make our businesses make sense.  We can’t just tax our customers more to cover our mistakes and inefficiencies.

(I might add here that even if you are an “employee,” you are in business for yourself.  You must provide a valuable service for your employer or you will not continue to be paid.  If it costs your employer to have you around, he should release you to go bring value somewhere else.)

Another way to “make” money is to use sophisticated copy machines to reproduce counterfeit money.  Of course, that’s illegal and will land you in prison.

Actually, we don’t “make” money – we “earn” money.  When you hold a dollar bill in your hand you should see it as a certificate of achievement.  You provided a service or product that someone valued more than that dollar.  There is nothing shameful about it.  You had to serve someone to receive that dollar. 

So it appears there are numerous ways to get money:

  • You can make money the way the government does – going in the hole on each penny you make.  Or just take it from someone who has gotten it honestly.
  • You can make counterfeit money – and risk going to jail.
  • You can beg for money or expect luck to bring it your way – expecting free money from the government, the lottery, good fortune, or the charity of those who earned it.
  • Or you can earn your money by providing a valuable product or service to someone else. 

Governments and churches re-distribute wealth; they don’t create it. Giving people money they did not earn only destroys their self-esteem and leads them to an unhealthy dependency.  The only real win-win solution is to teach people how to earn money.  Earning money creates wealth for all involved.  Earning money is a privilege – and in the process we have obviously provided a service for a boss, customer or client.

Don’t try to “make” money.  Just be clear on your unique value and people will gladly give you their money.  If you understand this principle you will understand that wanting wealth is not greed – it’s looking for more ways to be of service to those around you.