"Oops!" I said.
"Yes, without food people will starve to death," the man continued. "No one can change the physical reality. It takes many years to recreate a fertile grain culture globally, in which the harvests will supply the seeds for the next year's crop."
At this point a man from the far side of the isle piped up with an amazing display of indigence. "You're all assholes ranting against greed. It's you who are the real Flat Earth Society. Greed is good, it makes the world go round. Greed works. You wouldn't be in an airplane if it wasn't for greed that built it. Greed is the best thing for civilization, because it cuts right through the crap, through laziness, apathy, and idleness, and such shit like socialism. Greed is the essence of the human spirit that strives to improve the world. Greed is competition. It is life, money, love, knowledge. Greed is the driver for the upwards surge of mankind towards the betterment of life. Everybody wants more and more. It's an expression of being human. It's those without greed that remain poor and must ask for handouts. That's the real world. But you wouldn't know anything about that, would you?"
The man next to Fred just laughed. "Greed is also the motivator for the oil wars and the imperial wars that killed great masses for centuries and keeps on killing mankind. It was greed that gave us World War I and World War II. Greed killed 100 million people. That's how good greed is. Greed is now giving us more of the same. It is giving us depleted uranium dirty bombs, because it's dirt cheap to pack nuclear waste into bombs by the millions. Why would anyone put down a fortune to reprocess spent nuclear-reactor fuel and store the waste of it in secure facilities when it is so easy to fashion the mess into dirty bombs and rake in big profits? Yes, it's all about money. Greed is about money. But the cost of greed in destroyed human lives, in destroyed industries and civilization, isn't even a factor in the service of greed. We shut our industries down in America and use slave labor in the poor countries to produce cars for us, while we throw our own workers onto the scrap heap. That's how 'good' greed is. What you hail as a panacea is a crime against humanity. The massive looting of society that has been globalized in today's world is a killer. And this part is still the softest aspect of the crime."
An elderly lady stopped in the isle near the man who had idealized greed. She got into the act. She raised her hand and pointed a finger at him. "I heard your ranting," she said to him. She paused, as if to search for words. "You should be ashamed," she said to the man. "But I suppose you aren't ashamed, because you don't know what greed looks like. Let me tell you what it looks like. And it isn't pretty. We had 'consultants' come to our town, beating the door down of our city hall. They came with greedy eyes, rosy speeches, and promises that were too good to be true. Their goal was to force a corporate takeover of our water supply system. And they won. They were persistent. Their trick was to bring in expert 'management.' They argued in their speeches that 'dictatorial powers' would be needed to mobilize our community into a new era of prosperity, all doing what is right. Yes, it was all very prosperous for them. They paid themselves 90% of the municipal revenue in consulting fees and left 10% to run the government operation. But that wasn't enough for them. They also quickly doubled the water bills to pay for some dubious improvements. They raised the rates to the point that some people couldn't pay, who then had their water turned off. Since this caused an uproar, they attached the water bills to the property taxes, and those who couldn't pay the swollen taxes lost their houses to the auctioneer. That's the real face of greed. They call it privatization. I call it robbery by greed. They literally forced some long-term resident, mostly the elderly, to pack up and leave town, and to do it quietly after they lost everything. Greed creates robbers; that's all I can say. That's what I have seen. And by all accounts it has always been that way. Greed has never done any good. All the good that we enjoy came from honest people. Did Einstein discover what he discovered, being driven by greed, or did he enrich the world free of charge because it is the human thing to do? It is humanity's joy to create and to discover and to build a brighter world to live in. If mankind had nothing but greed to motivate itself we would not have a civilization on this planet, but an endless dark age. So who is the real member of the Flat Earth Society here? It is he who lives in a dream like you do, and thinks that this dream is the real world. In the real world greed is recognized as fascism, and fascism as greed, and it is understood that never shall the twain be found apart, for they are one..."
The woman was stopped in her speech by the flight attendant. "This is a Soviet aircraft," the lady attendant said to the woman. "Technically you are on Soviet territory where Soviet laws apply. You should be more careful. What you are saying might be deemed illegal."
"What do you mean with saying that speaking the truth might be illegal?" said the woman. "I am speaking the truth!"
"That's just my point," said the lady attendant quietly. "Don't forget, you are not in America."
The woman just laughed. "I wouldn't be saying this in America. I may be senile, but I'm not crazy."
"Let's tone this down!" Fred intervened. "I know greed is an emotional issue with people who have been taught all of their life to be greedy. They hear it from the pulpit and they hear it in the kitchen, and so they bend and play the game. They even hear it in the dance hall. To be greedy in love is OK. Get the best trophy as a wife that you can, and then display your trophy with pride in public and at private parties. And at work, boy, you better be greedy. You want the top job, the top dollar, you want it all, and for that you want the corporation to succeed. The corporation has become the citadel of greed. It's probably done by design as a means to destroy the humanity of the employees so that the game moves forward unhindered, always pushing onto the public at a huge price what the public really doesn't need or want, and had lived perfectly without, until instructed to think otherwise. There is no kindness left in business, almost none, and no love, consideration, and compassion. Business is ruled by the logic of the bottom line. The corporations are by nature bottom-feeders; sharks of the sewer." Fred burst out into laughter as he said this.
'Greed is a disease, not a virtue," said the elderly woman to the man that she addressed before. "Greed is more addictive than gambling, and like gambling, it never satisfies."
The man next to Fred hailed the woman. "Don't we all know this symptom that we see when society gets greed-sick? The first symptom is an explosion in homelessness, unemployment. The symptom of the disease comes packed as a bundle with the forced privatization of the nation's wealth. Privatization is the modern new feudalism, invented to grind out a profit from society. I hear that America plans to privatize its highways and its bridges, its water and its hospitals and whatever public enterprises still exist, including the army and also the government that already dances by the tune of the payola. And why shouldn't they privatize it all? These are little things. The masters of empire have already taken our freedoms away. They own the houses in which we live, and they control our food. Soon they will also possess all of our water to the last drop. Only the air remains free for the time being, and that they aim to pollute until it becomes unfit to breathe. That's the face of the New World Order, my friends. The New World Order is not a man, or an institution. It is greed ruling the greedy, and they all cry together with one voice, 'oh boy don't we love life in the sewer!'"
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