When greed rules the world

Fellow, Centre For Shariah, Law and Political Science, IKIM

Worldly people are prisoners to their wealth and are destined for ruin. Those who take in moderation from the world will escape destruction.

The American currency is like gold. Everybody wants it. Either you give it to me or you don’t get what you want.

This was the reply I received from a vendor when I refused to pay him in US dollars. It really disturbed me. The US dollar is so powerful that at times it dominates our lives and has become an empire on its own.

The original role of currency was to facilitate the transfer of goods and services. It was a medium of exchange where coins and paper bills were used as money.

Its role has shifted greatly in the modern world. Now currency is used as a commodity of trade and has presented the opportunity for vice and greed.

The end of World War II and the collapse of communism left the United States the only superpower in the world. Today, its currency as well as its domestic and foreign policies dictate the way countries around the world react.

British economist John Maynard Keynes was correct in saying “He who controls the currency controls the country”. It means a country’s ability to control currency empowers it to rule the world.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are using financial aid to interfere in the sovereignty of nations.

The US dollar, which is premised on the fiat system, is valuable because the White House, through the Federal Reserve, has ordered that it may be used to finance debt or to pay for goods and services.

The most important fact is that it is able to exist because people “trust” that the US dollar will be reasonably stable. It is like credit controlled by the creditor, in which the government’s central bank or federal reserve acts as the major creditor backing the currency.

Demand for the US dollar is ever present because peoples and governments “trust” the United States. In order to create demand, there must be a market to supply the currency.

Mere “trust” authorises and enables the US currency to dominate.

This “trust” empowers the White House to run the country while in deficit.

Other countries which govern in deficit but cannot survive, ending up heavily in debt to the World Bank and the IMF. They are paralysed by the foreign policy restrictions imposed on them.

By the same token, some countries are running a government in surplus with huge foreign reserves. Are they not as powerful as the United States?

I cannot imagine or comprehend how a company in deficit for a number of years can survive. Who helps this company to survive? Where does the money come from?

As of Feb 19, the US federal debt stood at US$10.802tril. Many countries hold huge amounts of US dollars in their banks, among them China, Japan, Britain, Russia, India, South Korea, Brazil, Singapore and Germany.

If the US currency loses its value, what will happen to the world?

The United States has a major responsibility to the world community. Peoples and governments around the world depend on and have high hopes for the way the United States handles its economy.

“Peoples’ trust” signifies an important diplomatic consequence. If the US dollar were to collapse, the consequences would be unimaginable.

The “trust” that people have in the US dollar must be compensated by acts of sincerity and responsibility, not by greed and self-centred selfishness.

Those who hold high office must always remember that the world is like fire. From a distance it looks bright and inviting. If one were to touch it, one would get burned.

Its appearance is different from reality. The same is true of the world.

Externally, the world is alluring, inviting dreams of comfort and ease. In reality, there is pain and suffering, anxiety and misfortune.

The world is like honey, and the worldly person is like the ant attracted to the honey, but gets caught in its sticky stratum. The harder it struggles to free itself, the more it becomes stuck.

Had it been content to simply sit at the edge and taste a little of the honey, it would have escaped death. Greed resulted in it losing its life.

In the same way, worldly people are prisoners to their wealth and are destined for ruin. Those who take from the world only what they have a genuine need for will escape destruction.

World governments have to understand that their duty is to protect their people and humanity in general from man-made destruction.

They must ensure the spirit of co-operation and respect among nations is observed. Greed, arrogance, intolerance and other vices must be avoided.

Greed is indeed one of the causes of all sorts of ethical problems facing society today. When greed rules a nation, it transforms society and the people become locked in disputes and dissent. Justice, security and stability are ignored.

The obsession with wealth accumulation places lives in jeopardy. Wealth is not all there is to life, nor does real happiness lie in amassing wealth. Nevertheless, many people make the mistake of believing that wealth is the most important thing in life.

They, therefore, waste the best years of their lives seeking wealth while depriving themselves of everything else. This is one reason behind many miseries.

We struggle to acquire material things , thinking that they are the way to happiness. In fact, if that is the end in itself, it can only lead to disappointment and deprivation.

History has it that in all great empires, their societies were strong and filled with purpose as they struggled to develop.

But even as their dreams of power were fulfilled, there was only emptiness. They became decadent, their societies began to decay from within, and their empires, ultimately collapsed.


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