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BS: Money & power: how much is enough?

Will Fly 12 Apr 16 - 01:57 PM
Senoufou 12 Apr 16 - 02:13 PM
keberoxu 12 Apr 16 - 02:28 PM
MikeL2 12 Apr 16 - 02:39 PM
Bill D 12 Apr 16 - 05:11 PM
Senoufou 12 Apr 16 - 05:52 PM
olddude 12 Apr 16 - 05:57 PM
akenaton 12 Apr 16 - 06:10 PM
Joe_F 12 Apr 16 - 06:11 PM
Jeri 12 Apr 16 - 06:20 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Apr 16 - 04:16 AM
G-Force 13 Apr 16 - 05:08 AM
Senoufou 13 Apr 16 - 07:03 AM
MikeL2 13 Apr 16 - 09:50 AM
MGM·Lion 13 Apr 16 - 10:21 AM
akenaton 13 Apr 16 - 10:36 AM
Will Fly 13 Apr 16 - 10:37 AM
MGM·Lion 13 Apr 16 - 11:02 AM
Will Fly 13 Apr 16 - 11:10 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Apr 16 - 11:22 AM
MGM·Lion 13 Apr 16 - 11:48 AM
Senoufou 13 Apr 16 - 01:00 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Apr 16 - 01:06 PM
keberoxu 13 Apr 16 - 01:22 PM
Senoufou 13 Apr 16 - 01:48 PM
keberoxu 13 Apr 16 - 02:03 PM
Will Fly 13 Apr 16 - 02:24 PM
Senoufou 13 Apr 16 - 02:30 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Apr 16 - 02:42 PM
Senoufou 14 Apr 16 - 06:13 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 16 - 06:29 AM
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Subject: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Will Fly
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 01:57 PM

The recent disclosures about Panama and the offshore accounts prompted me, as ever, to ask myself - yet again - the question: How much money and power does any individual actually need to live a happy and satisfying life?

The answer to that will obviously vary according to one's circumstances and where one lives, but I'm continually puzzled as to WHY people who have millions of pounds feel the need to squirrel it away and keep as much of it as possible - or why people like Rupert Murdoch or Berlusconi or Putin feel the constant need to own media, to control people, to acquire and acquire and acquire more and more and more.

I think I lead a reasonably happy life. I'm retired from the day job and own my own modest house. I have a partner and a son with his own family of small children - my lovely grandchildren. Our pensions aren't huge, but we can live comfortably, have a couple of weeks in France each year, eat out if we want to. I have a small but lovely stable of guitars and can make music every day of the week if I want to - much of it paid. I have great friends and a 30-year old Volvo 240 Estate - what could be better?

I ACTUALLY DON'T NEED ANY MORE.

Why do some of those with enormous wealth feel the need to acquire yet more? What's the motive - the driving force? I don't get it. Is it another form of addiction?


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Senoufou
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 02:13 PM

I think it probably is a form of addiction Will. A person who seeks power and wealth will never be satisfied. Enough is never enough.

I'm like you, perfectly happy with a modest lifestyle and a lovely environment. I take pleasure in things that cost virtually nothing - nature and wildlife, music, art, needlecraft and chatting to friends.

Having seen heartbreaking poverty and suffering in Africa, I wish those who are very rich would share in order to help the strugglers.

We visited Harrods in Knightsbridge last year and saw some headphones in a glass case, literally encrusted with diamonds. They were £20,000. We had to ask an assistant if it was a mistake, but no. That was the correct price. We both felt that was completely obscene. That sum would set up a small malaria clinic and save hundreds of lives.


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: keberoxu
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 02:28 PM

We've all heard the apocryphal reply, to this question, by John D Rockefeller:

'just a little more."


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: MikeL2
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 02:39 PM

Hi Will

To some people money is power and the more money greater is the power.
It is in many cases an addiction.

Like you we are happy with our family which consists of Children, Grand Children & Great Grand Children.

We live comfortably and within our means. We have good holidays and eat out at least once a week. I am able to afford my hobby of photography which can cost but I don't spend a lot these days.

My Jag went some years ago,as it just wasn't necessary.

Unfortunately some people are never happy with their lot.

I don't play music ( except for myself ) but I help out at a local school to help teach and advise young children. I don't get paid but I enjoy it and the kids seem also.

Regards

Mike


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 05:11 PM

"I think it probably is a form of addiction..."

I once participated in a 'group encounter' where the leader divided us into 3 groups of about 7-8 persons. He then distributed a bunch of colored poker chips to everyone, so that no one could see how many of each color anyone else had..... then he informed us that each color had a different value, like in poker. Then we played a game of pairing off with a member of another group and trying to make trades - offering say, two whites for one red....etc. Once everyone had made a trade, everyone added up their 'scores' and figured out the group total. One group was obviously ahead, and one group far behind.
   Then he said that for round two, the 'poor' group could offer a change in the rules... but the 'rich group had veto power. You can imagine how that went! The 'rich' group had one young man in it who treated the whole thing like it was a major business deal, and he schemed with his group to maximize their already large lead...
I thought about it, and when round two started, I just gave away my chips and sat down.

Finally, the leader explained that the whole game was fixed and that the chips had not been distributed fairly... as I had figured out..... and that he NEVER said what 'winning' would do. There were no prizes and no honor and no way to win unless you were in group 1. Still, some tried to beat all the others, even with no actual money involved.

I have seen similar behavior in sports, in highway driving, in all sorts of things... and it DOES become a habit & obsession with some to 'get ahead'. I often wonder if any of it is in DNA.


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Senoufou
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 05:52 PM

Wow Bill D, that sounds so similar to a daft 'team-building' day we were forced to spend as teachers on a Primary School staff. A chap arrived and began a game of 'Win As Much As You Can'. The idea seemed to be to trick your fellow team-members out of their counters (as the title of the game suggested) Some of my colleagues became completely obsessed as if their life depended on it. In fact, some began to shout and get quite aggressive. I'm proud to say that another lady and I immediately put our counters down, and quietly left the room. We went to our classrooms and just got on with some marking. We were labelled The Refuseniks, which we were quite pleased about! Some folk are just incorrigibly grabby I suppose.


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: olddude
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 05:57 PM

I have none of each and it's
EEnough for me


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: akenaton
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 06:10 PM

Yes I agree Dan, but unfortunately there are very many who are up to their eyes in credit to banks, payday lenders etc.

Then there is the huge urban underclass who rely on criminality to exist.

None of those who write on here are "poor" or know real poverty.
Over the last couple of years I have been in a position to observe poverty and criminality from close quarters....and it ain't pretty.

Financial aspiration isn't an addiction, it is a tactic, to keep the class system in operation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Joe_F
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 06:11 PM

I have everything I want that money can buy, and I am not "perfectly happy"; I am (like most people, I think) imperfectly unhappy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Jeri
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 06:20 PM

I think people play games. Sometimes, they're kids games, and sometimes the games are grown-up ones of who has the most, who's "king of the hill". This is my version of what Bill D posted. Once you lose money and/or power, you realize how little they matter, aside from sustaining life. You realize how little you can live on. I'd like more money, but I don't need it. I never did care about power, as long as I can live the way I want to. I used to make a bunch more money than I do as a retiree, and I thought I wasn't making enough. I retired, made a lot less, and adapted.

I think it's relatively easy to be happy without having a ton of money. I also think very few people will check that out voluntarily.


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 04:16 AM

"None of those who write on here are "poor" or know real poverty."
An extremely presumptive statement, the probability that posters to this forum may not be poor does not mean that they haven't experienced poverty at one time or another or know what it is - where does such a claim come from? Certainly not experience of life.
You really should try getting out more. For many families, financial aspiration is not a tactic to keep the class system alive - it is an inevitable consequence of that system, as is the criminality associated with poverty.
It seems to me more than a little smug to suggest otherwise.
BRITAIN
THE WORLD
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: G-Force
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 05:08 AM

I lead a simple life - more money would be nice but I don't lose sleep over it.

Lack of power is OK, until they want to build a new by-pass through your back garden.


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Senoufou
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 07:03 AM

Well, there are some incredibly poor people in the UK. I've worked with a food bank and one's heart is wrung at the desperation of some of the recipients of the food boxes. I've also worked with ex-prisoners, and began to understand the dire conditions in which many of them were raised. It's no good blaming these poor folk; they are a product of the state of things in the country. One can't moralise or judge.

And believe me, you really would NOT have liked to have seen what I have in Africa. The most traumatising sights and experiences you could imagine. Financial contributions from wealthy people (there in Africa and here in the West) could relieve much of the suffering. There are many philanthropic wealthy I realise, and if I ever came into a large sum of money, I'd be getting in touch straight away with agencies such as Medecins Sans Frontieres etc to offer my assistance.

We actually walked briskly out of Harrods after seeing those headphones for £20,000. Absolutely disgusting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: MikeL2
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 09:50 AM

Hi Ake

< None of those who write on here are "poor" or know real poverty.>

Jim is right when he says that there may be people in here that have been poor and know real poverty.

I know this because I am one. My family were extremely poor when I was very young.

I don't want to be boring and define our poverty. It was real I can assure you.

Cheers

Mike


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 10:21 AM

Adaptations to circumstances of Mallory's famous reply as to why he wanted to climb Everest -- "Because it's there" -- will, I think, go some way to answering many points as to motivation raised above.

As to the £20,000 headphones which so shocked Eliza: agreed. But where is a line to be drawn, & by whom, in permissible acquisitiveness and its satisfaction by suppliers? I have no answer to suggest; and perhaps this should be topic of its own thread... But we all, it is surely a truism to repeat, own the moral equivalent of diamond-encrusted headphones in comparison with what is owned by some in the 3rd World, don't we? I mean, just look at the WP or computer you are reading this on; and the nice room you are doing so in...!

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: akenaton
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 10:36 AM

Sorry Mike perhaps I did not make myself clear.
Our family were also very poor, we lived quite happily in condition which would be unacceptable today. It was all about everyone contributing whatever they could to the "home"......I'm not at all sure that "the home" still exists in the sense I mean.

I still doubt that anyone posting here is "poor", the definition has changed completely, we worked to survive, now we expect a dreadfully wasteful standard of living and if we don't get what we want we imagine that we are in poverty.

I also made the point that there are areas of extreme poverty to day amongst the urban underclass afflicted by debt and a massive drug problem.


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 10:37 AM

You're quite right, Michael - everything is relative, to a certain extent. But when one has, say, gained the basics of Maslow's 'hierarchy of needs', how much further does one need to go?

1. Biological and Physiological needs - air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.

2. Safety needs - protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.

3. Love and belongingness needs - friendship, intimacy, affection and love, - from work group, family, friends, romantic relationships.

4. Esteem needs - achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, respect from others.

5. Self-Actualization needs - realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

I'm fully aware that there are many millions of people in this world who struggle to achieve even the littlest of these, but I don't really think diamond-encrusted headphones, or perhaps a diamond-encrusted yacht anchored off Monte Carlo - adds much somehow.


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 11:02 AM

Not sure how much 'further one needs to go' from Prof Maslow's formulations -- but I don't think assessment will be made any easier by envying what others have in excess of one's own. I shall never own a diamond-encrusted yacht moored off Monte Carlo; but I am confident that such a consideration will not rob me of a single wink of tonight's sleep. And I should hate to think that anyone will be kept awake by consideration of my sitting here tapping away on my Apple in my nice big study with charming green Fenland view thru its picture windows, which Valerie & I had built on to our house with my retirement lump sum 30 years ago [blimey! can it be!]...

So -- again -- if lines must be drawn: WHERE? & BY WHOM?

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 11:10 AM

Lines being drawn? By governments with a sense of decency and social conscience - now. Here.

Just my two-penn'orth...


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 11:22 AM

"I still doubt that anyone posting here is "poor","
That's not what you said -your statement claimed that "nobody here knew what poverty" was quote - "None of those who write on here are "poor" or know real poverty."
You don't have to go far to witness real poverty - I am constantly appalled to see how many people are sleeping rough in say Dublin, or how many people have lost their homes recently, with more on the way thanks to the fact that predators like Goldman Sachs are now buying up entire estates of rented property and evicting tenants.
It is the typical arrogance of those who (whatever they claim) in actual fact support this sick sytem to claim that poverty is due to us spending our money on " dreadfully wasteful standard of living".
I have no idea what job you do, but in my experience, the average working family's priorities are a roof over their head and food on the table, without having to worry about such basics.
That some may also wish for luxuries as well is perfectly understandable and acceptable - unless, of course, you are going to suggest that our society should cease to produce products that are "wasteful" - perish the thought!!
We live in a society based on producing for profit and not for need - until that changes, people will always want a share of what is put before them.
Try turning television on and seeing what the (highly profitable) advertising industry is trying to sell you.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 11:48 AM

You must appreciate, Will, unless you are being uncharacteristically disingenuous, that your "here" is not an answer to my question as to where line should be drawn. A bit like the old riddle we all learnt in 1st year at school, "Where was Magna Carta signed? At the bottom."

I have seen real poverty, Jim. I worked in Freetown, Sierra Leone, from Dec 1990 to Feb 91, as British Council Lecturer in English Folksong at Fourah Bay University. I don't think you'll find poverty quite like I saw there anywhere in England's G&P Land — or Ireland's either. Awful thing is, one gets used to it much too fast. Only way to keep going and do one's work.

I know it's a sort of copout to say that comparisons must be instituted and lines drawn. Will [see above] has not really, with his latest 2d-th, provided a definitive solution to the 'where & by whom?' problem.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Senoufou
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 01:00 PM

I think the lines might be drawn in one's own head; 'enough is enough' and decide what actually IS enough, then abide by it. But many rich people I think cannot even do that initial exercise. For example, if one has a pair of stout winter shoes (as I have) does one need a second pair, given that one has only two feet? No. Or a new pair of curtains just because the ones in the shop are so attractive? No. But the consumer society and fierce advertising are brainwashing us into buying new 'stuff' we don't need, as Jim has said.

I suspect there's also a lot of showing off in all this. Many people seem to be at pains to flaunt their clothes, cars, technology and house-furnishings as a kind of personal achievement. There seems to be a lot of oneupmanship going on. I'd have no admiration at all for a lady with twenty pairs of shoes, I'd just see her as rather a prat. But many women would be quite jealous I imagine.

We were fairly poor too just after the War. We darned, mended and re-knitted our clothes, and made garments from material cut from other things. But many Africans go about in what look like lace T-shirts, with so many holes they fall to pieces. As a child, my husband sometimes went three days without eating, as there was just no food to be had.

This is one of the reasons I was quite attracted to becoming a nun; the 'poverty' aspect of the vows meant that material possessions were entirely given up. Actually I should think it's very freeing and a great relief. 'Stuff' is a bloody pain sometimes!


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 01:06 PM

"I have seen real poverty, Jim. I worked in Freetown, Sierra Leone"
I know you did Mike- you've said so before and I have never doubted you.
However, as others have said, poverty is relative to your own time and environment.
You no more take Sierra Leone as your yardstick than you do the good old days when you "went to bed with nowt but
a slice of Hovis in tha belly" - different days, different ways.   
I worked with Travellers in London for thirty years and encountered poverty every time we visited a (quite often) rat infested site from which the friend we were visiting would be evicted in the forseeable future.
One of the most memorable occasions for me was when we visited a photograph exhibition on the South Bank entitled simply 'Work' and saw shot after shot of unimaginable poverty and appalling conditions of labour - Brazilian open-cast-copper-miners swarming over hillsides on rickety ladders to drag out ore with small hand axes and carry them back in wicker baskets.
In Agadir, in Morocco, we saw a shanty town just off the main shopping centre which had been built on the rubble of an earthquake by the victims fourteen years previously - no water, no electricity.
All this is appalling, but beyond our control and to a degree, beyond our experience.
It's always easier to point to elsewhere as being worse as an excuse for our home-grown poverty and the injustices that go along with it - it justifies nothing (not suggesting for one minute you are trying to, but others have and no doubt will continue to do so.
What people should be concerned with is the rapidly growing gap between those who have and those who have not.
I was reading in this morning's Times about the poor in America (the world's wealthiest and most powerful country) and how their poverty affects their life expectancy - their life expectancy is equivalent to the Sudanese.
In the same paper, it tells of how British women prisoners in our soft, South earsten uderbelly (Surrey) are being released at the end of their term and forced to live in tents - great incentive to go straight!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: keberoxu
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 01:22 PM

Eliza brought up the vow of poverty. Thread drift, but that reminds me:
Rumer Godden, interviewing the Benedictine nuns of Stanbrook Abbey (where Mary O'Hara spent twelve years as Sister Miriam) for her novel
"In This House of Brede," quickly got the nuns to identify the vow that is the real killer:
Obedience -- "you do not know," the nuns told her, "what you are in for when you take that one."


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Senoufou
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 01:48 PM

Ah keberoxu, I do like Rumer Godden, and have read 'In This House Of Brede'. All the nuns I've spoken to have said the same thing - obedience is extremely difficult.

You're right Jim, it's the 'gap' that rankles. The inequality within our country and within continents too. An individual can't do too much, but a small effort to 'share' one's surplus with those less fortunate is a start. However, the very wealthy are in a position to do loads more. Endowing a clinic for example, or setting up clean water initiatives. My sister, though not rich, is very involved with sanitation projects in Africa. She jokingly calls herself the 'Toilet Queen'.

I have in the past, under the auspices of the Friends (Quakers) helped male ex-offenders chucked out of jail with a rail ticket provided by the discharge procedure, and a few quid in cash. They're expected to get somewhere to stay and some grub, having been incarcerated for years in a small cell. I don't excuse their criminal activities, but really, what are they supposed to do? Many are rather mentally unwell and have literally nothing. They head straight for criminals on the Out who will lodge them and they go back to drugs and theft.

Do you suppose that rich people just have never had any experience of seeing at first hand the poverty under the surface? Could they be persuaded to go and look, and be moved by compassion? Or are they hard inside and not interested? The words 'camel' and 'eye of a needle' come to mind!


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: keberoxu
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 02:03 PM

In discussions that I recall of fears and drives that can take a person beyond reason, one word comes back to me: scarcity.

How can I disagree with the concrete examples of deprivation already contributed in previous posts to this thread? This post is not intended as disagreement, in any way.

It is true that demonstrations of pathological greed are out there, like forms of cancer, devouring all around them.

But what I am thinking of, is this really primal, animal-level dread that there is never enough to go around, never enough for everybody. And you would scarcely credit the people who have this perception deeply embedded in their feelings and thoughts somewhere. There are people who are neither deprived nor affluent, people in a position to share a little with those less fortunate, and some of these people are attached beyond reason to what they possess, precisely out of this fear of scarcity. Some of them don't even realize it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 02:24 PM

I suppose there's been a bit of thread drift here - not that that's a bad thing - but my original post was not about comparisons or solutions, but about WHY many very rich people are compelled to constantly get more and go to any lengths to do so.

It's the mindset that puzzles me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Senoufou
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 02:30 PM

Do you mean like hoarders keberoxu? Or 'panic buying' in supermarkets?
People can be incredibly grabby sometimes. It may well be a primitive 'instinct' to seize everything possible to protect against hard times.

Attachment is difficult to conquer, I have some small ornaments I inherited from an aunt, and I treasure them. But they do clutter up the mantelpiece and I could easily sell them and put the cash in a charity box. I don't though, because I'm 'attached' to them. Maybe that's what happens on a larger scale?


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 02:42 PM

"Friends (Quakers) "
The Quakers have always been known to take u the slack when society fails, notably in Ireland during the Famine, when the British Government closed the workhouses and adopted a laissez faire policy of selling famine relief to the starving at market prices.
Had it not been for the Quakers, the death toll would have been much higher.
Won't mentin my personal debt of gratitude to them for rescuing my feet from immenent destruction during the Aldermaston marches - may their Gawd bless them.
Why do the rich want more - because that's how our society is organised.
If companies don't expand, they die.
I'm in agreement with those here who say enough is just that - enough .
In my experience, most working people are just like that - though some accepted the Thatcher ethic and allowed their homes to be turned into gambling chips for the housing market - no need to mention the result.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Senoufou
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 06:13 AM

Yes Jim, I have a soft spot for the Friends. It was through them that I started Prison Visiting. They gave simple buffet lunches once a week for the partners and families of convicted serving prisoners. During the meals, they listened to any financial or relationship problems etc and helped the women to fill out forms for various purposes. They were so gentle and kind, and never judged. I learned a lot from them.

I noticed at Wormwood Scrubs prison where I visited an inmate, there's a lovely plaque of Elizabeth Fry (a Quaker) on one of the gate pillars.


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Subject: RE: BS: Money & power: how much is enough?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 06:29 AM

If only all 'Christians'.....!!
Jim Carroll


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