Whether Ryan Schembri got himself into financial problems by defrauding his business partners, or whether (as the rumours seem to indicate) he was involved in more shady dealings and the “meat importation” was all a front, the upshot is that it was all down to greed.
When it comes to the lavish displays of wealth I see all around me, I always wonder,
(a) What I am doing wrong?
(b) Where is the money really coming from?
For a long time now, a lot of people have fashioned an image of themselves within our society depending on the kind of house they live in, the model of car they drive and the kind of easy money they have to splash around to sustain their glamorous lifestyle. We went from not being able to buy much to being able to buy anything and everything (including people), and maybe that is part of the problem; there was no natural, gradual transition.
When I hear of stories of people like Schembri (and these are just the ones which make the news), it strikes me that by suddenly opening the floodgates to “having it all”, it made people go a little crazy with avarice. It reminds me of those erstwhile shopping trips to Catania when housewives would come back laden with innocuous stuff they didn’t really need.
Or like when some Maltese people go on a cruise and stuff themselves until they are ill from the “all you can eat” buffet, which is open 24/7, because…well, just because it is there.
Similarly, there are those who are so hungry to accumulate material things that it stops being about buying a nice car and getting pleasure out of simply driving it, but it becomes about chalking up one purchase and acquisition after another with increasing impatience, and an ever growing feeling of dissatisfaction. They end up having the attention span of a spoiled toddler who is faced with too many expensive toys, and who tires easily of all them, discarding one as he catches sight of another, shinier contraption.
It’s the cliché of instant gratification – I want it, and I want it now. And if there are shortcuts to getting what I want, you can be sure I will take them, even if it means breaking a law or ten.
“Greed is good”, goes the quote made famous by Gordon Gekko in the film Wall Street. But sooner, rather than later, it will always be greed which will get you (and be your downfall) in the end.