Greed, Greed, Greed and More Greed!

I just read an article in the Melbourne Age suggesting that former Prime Minister John Howard had sought US favor to have charges laid against Australian David Hicks in order to improve Howards re-election chances. I immediately said to my wife “Can this be true? W hat would possess someone to do that?”

How naive am I … it’s greed, greed, greed!

It certainly isn’t reserved for politicians either as another article spoke of mass sackings at Qantas, OneSteel and Westpac while there were massive profits declared by BHP Billiton as the mining industry continues it’s sale into the growing Asian market. Is that the same Asian market that is also contributing enormously to local and global pollution? Yes it is and it is driven by greed, greed, greed and more greed.

Buckminster Fuller is considered by many as one of the most important human beings of the twentieth century. Fuller referred to this characteristic as one of “un-evidend selfishness”. This is where a person or a company appears to be doing the ‘right thing’ and being a generous or good person however the reality is they are really only interested in getting the best result for themselves … and “stuff the rest”.

The video clip above shows a small part of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Bed Peace” event in Montreal, Canada in 1969, at the same time as technology (ever accelerating change) reached a point for the first time in our human evolution where we could now provide for everyone on Earth at an unprecedented high standard of living … such that there was now no need to compete. What does it take to create a future that actually works, for everyone?

In fact competition is now detrimental to the ongoing survival and success of humanity.

A recent blog on titled “How Far ‘Off-Track’ Are We … ?” looks at whether there are any leaders out there willing to declare the sort of future they are committed to creating.

Or are they just reacting to the situations as they occur and as they worsen around them?

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Can You Cure Mental Disease With Sugar?

Can You Cure Mental Disease With Sugar?

I think you know the obvious answer … NO you can’t. So when our diets are heavily laden with sugar, especially refined sugar and we have a rapid increase in many preventable diseases (including depression) I feel we would get much better “bang for our investment buck” by studying the causes rather than focusing on the symptoms.

A little over ten years ago I ran into the former Victorian Premier Mr Jeff Kennett at a petrol station. He had just paid his account and picked up a ‘slab’ (slang for two dozen cans) of Diet Coke, put it onto his shoulder and walked towards his car.

He turned around and our eyes met … so I walked towards him and introduced myself as a health and lifestyle coach. I asked Mr Kennett if he had purchased the Diet Coke for him, and if so was he hoping it would help control his weight.

He replied “Yes and yes.”

I mentioned that there are medical reports (freely available) disclosing health concerns about the drink and that those reports evidently showed that when the participants of the study stopped drinking the Diet Coke they actually lost weight. Mr Kennett then said “Would I be better off drinking the normal Coke?”

Mmmm … I said that water was a much better choice and he put the slab of diet cola in the boot of his car and we said good bye.

I remember this event so clearly because shortly after our chance meeting Mr Kennett announced he had founded an organisation to help manage depression … called Beyond Blue. Like many of us Mr Kennett was also dealing with relationship challenges, and at one point I believe a marital separation, something few people have been given the tools to deal powerfully with. Without adequate tools often eating, drinking or something worse comes into play.

NOW MY QUESTION WAS … “Can You Cure Mental Disease With Sugar?” Continue reading

Beware of ANZ and High Interest Rate Loans!

Beware of ANZ and High Interest Rate Loans!

It is not that long ago that were encouraged to SAVE … save for what we wanted.

That all changed and ANZ bank as one of the big 4 banks is a leader in encouraging debt. But so do CBC, AMEX, NAB, Virgin Credit, Westpac and many others. To understand the banking industry is something few busy people ever do. Even on the ANZ Home loans website they say “Comparing banking products can be confusing and time consuming.”

But isn’t this just great how the ANZ Homeloans page is simply covered in “zeros”, like:

  • “$0 monthly account service fee …”  and
  • “$0 annual credit card account fee …”

Wouldn’t be any ‘trickery’ there would there? Surely not, not the ANZ bank now.

Zero’s are easy to understand … well, they used to be.

So even though we don’t understand banking products well … they ‘consume’ our lives.

Home loans, car loans, personal loans, credit cards and on and on … each with different interest rates, different terms and conditions and policies. Come on, be honest here.

Who actually reads all of the fine print? Does anyone?

You would assume the ANZ and other banks do, or is it only their solicitors who understand them? 

One of the JP Morgan family said that if you want to make money and become rich you must make things complex and complicated.

Banks like ANZ have made an art form out of confusion and evidently they are all in bed with each other, as we saw at the height of the recent GFC (no that’s not the Geelong Football Club … it stands for Global Financial Crisis).  Do you remember that only one bank was sacrificed … and it came as a shock to the others. They thought they were all safe … safety in numbers I suppose.

About five years ago I had taken out an ANZ loan … it was very easy to apply for, no hoops to go through, or ladders to climb. At the time I was heavily involved in creating a new movement called Your Healthy, all about us working together for the benefit of everyone.

Is that the same philosophy of the banks … like ANZ?  Don’t think so!

Banks play “win as much as we can … and screw you.”

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Beware of Victorian Teachers Credit Union FEES

Beware of Victorian Teachers Credit Union FEES … my wife just lost $90 in 2 weeks.

It all started when she started a new small business, something that we as a community should be supporting, someone with an entrepreneurial spirit. But coming froma teaching background she was also used to regularity of her income.

And it wasn’t just the extra cost and lack of immediate cash flow … but her daughter was having a baby, our first grandchild and she was part of the birthing team at the home birth.  So with two trips to Melbourne and all the excitement I can understand how she forgot to transfer some money to cover automatic payments like Medibank, and the car insurance.

Now picture a bank that cares for their customers.

Have you got that picture?

Well I have a picture from around 1985 one morning, rushing around shopping and banking and when I returned home the telephone went (mobiles weren’t that popular back then) and the voice said “Hi, it’s ‘Jane’ here at the building society and I think you left your leg of lamb here at the bank. Have you lost a leg …?”

WOW … even back then I was impressed with that quality of service.

The staff at the bank actually knew me, and it was ‘real’ service.

So the irony of the Victorian Teachers Credit Union banking system is that occasionally, when you make a payment on-line you get a phone call from a customer service staff member to check if you just made the payment.

Now I used to be a professional risk engineer and I do not believe that the risk of internet banking fraud is really very high, but it’s nice of them to call, yes?

So what’s the point in  sending my wife a letter after her account has been debited with all the fees? It’s a bit of a waste of time in my opinion … except they did say you can change from automatic payment to say BPay which would prevent the overdrawn fee. That’s a possibility.

And the cost of sending the letter, which is signed personally must be at least $1.

Wouldn’t it serve your customer better to call them … just like when they make an on-line payment? Surely they don’t do it for the revenue from fees and charges? No, not a credit union, that’s something only the BIG banks do isn’t it?

Ninety dollars in fees in two weeks … last time that happened was with one of the BIG banks whom we had just opened an account with because they were ‘next door’.  We soon moved our accounts.

I would install a system that sends out an automatic text message or email giving the customer say 24 hours to rectify the account, in fact I think the Victorian Teachers Credit Union used to do something like that.

Is service really that hard to provide?

I mean … I can walk into any bank almost anytime of the day and find staff members who could be more actively employed.

Have we simply allowed service to just disappear.

It appears to be the case at the Victorian Teachers Credit Union.