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Most people are inherently good: discuss

A final word on governments and politics after my Friday blog about corruption, and then I promise to leave this alone, as it’s not something I should talk about here.  But I am going to make one statement:  most people are inherently good.

Whatever you think, whatever you feel, the majority of humans are raised to be caring, sharing, nurturing wonderful people.  A few, a very small number, are not good.  They are either the ruling class or the anti-ruling class, and these are the ones that mess things up for everyone else.

I’m only saying that because I travel the world non-stop and I meet amazing people everywhere.  99% of the people I meet are warm, loving, family oriented and optimistic about the future.  They are funny and quiet, rich and poor … it doesn’t matter as the thing that binds them all together is that what they want most of life is a secure future for themselves and their family.  In most cases, they focus more on their friends and family than themselves, and they are great people and great hosts.   This is demonstrated time and time again by the kindness of strangers.

I was in part inspired to write this (a) because of Friday’s blog which (b) coincided with this share on  Facebook that I think illustrates the point well:

Alone through Iran – 1144 miles of trust TRAILER from André Larsson

I’ve been to many countries that might be described as undesirable as destinations and inevitably found them to be enjoyable.  I cannot think of a country yet that I’ve visited where I felt I was in danger.  Oh, maybe Chicago in the 1980s, but that’s another story.

Now obviously, I’m not flying to Aleppo or Baghdad regularly, but I do find that some countries I visit, when I tell people, they are visibly shocked.   This is mainly due to the prejudices that we get from television and media, rather than on-the-ground truth.  It is incredibly well illustrated by my American friends, who cancelled all trips to London in the 1980s when the IRA bombed the City; who cancelled their exhibit stands in the Paris Cartes conference on the Monday, because of the Bataclan attack; and refuse to go to Turkey, because it has the odd explosion.  I worked through these countries during these events, and know that one idiot does not make a nation of idiots; just as one explosion, does not make a never-ending risk of death.  After all, I’m more likely to die of a gun attack from a domestic US terrorist than from any Islamic Fundamentalist.

My point here is that most people on Earth purely want a good life for themselves and their family, are warm, friendly and gracious, and by our very nature want to help others.  The two exceptions to this rule are the leaders of these nations and the bleeders in these nations.

The thing that messes up most people’s lives is their leadership.  A poor leader, a dictator, a tortuous regime, a war-mongering colonel and his army. These are the things that mess it all up.  Again, this is also part of human nature: to want power. You can see that through all the stories of history: some of us have an intrinsic need to dominate.

I guess it’s just power-building whether it be amongst nations fighting with nations, under the direction of their leadership or, at a lesser level, between different heads of lines of business in a company.  It’s all about one-upmanship, often driven by testosterone.

Power is control, and control is all about being able to do things at the expense of others.  I feel sorry for the countries I visit where they’ve suffered these injustices.   I am loathe to pick examples, but I will pick one here, purely because I have a memory of how bad things become.  This example is Zimbabwe, which has suffered Mugabe’s dictatorship for almost half a century.

The country is in dire straits, but nothing is done about it.  Admittedly, the British are at fault here (see the history of the country) but the only reason I’m sharing this is that my wife and I visited Victoria Falls a few years ago.  The town gets a lot of tourism, but most people around the town live in poverty. One day, my wife had noticed that there was a Baboon colony in the village, and saved some fruit and bread from breakfast to feed to them, unbeknownst to me.   Luckily, one of the locals spotted what she was thinking before she did it, as the alpha male Baboon would probably have ripped her arm off.  He said this was a bad idea and, forlornly, she up the fruit and bread back in her bag.  Before she did so, the local asked if he might have it to share with his family.  That was their best meal for a week.

So people are inherently good, but their leadership messes up their lives for them.  Then there is that final group who are inherently bad.  These are the ones we jail.  How many?  Well, you cannot take the numbers who are in jail, as some of those folks are inherently good.  Their circumstances made them bad.

I always remember the discussion at college during Sociology lectures, and the argument over whether we are born bad or whether it is our environment that makes us bad.  Take two identical twins and put one in a Palace and the other in a slum. Do they both behave the same way?

Of course not.

Anyways, this is getting off track from my normal FinTech blogging, but I’m purely putting a stake in the ground that almost any country or ethnic group that you point to and think of as bad, is wrong.  There are no clear-cut these guys are good and these guys are bad.  There are purely despot leaders who ruin the party for their people, and extremists who reject the good for their own purposes.

So endeth the Monday lecture.  Back to normal tomorrow.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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