Wednesday, 21 February 2007

The Story of King Midas

You know we could learn a thing or two from the story of King Midas. The story holds the powerful moral about the danger of greed. Well you probably know the story, but just in case you need reminding here goes:

Many years ago there lived a king named Midas who was very, very rich and it was said that he had more gold than any other king in the world. The king grew so fond of his gold that he eventually loved it better than anything else in the entire world. His one great wish seemed to be for more and more gold and one day while he was in his gold room counting his money, a beautiful fairy boy stood before him. The boy's face shone with a wonderful light, and in his hand he carried a strange-looking wand.
"Midas, you are the richest man in the world," said the young fairy. "There is no king who has so much gold as you."
"That may be," said the king. "As you see, I have this room full of gold, but I should like much more."
"Are you sure?" asked the fairy.
"I am very sure," answered the king.
"If I should grant you one wish," said the fairy, "would you ask for more gold?"
"If I could have but one wish," said the king, "I would ask that everything I touch should turn to gold."
"Your wish shall be granted," said the fairy. "At sunrise to-morrow morning your slightest touch will turn everything into gold. But I warn you that your gift will not make you happy."
"I will take the risk" said the king.

Well you may say how does this story relate to the modern world. Well for instance the mega-rich have been accumulating fortunes on a scale and pace not seen for close to a century. This trend is not about successful business creation but of increased levels of personal enrichment from speculation and corporate wheeling and dealing. Twenty years ago the average chief executive of a FTSE 100 company earned around 25 times that of an average worker. Today it is closer to 120 times.
It is a strange sign of the times that rewards for failure have become quite commonplace in the corporate world. In the UK agreements that guarantee large payouts to outgoing company executives are known as ‘golden parachutes’. In America they are called ‘golden condoms’ because they protect the executive and screw the company.

So as you can see the Midas mentality is still at work in the world today. Do'nt they teach people anything these days in University?

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