Sapos yu lukim gutpela samting tru, esi esi, nogut oli gamon yu
28 December 2017
TUMBY BAY - One of the sagest and most universal adages of this modern epoch of ours is “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.
While it is particularly good advice for the gullible, trusting, elderly and good-hearted people of the world, it is good advice for the naturally greedy and avaricious.
It is also essential advice in developing countries, unused to the predations of carpetbaggers, conmen and crooks.
These countries are particularly fertile ground for those who seek to make a dollar no matter how many people they harm or damage in the process.
In Papua New Guinea, scams perpetuated by unscrupulous people began many years ago with cargo cults, exotic combinations of quasi religion and fraud, and now present themselves as elaborate pyramid schemes designed to fleece the unwary.
The logic of these schemes has a long tradition and a simple basis. By appealing to people’s greed and basest instincts you can reel them in like fish on a line.
This logic is practised in a more subtle way in developed societies through mediums like advertising, especially on television.
Deceiving and conning people is the basis of the appalling commercial television industry.
Through this process, gullible pensioners are convinced they need things like funeral insurance so they don’t saddle their kids with the debt of burying them.
The same people are promised that if they buy the latest overpriced and probably useless gadget they can “get one for free” by ordering early.
Two useless gadgets instead of one useless gadget for the same price – who could resist a deal like that?
The “too good to be true” adage doesn’t just apply to shonky deals and products. It works equally well with politics too.
Political skulduggery also has a long tradition. One of the most successful exponents of this kind of politics has been the churches. Follow us and we’ll give you eternal life.
Funny thing is they’ve got very few dissatisfied customers. Why? Because they are all dead of course.
If a politician makes a promise you should stop and think about what he really means, and more importantly, what he wants.
It’s also handy to check out his record of delivery.
In Australia one of our most dishonest politicians coined the terms “core promise” and “non-core promise” to differentiate his truths from his lies.
His non-core promises vastly outweighed his core promises and laid the basis for many of the problems bedevilling Australia now.
Peter O’Neill doesn’t even have the good grace to disguise his lies with these sorts of obscure terms. Everyone knows that if he promises something the likelihood of him actually delivering is pretty slim.
Unless, of course, it is something that benefits him and his government or his rich friends and wantoks.
It is always useful to “read the fine print”, be it a business deal, an irresistible retail offer or a politician’s promise.
If it is shonky, sooner or later it will lead to a honey pot – not yours, of course, but theirs.
The most prominent politician in the world today, Donald Trump, has brought the art of the con with him into the White House.
He has just passed tax legislation that promises many people prosperity but actually delivers to only a few - himself and his rich friends.
In this dog eat dog world of ours it is very difficult to find genuine leaders who believe in what they are doing and truly have the welfare of their people at heart.
Quite frankly, I can’t think of any at the moment. Perhaps the last of them was Nelson Mandela.
Even outwardly good people are suspect. Mother Teresa insisted on flying first class and staying in five star hotels for instance. Barack Obama has reputedly made millions out of his presidency. There are many examples.
So remember, be it a shopping bargain, an offer on television or a political promise, read the fine print first.
If it seems too good to be true chances are it is.
“Carpetbaggers, conmen and crooks” will always be with us. So will the gullibility of people.
Abraham Lincoln noted wisely, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time.” And Christ cautioned his followers to be “cunning as serpents and yet harmless as doves” lest they themselves be deceived.
But few people seek out the truth. I noted previously that if things go contrary to our worldview, rather than adjust our worldviews, most people prefer to deceive themselves. By pretending there is nothing wrong with our worldview we don’t risk our own wisdom and virtue. Pride and moral cowardice prevail.
Robert Conquest had written for years about the brutality of the Soviet Union and communism and was continually ridiculed by “intellectuals”. So decades later when he had been proven correct, when he was asked for a title for a new edition of "The Great Terror", he said “How About I Told You So, You F…ing Fools?” To which the ever humorous Clive James called him “unfailingly polite in controversy.”
But the Establishment can be blinkered. The “Times” of London thought people like Churchill who raised the alarm about Hitler in the 1930s, were immoderate and unreasonable.
What of China today? An American historian, and an expert on China, Arthur Waldron, wrote this:
“China’s leaders are richer than royalty. They have siphoned people’s wealth from China to the Cayman Islands…
“No longer does the Party even pretend to be devoted to the interests of the poor and marginal. They have in fact oppressed and impoverished the peasants more than any previous regime. How? By taking away their land, their only asset. In China, the police simply chase the peasants away from the land they owned in their formerly isolated village, and the Party sells the land to the developer, so that all the money and benefits accrue to the ruling elite and not the families that have been subsistence farmers there for perhaps five hundred years…
“For one who remembers both the honest dedication of many communists and the fairy tales carefully vetted Westerners retailed (no tourist visas existed until 1980), it is a chilling transformation, and a worrying one, and one that is slowly breaking the spirit of one of the world’s greatest civilizations.”
It is unwise to predict too far ahead.
Arthur Waldron’s article can be viewed here: https://www.newcriterion.com/issues/2016/10/stomachs-full-of-qi
Posted by: Ross Howard | 28 December 2017 at 11:51 PM
Olgeta PNG lain laikim bikpela rock festival na kros pait long gavman bikos raits blong yupela, em tru
Posted by: Bernard Corden | 28 December 2017 at 12:46 PM
Enough is enough, we need another Soixante-Huitard movement, which may make our alleged leaders listen and generate some action.
Sous les paves la plage.
Posted by: Bernard Corden | 28 December 2017 at 12:16 PM
Look no further than AIM (Alliance In Motion) which is currently flogging their scam relentlessly on Facebook to unsuspecting PNG people. The profits end up at the top of this Filipino pyramid, and gullible punters are left with nothing.
"Alliance In Motion Global is a product-based pyramid scheme. By having you sell high priced toothpaste and other consumer products, they virtually guarantee that your primary customers will be other people joining the business opportunity. They demand your loyalty to participate in this scam. You are not an independent business owner with this company. They control who you can work with and what you can say to company members. Each individual who profits does so primarily from the payments of others who are themselves making payments in order to obtain their own profit. Avoid the Alliance In Motion Global Scam."
Posted by: Peter Kranz | 28 December 2017 at 11:09 AM
We have plenty in Australia.
The franchise arrangements and exploitation of vulnerable migrants involving 7-Eleven, Domino's Pizza, Aerocare and Covino Farms and most recently the Retail Food Group are classic examples.
Take a look at the amassed wealth of Russell George Withers, Jack Cowin, Tony Alford and Alicia Atkinson.
Jack Cowin once announced that weekend penalty rates were a thing of the past. However, whilst evading the taxman, it must have escaped his meticulous attention to detail that Abe Lincoln abolished slavery way back in 1865 and indentured servitude, peonage or blackbirding are illegal in Australia.
Racketeering, fraud and greed are not leadership attributes and in a climate of casino capitalism, profit and accumulated wealth are the only benchmarks of success. This has left a trail of despair amongst many franchisees, which includes decimated savings, broken marriages and destitution. It also reinforces that statements of good corporate governance or zero harm have no substance and are much like the excessive froth on tepid dishwater that is purveyed as a flat white coffee or cappuccino in many RFG and Starbuck outlets.
Posted by: Bernard Corden | 28 December 2017 at 10:48 AM