Understanding why excessive desire is dangerous in any society

Desires are basic to human beings. Without desires there can never be any progress in any society. However, excessive desires create huge problems at every level. It does affect societies in other countries and their lives at an international level as well. Some undesirable effects of excessive desires are discussed in some detail in this article.


Desire is a deeply emotional issue. It is also something that becomes a mind-sets issue in hundreds of thousands of people who tend to have desires totally disproportionate to their status or resource position at any point in time. Naturally, only short-cuts provide the means to such desires that become a reality when the means leads to some end. Most politicians fall under this category. Whatever be the nature of the desire, it should be noted that any desire always corresponds to some want. It never corresponds to any need. Those who are satisfied with needs and lead happy lives have little desires. However, since they also have limited desires, there cannot any damage to the individual or the society at all.

Be that as it may, an excess of desire can always lead to a) Total imbalances in economic advantages b) Massive inequalities among people c) Encourage unethical means to get rich d) Increase greed among common people and e) Teach people all dirty tricks.

Total Imbalances in economic advantages

This is the biggest minus. Politicians who plunder public money, private contractors who grab Government contracts, corruption at various levels and so on, create massive imbalances. Those who have access to banks and are also in powerful positions, desire to make money through all means possible. At the root of these desires is the urge to own mansions, costly cars, educate their children abroad and so on. The black money keeps circulating in the economy and leads to economic imbalances. The advantages of economic progress does not reach the common people at all. For example, when a private contractor executes a road in a shabby fashion, the contractor makes money and shares it with local politicians. Both become rich but the common people get to use only the defective road. This road is repaid with public money after the rains stop, by the same contractor. In this merry go round of corruption, the baseline is always the excessive desires of those involved in corruption of a very tall order.

Massive inequalities among people

As already mentioned above, inequalities abound. Only some sections of the society get to benefit from various projects. Inequalities also occur when common natural resources are also used for certain purposes, the inequalities become even more pronounced. For example, when common people suffer so much for even drinking water, some multinational draws huge amounts of water for the manufacture of some cool drink that has cola content in it. This is normally consumed only by the rich classes as the product is quite costly. In any case, the common people are left with even less water resources. The multinational company often does not contribute to any environmental protection campaign or rain-water harvesting project. This creates heart burn among common people. Inequalities occur at other levels too. The rich and the upper middle classes can afford to pay huge amounts for spicy food prepared with all costly inputs, that are already scarce in supply. For example, on a single wedding day, in a big city the huge quantities of fruits and vegetables are diverted to the wedding halls. Whatever is left in the market is sold at huge prices and this pushes the prices even further. Imagine at least fifty percent of such weddings being done in temples with just one decent meal serves for guests. Will this happen? It never will. The desire of every middle class parent to spend lavishly in weddings is very common. Hence inequalities keep on increasing. Of course, the wedding economy in India is estimated at upwards of Rs 40,000 crores by some experts. It could be actually much more. However, lavish spending always increases inequalities.

Encourage unethical means to get rich

At the heart of the Ambani empire 's massive growth over the decades was one glaring and very unhealthy thing. The Ambanis adopted very unethical means by bribing all those in power and manipulating Government policies to their advantage. The unethical means adopted was there for all to see. The Ambanis used their influence to virtually lord over several businesses. Since they always had friends in every party who would do their bidding, they were able to continue their unethical practices to get very rich. For instance, the younger brother called Anil Ambani, went in for a massive dose of unrelated diversification. He had a finger in every pie. Yet, when the businesses did not take off as expected, he had to virtually depend on his brother to escape being jailed. Playing around with Other People's Money saved in banks is a favourite part-time for such irresponsible people. They never repent for their mistakes. The Ambanis are not alone. The way the greatest and the worst Playboy of India, called Vijay Mallaya used his connections to dwindle vast sums from banks for his loss making Kingfisher Airlines and yet escape abroad, is a case in point. In India, we have sick companies and richest owners. They mint money from their businesses and become very rich. They live life similar to the Maharajas of the past. Their access to power was so big that they were to manipulate every single law to their advantage. The DCM group was a big group. Infighting saw the group being split into several entities. Many businesses went bankrupt. But the owners had made their money. The employees and shareholders and suppliers were left with nothing. The JK and SPIC groups invested close to Rs 210 crores in setting up big Penicillin G plants at Cuddalore, near Pondicherry. The new Government policy allowed cheap Chinese imports. Result? The businesses folded up. Employees were given three months wages and asked to pack up. The statutory dues were also settled. Fortunately, most employees found some job or the other. The suppliers were very badly hit as the companies just closed. The bankers were never able to get back their investment. The owners were rich, as always!!!

For such people, life has itself become an adventure. Their "desire" to get rich through whatever means is possible, always means unethical use of bank resources. This is the reason why huge bad debts are now threatening the very survival of many Public Sector Banks.

Increase Greed among common people

Greed is the worst outcome of desires. When people who are ordinarily happen with simple ways of living, decide to take to much costlier ways of living, they are actually giving shape to their inner desires. They invest in the most risky private investments. These are commonly called "blade" companies. These companies are essentially companies that collect deposits from public, invest the same in real estate or even more risky equity market and then cheat thousands of depositors. This has happened to some Much I company depositors in South India, as these companies have simply vanished like a trace. All these things happened only because the common people wanted much higher returns on their deposits. However, what they got back is nothing, as they effectively lost their deposits as well. This continues to this day. There are various advertisements. The Amarapalli group advertised heavily for flats and apartments near Mumbai. Their dubious ways made the Supreme Court to pass strictures. The brand ambassador, M.S. Dhoni has himself gone to court, remarking that he is yet to get several crores owned by the company to him.Hence, desires also multiply greed among millions of people.

Teach people all dirty tricks

This is another big issue. The " become very rich at any cost obsession tales the worst of forms.This is very dangerous indeed. The TV serials show how murders can be "scientifically" done. There are more than two murders done by some crook to get rich. The most dubious means of making money is shown on television. The results are disastrous. Crimes have increased and convicts have claimed to have been influenced by TV serials. Such is the horrible nature of TV serials. This moral degradation is so complete today. The movies and the social media also have the worst of impacts. While Facebook has been truly useful in uniting friends after decades, saved thousands of lives during floods and so on, the same Facebook has been now been misused by the worst of crooks to exploit so many young women at Pollachi, a lovely town near the city of Coimbatore. This has brought to focus the extremely important role of parents in controlling the misuse of Facebook by young girls, who should never become friends with strangers. The game is on without a full stop. Desires have taken a turn for the worse.


The excess of desires has so many flip sides. Only some issues have been discussed above. It is wise to keep all desires under some check. When this is done, the entire society will benefit. The individual will also understand the vital role of staying within reasonable limits of desire.

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Author: Natarajan21 May 2019 Member Level: Gold   Points : 9

A great article about how impractical desires impact others and the nation. I think, from a young age, we should be taught to learn the difference between desire vs greed, desire vs obsession and also about the morally and socially acceptable and unacceptable means to achieve what we long/ yearn for.

Corruption and work of poor quality is an example of greed with total disregard to the system and society. The rich and influential who bend the rules and flout the norms are also greedy and unfortunately for the common man, this happens more commonly with the blessings of the officials and politicians.

I think the problem of greed and excess desire is promoted by the very society we live in. What I mean is, it is easy to resort to unethical and immoral means to get what we desire, be it money, property, land etc. This is where the checks in the system fail to a major extent. For instance, the PNB bank fraud, the Nirav Modi diamond sector fraud etc, the individuals were greedy and more importantly, the system and few people helped these people to satisfy their greed.

Unhealthy ambitions, obsessive desires, greed etc adversely affect the common man and the taxpayers. What we need is a combination of rigorous checks in the system (to prevent easy misuse), stringent punishment (this acts as a deterrent for the overtly greedy) and lastly a change in the mindset of such people (easier said than done!).

Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao21 May 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 5

Too much greed brings in all unethical practices. This is true at all times and with all the people. If somebody wants to become rich overnight they have to try illegal ways only. If the desires are within the reachable distance there is no problem. But excessive desires always look for shortcuts.
The excessive desires of some people harm the common man. A politician for his self-gain will help a person who supports him and in that process, a really deserving candidate will be losing a chance. This is a fact which is never thought about by our politicians. Politicians aided by the intelligent government bureaucrats get their desires fulfilled by making the common man a scapegoat.
The author has explained the dangers involved in having excessive desires very well.

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