Wednesday, January 25, 2012


A post on Major Conflict got me fired up.  Rather it was a comment on the post that did -  

"What's wrong with being greedy?"

The comment needs no context to tie it into the post.  It is a stand alone question from a commenter I would expect no less from.  We have traded comments more than a few times on Major Conflict .

Immediately I ripped off a 500 word reply blasting greed and the nasty side effects that usually accompany it.  Feeling better, I sat back and re-read what I had written.  I immediately deleted it.  So I responded instead -

"Before I can answer that I need to know what is right about being greedy."

I generally hate answering a question with another question, but I felt that in order to point out what was wrong with Greed, I needed to know what was considered right with Greed.  I was raised to believe greed was not a favorable trait in a human being.   I was raised to believe that it is one of our traits we should attempt to keep at bay. I took it for granted that when I caught myself being greedy an appropriate amount of guilt should be self inflicted also.

I really did try to think of something positive to say about greed.  Anything I came up with always fell short in that successful greed always seems to end up with winners and losers.  And that is fine if we are talking sports, card games, or horseshoes.  But when it is greed out in the real world that affects real people in tangible ways, greed tends to have a detrimental effect on some to the benefit of others.  In a social order structure application, I saw no long lasting benefit to greed.

I could almost agree that when applied to a Life or Death situation, survival type scenario, greed could be understood as a needed tool.  But that in no way makes it good.  It makes it necessary.  The greed we normally associate the word with is wanting more than one needs.  Pulling out Websters right now, I will look it up.  Sometimes the ritual of opening a book can bring some clarity.

"Greed - excessive desire for getting or having wealth; desire for more than one needs or deserves; avarice;cupidity"

No clarity, no positive support for the notion of Greed by our man Webster.  Hmm.

So rather than continue to beat my dense noggin against this quandary of mine, I would ask anyone out there who is most likely much smarter than I am, what, if anything is good about Greed.? 

Seriously.  I really cannot think of a thing.

And if there is nothing good about Greed, then all I can come up with is everything is wrong with Greed.  Unless of course over the top self interest can be considered good.



Mr. Charleston said...

Greed, one of the seven deadly sins. 'nuff said.

Demeur said...

It must be some self serving need. An inability to fill that need which would make it a mental disorder. It's quite normal to want more, to have a savings or retirement but as of late the well off have gone to extremes like we've never seen before. Even during the Great Depression the well to do realized that they had to open up the purse and do their part. The result was the longest economic expansion in history. What has changed?

jadedj said...

Well I am sure as hell in no way smarter, but in my simple mind, greed is giving into the baser side of ourselves. In fact, the lowest baser side.

There is no "do the right thing" in the greed story. None.

And, even though I am not a religious man, I second what Mr. C said.

Btw, the commenter you refer to is possibly a blithering idiot, methinks.

BBC said...

Anyone that makes the kind of money Mitt does damn sure should pay taxes, a lot more than he does. It's not like he works for that money. It's just investments, and who pays for that? We do every time we buy something.

I have a bit of a problem with greed myself when it comes to two pieces of chocolate cake, I want the bigger piece.

Kulkuri said...

Greed has always been around, but in the last 30yrs it has not only gained acceptance, it has become desirable.

Once you have enough money to provide for your needs and wants, money is just a way of keeping score and most people in that category forget that. They use their money to amass more money because when you have lots of money, that's what you do, use your money to make more money. Besides, they couldn't possibly spend all of it.

The truly sad part is that if they would spread their money around, see to it that those working to produce the products and services that make money had a bigger share of the profits from their labors, they would spend the money and the rich would still get most of it in the end and probably more than they do now.

Ol'Buzzard said...

Greed makes you rich - then you can buy a Porsch, a summer home on the ocean and a twenty year old bathing suite model wife that gives head.

I rest my case.
the Ol'Buzzard

MRMacrum said...

Mr Charleston - Well we do live in a sinner's paradise.

Demeur - Good question. We figure that out and maybe, just maybe we might have turned the corner.

jadedj - The man is not a blithering idiot. He is just an average kind of blitherer. His response to my comment became a rambling dissertation on how the rich deserve their money and the poor are the greedy ones because they are demanding a free ride. Hmm. Yeah, maybe he is a blithering idiot.

BBC - If there are two pieces of chocolate cake and no one else is around, they are both mine.

Kulkiri - Your last paragraph - I could not agree more. I think they are being damn stupid to not spread the wealth through better wages, bennies, etc. Lift the population to a higher standard of living and they buy more of the stuff your portfolio is invested in. Damn Right - Good call.

Ol'Buzzard - I never looked at it that way. Hope it's not too late to get greedy.

Randal Graves said...

I always dig when greed is thrown up as proof of innovation. True innovators create because they like to create. Any scratch is just gravy.

susan said...

Your answer was very well thought out and nicely written.

1138 said...

As some of you know, I have a history with that blithering idiot. There's nothing average about him. But someday I hope that he will aspire to improve himself and reach up and seek to become a better (average) person.

MRMacrum said...

Randal - Absolutely. Creative portfolios is not innovation in my mind, it's just creative accounting.

susan - Well thanks, but I still would love someone to prove something good about greed. It might make me reconsider the activities of the current crop of robber barons running amok through our economy.

1138 - He is indeed a unit. And welcome back. It has been awhile.