Is Greed Good?

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by SteakTartare, Mar 17, 2016.

  1. SteakTartare

    SteakTartare Senior Investor

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    I'm sure most of the members here will be familiar with the monologue from fictional character Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987):


    And the counterpoint in the, albeit cinematic abortion, sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

    Real life economist Milton Friedman, said something interesting, and along somewhat similar lines:


    So, a profound philosophical question for the luminaries of the board: is greed good? Why or why not? How do you define greed? What is the defining line between self-interest and avarice?

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  2. Rainman

    Rainman Senior Investor

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    I'd define greed as a desire to have more than you need.
    Greed has caused misery for almost everyone in the world. The desire for more wealth and power has made people callous. They'll do anything as long as they get what they want. So though greed is good for them since it negatively affects other people, it isn't good. Fact though is almost everyone is greedy to some extent . . .
    I think there's none. They can both be equated to selfishness and it [selfishness] is bad for all humans. Wouldn't the world be a great place to live in if no one was selfish?
     
  3. gracer

    gracer Senior Investor

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    I agree 100% with Rainman. I have seen how greed destroys a person's values and state of mind all because of the constant longing to have more and more of what he already has. Not to put down the people who work under insurance firms but having worked as an insurance agent for a period of time made me see how greed runs the industry. Yes, the agents gain more money as they insure people but each production is never enough for them because the more people they insure, the more incentives and bonuses they receive. After all the added bonuses and the commissions, these will still never be enough. For me, that is pure greed and selfishness.

    I decided to leave the insurance firm because I didn't like the sleepless nights thinking about the next prospective client and the pressure of the amount of money I have to come up with to be able to catch up with the tenured agents who are earning millions. It just contradicts so much with my simple values in life. So to answer the question, for me greed will never be a good thing. It may only look good because of the material things it provides but at the end of the day, it only destroys a person's peaceful life.
     
  4. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

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    Is greed good? Why or why not?

    For me, greed is definitely not good. When we become selfish and greedy, we become less compassionate. We let our greediness consume us in ways that destroy not only us, but also our families and friends. For instance, for casino players, the desire to win and win and win, leads to them losing any money they win in the first place. And I cannot even name a casino player that has gotten more rich since playing because usually, they tend to lose more money because of greediness.

    How do you define greed?

    Greed for me is wanting more than you need. The desire to acquire more than the necessary.

    What is the defining line between self-interest and avarice?

    It's really difficult to know the line between the two. Oftentimes, we get so caught up with maintaining and pursuing our self-interests that in the end, we forget that there are other people beside us. We get so caught up earning money that we forget that there are other things more important than money such as family, relationship and friendship.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2016
  5. nissi

    nissi Well-Known Member

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    The love of money is the root of all evil. Greed is not a good thing in that it causes people to throw others under the bus just to get what they want in life. It makes people oppressed, and people's hearts grow cold because of it.
     
  6. Corzhens

    Corzhens Senior Investor

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    I remember my husband's former boss. His name is Dan, a smart guy who is very friendly. During one interview of an applicant, my husband was assisting so he saw how Dan conducted the interview. Between 2 applicants - one with a glib tongue who looks rich and another who is conservative and who looks poor - Dan picked the latter. His reason is greed. If I hire the rich guy, he said, the work performance may not be that intense because he is not hungry. For the poor applicant, he is hungry and the chance of being greedy is there - greed makes one productive.
     
  7. ScooterBrandon

    ScooterBrandon Senior Investor

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    Greed is something I can understand. I get why it motivates people to do things. It is good but it can have negative aspects to it. Which is why the most successful economic/political system to date is a mixed economy that favors capitalism put together with a liberal democracy. People are allowed to pursue their own "greed" but it's restrained so the rights of others are not infringed. It's worked pretty damned well so far.
    What I don't understand and what I don't trust are motivations that are on the ideological side, whether political or religious in nature. I don't want a leader who gets his authority and direction from a made up deity that no one can argue with.
    Sure greed has it's bad aspects, but at the end of the day wanting more money is something I can understand and relate with.
     
  8. pwarbi

    pwarbi Senior Investor

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    Having a desire for something, trying to acquire what you need in life and always striving to achieve what you haven't got are good. They're positive traits that a person needs to carry on pushing forward in life.

    Greed on the other hand is trying to get more than you need, simply because you can, and that's not a good way to live your life.
     
  9. Dilof

    Dilof Member

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    I think greed can be good but in some situations it can be pretty terrible. If you are, for example, betting, then greed is going to be bad in the long run due to the significant losses you'll make simply because you don't know when to stop. I feel like this can be applied to non-gambling situations as well. Greed is also viewed as rather selfish in most situations by family members and so on; as they believe you should be happy with what you've got.

    Overall, I think greed is probably good for an individual but not good for a social relationship with the people around you.
     
  10. remnant

    remnant Well-Known Member

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    There is a somewhat fuzzy line between greed and ambition. Greed comes into play where one wants to acquire a resource or achieve an end to an objective at the expense of another individual or entity. It is responsible for the myriad instabilities, inequalities and despondency that abound on the planet. Were people and nations to be ambitious and not greedy it would be a win-win situation. Greed has a way of getting back at its practitioners.
     

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