Friday, December 22, 2006

Is Greed Good

With Christmas nearly upon us, nearly every time you turn on the TV you see another Christmas TV show, and eventually you come across Scrooge. I don’t think anyone out there would look at scrooge as a role model, but it did make me think. How bad is greed? Is it as evil as scrooge illustrates? It can be seen a number of ways. Taken to extremes as Scrooge did, yes, it can bring out the worst in people. Heck, it made one of the seven deadly sins, and I’m not about to argue with that. But can’t it also bring out the best in people? Without some level of greed, how many people would be motivated to become contributing members of society? Without intense greed would the libraries Rockefeller funded have been built? Would the medical research funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation still take place?

This is another instance where finding balance is needed. Greed seems to be a necessity in order to be generous, since you can’t give what you don’t have. It is also a protection mechanism, without it we would be unable to support ourselves. In short, I think there is more good to a little greed than there is bad.

This rant has been a more than just a little biased. Talk to me. Is greed good?


Anonymous Ryan Sonnek said...

The rich use philanthropy to justify their greed.

I can't find any scriptural evidance to support "greed is good". Now, don't confuse "greed" with "riches". The bible states many times that riches are not necessarily evil. "To him that is given much, much is expected". The key here is when riches are "given", not "earned" (aka greed).

12/23/2006 11:47 AM  
Blogger david said...

That is an excellent point. I would agree that many of the greedy use philanthopy to justify their greed. It seems humans find a way to justify everything.

I like your differentiation of riches versus greed. Whether you see your money as given or earned plays a major role in how we handle it. If we look at it as earned, we can give ourselves more credit than is due.

It's always great to hear your insight!

12/24/2006 2:44 PM  
Blogger Seth R. said...

I'm still trying to formulate a response to this. But I did chance upon an article that gives a very thoughtful discussion of this very topic (sorry, it's a NYTimes, but the registration is free). You might find it interesting.

1/01/2007 8:27 PM  
Anonymous zaphod said...

Could the progression towards a better society motivate people rather than greed? Perhaps if motivation came from simply making the world a better place for everyone, including one self, then a larger part of the population would have a good life rather than the richest .09% of CEO's. I am not saying this is realistic, but it would make a good Star Trek movie.

1/08/2007 11:28 AM  

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