The rich are just as greedy as you

Greed, according to Webster's Dictionary, is a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed.

 

Based on the definition above, I contend the rich are as greedy as the poor. After all, Evidence of excess can be seen everywhere.  For example, sailboats come in a range of sizes, what size is evidence of excess and what size isn’t?  In light of the fact nobody needs a sailboat and sailboats are really expensive; one could argue all sailboat owners are greedy. I imagine every member of a third world country thinks that Americans are greedy if we measured greed by excess in what we buy.

 

If the things we buy aren’t a good metric for determining greed, the next logical place to look for greed is in quantity of money we make.  But what individual gets to decide when a business is being greedy or if person’s salary is too high?  If a business is greedy; why wouldn’t its customers simply purchase the same/similar product from the less greedy supplier?  If an individual is greedy, why not hire an individual willing to work for less?  The answer to these questions lies with the free market.  Charge too much and a business will lose its customers.  Get paid too much; risk losing your job to someone willing to work for less.

 

Because participating in the free market isn’t evidence of greed, how about illegally participating in the free market?  From fraud to extortion, I concede greed is evident, but that would mean greed must be accompanied by a criminal act. Those that accuse others of being greedy certainly don’t limit those accusations to only illegal behavior.

 

Wall Street is often labeled greedy but few on Wall Street have been found guilty of any crime. Besides, a lot of the money invested in Wall Street securities comes from pension funds interested in seeing the value of their investment rise.  By virtue of the transitive property, I guess every third grade teacher is just as greedy as every Wall Street stock broker.

 

I’m still searching for what clearly constitutes greed but the longer I search the more ambiguous the term becomes.  It just dawned on me; calling someone greedy is a sure sign of envy, which is another deadly sin.  I think it’s high time we leave the concept of greed and envy for biblical studies and allow the invisible hand of the market be our moral compass.

Comments

John G Added Apr 15, 2017 - 1:34am
Oh good god. Pathetic.
Thomas Napers Added Apr 15, 2017 - 1:41am
Actually John, you're pathetic for providing nothing by way of argument for why I'm pathetic.  Speaking of nothing, you've written nothing and your author avatar is of nothing.  The way I see it, you never offer anything, making you a big nothing.  
John G Added Apr 15, 2017 - 1:54am
Fine by me Thomas. You're not my audience.
 
Here's a hint though. Greed is easily defined as wanting more than one needs.
 
It really isn't very difficult.
John G Added Apr 15, 2017 - 1:58am
And by the way, I don't think I've ever read a reference to the 'invisible hand' by a person who had actually read Adam Smith. And few understand the reference.
I'm absolutely certain that you haven't and don't.
Thomas Napers Added Apr 15, 2017 - 2:03am
While you deserve to be insulted for being an ass, it’s not my style.  So is it your contention that poor people don’t want more than what is needed?  Their greed is the same, the difference is that rich people can afford more, most often because they earned more thanks to their success.  
John G Added Apr 15, 2017 - 2:11am
So is it your contention that poor people don’t want more than what is needed?
 
If that question makes sense to you, you're an even bigger moron than I'd thought.
George N Romey Added Apr 15, 2017 - 8:59am
Not all rich are super greedy.  Over my 57 years I have witnessed amazing acts of economic passion by people with money.  That isn't to say they do not like financial rewards.  Some people have a morality check built into their psyche.  Anyone that hasn't figured that one out is totally clueless about life.
Dino Manalis Added Apr 15, 2017 - 9:24am
We all want more money, because costs are constantly rising!  Life is expensive!  Even food has become very expensive!  Uncertainty raises people's concerns and more money reassures your living conditions.
Stephen Hunter Added Apr 15, 2017 - 11:32am
Thomas, there is no doubt at all that every single one of us has elements of greed inside, which we all need to consider. If we do not, than we will be greedy sometimes. 
Bill H. Added Apr 15, 2017 - 12:18pm
Thomas-
A prime example is a corporation in which the executives are paid millions to figure out ways to eliminate employees, cut employee benefits, and cut wages while paying themselves and the stockholders the major share of profits. Many never reinvest in the company to improve product or service quality. Punishing the very people who create the profits for the company is a prime example of greed.
What would you call it, Thomas?
Stephen Hunter Added Apr 15, 2017 - 3:15pm
Bill, I just think that these executives are with dying industries and are milking whatever they can. That means cutting costs of all kinds, including labour. 
Innovative companies tend to reward their people who are bringing something to the party, and contributing to new ways of producing things that are or will be in future demand. I think Elon Musk's companies could be an example. 
Thomas Napers Added Apr 15, 2017 - 4:25pm
John – While I be the first to admit the comment threads can get pretty nasty here, most of us are at least trying to be nice at the start. From the start you offer nothing but nastiness. My apologies for calling you a nothing, you’re actually lower than a nothing. If you want to chat at least make the effort to comprehend what the other is saying.
 
George – The gist of my article is that from the super-rich to the poor, we’re all equally greedy, making us all equally non-greedy. Just because one person has more money than another, does not make him greedier.
 
Dino – What you say is true if you’re poor or even middle class, but if you’re rich, the rising cost of things isn’t particularly important.
Stephen – I guess what I’m trying to say in this article is that we do not need to “consider” greed. People should be free to make as much as they like without be labeling greedy by envious people.
 
Bill – Executives that are paid millions are paid that much because that’s what it costs to retain good talent. This talent sometimes eliminates /creates jobs so that the company makes more money. This is how capitalism works and why it provides more for society than any other economic system.
John G Added Apr 15, 2017 - 5:31pm
Talking points. Meaningless capitalist talking points.
Bill H. Added Apr 15, 2017 - 8:59pm
Stephen, you are absolutely correct, and if other companies would follow this example, this country could return to an era of fiscal balance and prosper once again. It is the greedy (no clue) companies that are bring down the entire country.
Thomas, you have been drinking way too much GOP Kool Aid! These so called "Executives" you describe and nothing more than clueless spreadsheet jockeys with MBA's who are only looking for their own fame and fortune and have no idea or desire to run a company as it should be run.
Thomas Napers Added Apr 16, 2017 - 7:31am
Bill - If being pro-capitalist also makes me a GOP kool-aid drinker than by all means give me more.  The last thing I’d want is stale milk of the kind that anti-capitalist Democrats like yourself are drinking. The fact of the matter is that the GOP has done many things that I don’t perceive as being pro-capitalist, the problem is that the Democrats have done more. So I wouldn’t call myself a kool-aid drinker it’s more like the choice between a glass of water and sour milk. 
 
So in addition to capitalism you also have a problem with MBAs and spreadsheets?  What is it with liberals and their inability to debate without slinging insults? It’s clear the only person in this conversation is “clueless” is you. 
 
Other Side – Wouldn’t you agree that your comment to me has more to do with income inequality versus the false belief that greed exclusive to the rich?
Jeffry Gilbert Added Apr 16, 2017 - 8:15am
Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires. - Steinbeck
 
Sure applies to the goofball Napers.
Bill H. Added Apr 16, 2017 - 11:06am
T.O.S. - I simply hate Trump because he is an egotistical liar that is preying on the same people that actually believed him. If he had gone forth with ways to actually improve our country rather than preaching a platform to appease all of his supporters, further divide the country, and then acting only on self-image and his temper, he may have made the grade. His is only looking out for himself.
Thomas - I am neither a Democrat or a Republican. I believe both parties suck the big one. You instantly label me because I offer an opinion that differs from yours or how you have been programmed to think by your party. The only problem I have with MBA's and spreadsheets is that the MBA's which I despise are the ones that are unable to think outside of a spreadsheet and have no clue about what really makes a business or corporation successful in the long run. If they can't find their answers in an Excel cell, then to them is doesn't exist. See if you can get one of these people to calculate the effects of morale, teamwork, and dedication on a spreadsheet and present it at the next meeting on their PowerPoint presentation. I worked with quite a few during my career and watched them ruin companies by eroding the morale and teamwork.
Perhaps a stronger indictment comes from Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, SpaceX, Solar City, and PayPal, who said, "As much as possible, avoid hiring M.B.A.'s. M.B.A. programs don't teach people how to create companies ... our position is that we hire someone in spite of an M.B.A., not because of one."
George Kocan Added Apr 16, 2017 - 1:12pm
Greed is a good subject to explore.  We all want more than we have.  According to Webster, we are all greedy.  But, such a definition does not fit the ideological definition which Democrats rely on in their rhetoric condemning rich persons.  Certainly labor unions, which form part of the Democrat coalition, want more than the members need.  Some union guy in the distant past answered the question, What do you want?  He said, "More!"  Well, that stands as an example of naked greed--more for the sake of more.  The poor in our country are the richest poor in the world.  That does not stop Democrats from crying crocodile tears about them.  The poor in the US have a higher standard of living than do middle class people in Sweden, the socialist utopia which Democrats like to cite.  The poor have free housing, hot and cold running water, indoor plumbing, electricity, heat, cars, trucks and education.  Yet, that is not enough.  A normal person would kneel down and pray to God in thanksgiving for such free gifts, but somehow, that is not enough for those who seek the largess of government.  Whatever they have is nothing.  It all represents an immoral deprivation. 
Bill H. Added Apr 16, 2017 - 1:19pm
 
It's so easy to politicize the subject and shed the burden, but the truth is that everyone in our country is suffering because of greedy business practices. The ones on the bottom who are unable to afford to purchase goods and services, and the ones on top who depend on people purchasing their goods and services.
Certainly the greedy can keep implementing even more ways to try and profit at the expense of their employees and the rest of the country, along with hiding their money to avoid paying taxes on it, but this equates to removing more water from the storage tank than you are putting in.
A well deserved slow death, but sadly we all suffer.
Shane Dean Added Apr 16, 2017 - 1:28pm
A better premise would be that "we" are as greedy as the rich.
George N Romey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 1:38pm
This idea that the poor in this country (particularly the ones that were in the upper middle and middle class at one time) should be thrilled because they do not live in mud huts, eat rice as their sole food and die before they are age 50 is absurd. 
 
We have had greed throughout mankind and certainly had it during our economic heydays from 1946 to 1980.  We would have it even if the US returned to a 21st century style of the 50s and 60s.  The issue is the level of greed and how it impacts the overall economic, social and physical wellbeing of its populations.  By the way, I have friends that live in the Netherland, a couple of which used to live in the US.  No way, no how would they ever want to live in the US (again).  Their countries are far from perfect by Scandinavians live better than we do.
Thomas Napers Added Apr 16, 2017 - 3:14pm
George Kocan – Unlike goofballs like Jeffry and John, thanks for adding something of value to this comment thread. 
 
Bill – The truth is, as Kocan points out, that we have the highest GDP, with the richest poor people in the world, because of “greedy” business practices.  I put greedy in quotes because it shouldn’t be deemed greedy for companies to maximize profitability.  If you want people to suffer, socialism is the ticket. 
 
Shane – I like the way I phrased it, either way, two of us are saying the same thing. 
 
George – Who presented the premise that the poor should be thrilled?  The premise is that all classes of society benefit from capitalism, not just rich people.  If anything, because poor people will never be thrilled with their lot in life, they epitomize my point about everyone being greedy.  
Bill H. Added Apr 16, 2017 - 3:53pm
Thomas - Look at the real factor, the Consumer Price Index.
GDP numbers are only good for economists and investors to look at. It says nothing about the reality of the big picture. Is this all that you guys see on Fox News?
John G Added Apr 16, 2017 - 4:18pm
Incredible. They're so blinded by corporate propaganda that they can't see what's right in front of them.
Leo Harris Added Apr 16, 2017 - 4:47pm
Acquiring more than is necessary and depriving others is one type of greed. This is gluttony or voracity. Then there is the type of greed called egoism, where people desire enough to sustain a normal life. This is part of human nature. 
 
http://personalityspirituality.net/articles/the-michael-teachings/chief-features/greed/
John G Added Apr 16, 2017 - 4:57pm
George Kocan The poor in the US have a higher standard of living than do middle class people in Sweden,
Do you actually believe that?
 
Thomas Napers Added Apr 16, 2017 - 10:59pm
Bill – So are you trying to make the point that America isn’t at the top of the economic ladder and that some other system produces better results?  Please stop watching so much MSNBC, it’s hurting your ability to reason.
 
Leo – Depriving others has nothing to do with greed.  Just out curiosity, who is depriving others?  One group that certainly isn’t is corporate America, they are the hand that provides for us.
Leo Harris Added Apr 16, 2017 - 11:31pm
I posted an article for you to read because from this sentence, "I’m still searching for what clearly constitutes greed but" I thought you didn't really know. Now I know that you watch fox news, you are a republican (and don't say independent because we know thats BS) and as stated above, you are a troll of the corporate world who I am sure follows Trump blindly. No response needed...I deal with your type every day and it would just be a losing fight..
Bill H. Added Apr 17, 2017 - 12:55am
 
Thomas - MSNBC and Fox are two "news" sources I avoid, as I prefer to get facts and make my own conclusions, not have it pre-analyzed and tube-fed to me. 
If you bothered to read my earlier posts, you would have seen that I was talking all along about the imbalance of our entire system and why the group we refer to as the "middle class" is disappearing quickly. Yes, corporations and businesses are doing well, but at the expense of the "average" citizen and this is getting worse rapidly.
So are you a top executive in a large corporation making millions every year to boast about our "great economic system"?
I don't think so.
I simply think that you are just one of many who have been hoodwinked into thinking that our economic system is "doing just fine" by the talking heads and that corporations should be free to simply make any decision they see fit and dump our country into and even deeper crevasse.
As an example, are you aware that the median American's wealth is less than one-quarter of the median Australian's? Check it out for yourself, if your Google algorithm will allow you to see real truths anymore.
Last time I checked it out, the US had dropped to #21 in median wealth.
Here is a link to an accurate unbiased report (which you will probably write off as "Fake News".
It's going to take more than just sitting around sporting a red Bubbah hat and chanting USA, USA, USA!!!
John G Added Apr 17, 2017 - 1:34am
Thomas Napers. Corporations eliminate jobs and drive wages down so that the economic surplus can be distributed to shareholders and executives as rentier income. That's pretty much their raison d'etre.
That's what's known in the business as a fact.
Reading Marx is probably beyond your ability but maybe get someone to explain what capitalism actually means to you sometime.
It doesn't mean 'business' or 'trade' or 'commerce'. It is a class system where the ruling class get to live off the labour of everyone else.
 
Thomas Napers Added Apr 17, 2017 - 6:18am
Leo – Oh ya…well you’re a bigger troll.  What’s with you liberals and your inability to engage the other side of the political aisle without resorting to insult?
 
Bill – I don’t believe our economic system is “doing just fine.”  I also only brought up MSNBC because you decided to say disparaging remarks about Fox News.  The fact of the matter is that I don’t care where you get your news, but we should at least agree on the facts.  The United States has the strongest economy in the world by a wide margin*.   As a result of our strong economy, the average citizen here enjoys a much higher quality of life than any other country.  This is a fact and if we can’t get beyond it, we really have no business discussing anything.  After you started slinging insults, I should have stopped conversing with you, but denying facts is the final straw.
 
*I’m sure there are small countries where one could make the argument the average citizen is better-off than the average American.  So as a qualifier, of any country with over 30 million people (our population is 330 million). 
 
John – If corporations eliminate jobs, how do you explain all the people that work for corporations?  Oh and by the way, even small business owners generally incorporate. 
George N Romey Added Apr 17, 2017 - 9:43am
Do I think greed is a big culprit of why our country is in trouble economically (despite all the official talk otherwise), yes.  But its not the sole reason.  Greed has always been there.  From the end of WW2 until the 1980s it was kept in check by stronger unions, government policy, social pressures, the needed image for Cold War PR and Americans had simpler lifestyles thus needing less.
 
In the 1980s wealth became to be worshipped more, Americans began to accumulate more stuff, businesses got much bigger and technology enabled the means of production to be moved to low wage countries, unions lost their way and their memberships, and government policy changed from full employment to fighting inflation.  Anti trust regulations enabled the growth of the MNCs while financial regulation was completely dismantled.
 
A certain amount of greed like a moderate amount of income inequality is good for a society.  It's the motivation that spurs people to do more in life and be more accomplished.  Like most good things too much is not a good thing.
 
How we pull back this blanket of anything goes greed is not an easy answer.  It can't be solely legislated away nor can we reasonably expect those that are greatly benefiting from the destruction of our workforce in the short term to see and correct their long term demise.  Ultimately it will mean the total failure of the economy to the extent it can't be papered over by Federal Reserve gimmicks. When those that hold paper wealth see much of that evaporated they might finally understand how they have been committing economic suicide for years.
Mike Haluska Added Apr 17, 2017 - 10:09am
Somewhere along the line the "progressives" managed to get the word "greed" to be interchangeable with "rational self interest" - which is practiced by every sane person or animal on Earth.
 
Here is what Dr. Friedman has to say about "Greed":
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWsx1X8PV_A&t=17s
 
Rather than your usual childish tirade of insults, how about if you "progressives" actually try to rationally refute what Dr. Friedman says???
Lee Webster Added Apr 17, 2017 - 10:25am
Yes, Milton Friedman makes a good case.
Bill H. Added Apr 17, 2017 - 11:30am
 
Thomas - If you are then satisfied with the present earning potential and buying power of the average US citizen, then so be it. The CPI is the real indicator, and the CPI presently sucks and is getting worse. I know this truth upsets you guys, so you and Mike can keep hurling labels at me.
I know this country can do much better as it did many years back, exactly for the reasons I mentioned. If you are happy with the present economic balance in the US, then there is no hope discussing it with you.
Wanting and greed are two different things. Greed is an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth. In the case of many corporate executives, most likely at the expense of the very people and customers that keep their business afloat and the money coming in.
And yes, I believe both MSNBC and your "beloved" Fox News are both one sided news sources tailored for narrow viewpoints.
Yes, it's really all about BUYING POWER.
George N Romey Added Apr 17, 2017 - 11:43am
Bill there is empirical evidence everywhere from many sources that point towards a failing US economy on a widespread basis.  Now its pretty clear that neither Thomas or Mike have ever spent considerable time in a country with a two class society and at best a very small middle class centered around major city cities.  It should not be a shocker that these countries are highly indebted with corrupt and ineffective bureaucracies. significant social unrest and violence, pollution and decay and generational and systemic poverty.  I guess they think this is a good way for the US to go.
 
Now if they believe that the US is rebuilding and creating a vibrant middle class please bring on the data.
Bill H. Added Apr 17, 2017 - 11:48am
Absolutely George!
It scares me to see how many people continue to wear "blinders" when it comes to the big picture of how our economic machine is operating.
I guess they are happy when they know they live in a country where any CEO can make a fortune at the expense of thousands of people.
Steve Bergeron Added Apr 17, 2017 - 12:14pm
I think it may be easier for the rich to be greedy.  I recall many years ago, my father went to testify to Congress in a particular industry.  On the plane flight up, the taxi cab ride, etc., one of the guys traveling with him who was a multimillionaire did nothing but complain the whole way about the price of everything.  Then, his younger son, who wasn't quite as rich, but very well off, said, "Dad, with all the millions you have, how much more do you want?!"  The old man looked at him and said, "Just a little bit more!"  For some, it's never enough. Excesses can become enslaving to the human soul.
Bill H. Added Apr 17, 2017 - 12:37pm
Good one, Steve!
There is nothing wrong with striving to get ahead in the world, but when it is at the expense of others, it becomes corruption.
Sadly, I think we are on the brink of a massive increase in this area.
George N Romey Added Apr 17, 2017 - 1:17pm
Steve and Bill I've been around the 1% when I lived in Manhattan.  Its not really about the money its about winning the game.  The game? Its I have more therefore I am smarter, more popular, cunning, motivated and savvy than you are. So if millionaire buys a $6 million dollar home in the Hamptons his friend needs to one up him.  This is why you see the pay packages of CEOs and financial types; they are all playing a game.
 
And by the way the traders that were making $10 million a year plus on Wall Street in 2008 became broker just as quickly as someone desperately trying to survive on $12 an hour. Why?  See above.
Mike Haluska Added Apr 17, 2017 - 1:51pm
Bill H - when did I say I was happy with the present economy?  The past 8 years saw less than 2% annual growth - that's WORSE than the economy did during the Great Depression!  There are only 3 ways to create wealth and raise the standard of living:
 
1) manufacturing
2) agriculture
3) transportation
 
For the past 50 years we have largely followed "progressive" economic policies which sought to destroy the manufacturing base and replace it with a service economy.  I think even Bill H agrees that ended up being a bad idea - the average person can't earn a decent living working at Starbucks or Costco.
 
George N Romey Added Apr 17, 2017 - 2:00pm
Actually if you take out negative types of business GDP growth has been near flat if not slightly negative over the past eight years.  Manufacturing and transportation typically represent high value business and therefore better jobs but at this point there is little motivation to develop either.  This is why I support a specially funded infrastructure program carried out and managed by the private sector.
 
No CEO is going to produce any more product than he/she believes can be profitability absorbed into the marketplace.  So when demand is weak producers cut back and it begins a continual pace of deflation and economic and personal destruction.  Its what we experienced for over a decade in the 1930s.  WW2 finally halted the slide and the lesson learned is that something needs to come from the outside to halt the slide and begin the movement upwards. 
Mike Haluska Added Apr 17, 2017 - 2:08pm
John G - your statement:
 
"Corporations eliminate jobs and drive wages down so that the economic surplus can be distributed to shareholders and executives as rentier income."
 
indicates that ONLY corporations strive to minimize operating costs and drive down prices.  Of course, average people don't do things like that!  The "average person":
 
1) shops at the "Mom and Pop" hardware store - not Home Depot - because the "Mom and Pop" have higher prices, less selection and he doesn't want the clerk to lose his job
2) refuses to use an ATM and drives to the bank so a teller can wait on him
3) gets his home remodeled by union carpenters at $45/hr instead of small contractors that charge $25/hr
4) goes to the hand car wash and pays $35 rather than drive through the automatic car wash for $6
5) distributes whatever is left from his paycheck after bills are paid to everyone he meets who "needs money"
 
As Dr. Friedman stated so eloquently in the video none of you bothered to watch:
 
"What is greed?  Of course, none of us is greedy it's always the other fellow"!!!
Mike Haluska Added Apr 17, 2017 - 2:13pm
It amazes me that after decades of "progressive" economic policy, punitive taxation, regulations that strangle the little guy, stifle competition, encourage foreign investment, discourage innovation that you "progressives" (Bill H, Steve B, John G, Leo H) aren't happy with the results! 
John G Added Apr 17, 2017 - 2:42pm
John – If corporations eliminate jobs, how do you explain all the people that work for corporations?
It really shouldn't be necessary to explain that a corporation dominating a market can destroy thousands of jobs and replace them with less at lower pay a la Walmart putting small businesses out of business.
 
John G Added Apr 17, 2017 - 2:46pm
For the past 50 years we have largely followed "progressive" economic policies
What utter rot. We live in a neoliberal echo chamber that was created in part by your hero, the snake oil salesman for the Rockefellers, Milton Friedman.
We need to return to Keynesian approaches.
 
John G Added Apr 17, 2017 - 2:48pm
indicates that ONLY corporations strive to minimize operating costs and drive down prices. 
Oh good lord. They seek profit.
George N Romey Added Apr 17, 2017 - 2:59pm
The reality is that we have had 30 years of lower taxes, particularly on non earned income and deregulation.  None of it did what it was promised to do.  I remember being a 1980s St. Elmos Fire yuppie.  We thought big business was going to take us to heights our parents could not have imagined. Problem was tickets were reserved for the wealthy and connected only. 
Thomas Napers Added Apr 17, 2017 - 4:22pm
Mike – I think liberals equate a large amount of wealth or income to greed.  In reality, that wealth and income is related to success and one should be rewarded for being successful.  I guess liberals believe that after a certain amount, people are supposed to work for free. 
 
Bill – People are NOT “satisfied with the present earning potential and buying power of the average US citizen.” Our economy has the potential to be much stronger, sadly liberal policies from Obamacare to increased taxation on the rich, do nothing towards us realizing this potential.  As it relates to CPI, I don’t care how many economic data points you infuse into this conversation, will you concede our economy is the strongest in the world or not?
 
Steve – I tip my hat to any rich person that attempts to live life frugally.  I certainly don’t think it’s a sign of greed for someone, rich or poor, to care how much money they’re spending. 
 
George – “No CEO is going to produce any more product than he/she believes can be profitability absorbed into the marketplace.”
 
That was the smartest thing written in this comment thread.  People like Bill will call these CEO’s greedy, but the truth is they’re being wise and should be applauded for making a profit.
Steve Bergeron Added Apr 17, 2017 - 4:53pm
The problem that people fall into with regard to wealth/money is confusing means and ends.  Wealth/money, properly understood, is a means to an end, a way to achieve some good end (sustaining life, health, freedom, etc.), and can be properly used for that, not just for self, but for others.  
However, when money becomes the end, in and of itself, then problems arise, and evil enters.  Morals are changed and supplanted by the worship of money as an end in itself.  This creates the disordered souls we see today.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Apr 17, 2017 - 5:24pm
For many today everything is not enough. 
Thomas Napers Added Apr 17, 2017 - 9:29pm
Steve – I don’t believe souls are any more disorderly today than in the past.  I also don’t agree people only focus on the money.  Every business owner knows that people will not give you money, money needs to be earned.  The means to earning money is by offering products and services that are in demand. 
Bill H. Added Apr 17, 2017 - 10:08pm
 
OK Thomas/Mike-
Just blame all of your problems on "Liberals", not illogical decisions on both "sides" (if that makes you happy).
Simple solution!
We agree to disagree.
John G Added Apr 18, 2017 - 3:31am
will you concede our economy is the strongest in the world or not?
How can an economy that doesn't provide adequate housing, education, medical treatment, holidays, family support, financial security, retirement funding to the majority of its citizens be considered strong?
Of course it isn't.
John G Added Apr 18, 2017 - 3:34am
Not to mention the permanent warfare, the out of control, militarised policing, the outrageous propaganda factory posing as news media and the suppression of dissent.
The USA is a failed state.
Thomas Napers Added Apr 18, 2017 - 7:50am
Bill – I did not write a political article, it was only after you accused me of being a “GOP kool-aid” drinker that politics entered the mix.  The truth of the matter is that GOPers are almost equally guilty of accusing rich people of being “greedy” simply because they’re rich.  Emphasis on almost. 
 
John – The answer to your question is that our economy does a far better job at providing for the vast majority of the country than the economic system of any other country you can name.  Except of course for places like the Caymen Islands and Bermuda.
Lee Webster Added Apr 18, 2017 - 8:39am
If a society was graded based on their population percentages of poor, indigent, and incarcerated maybe that could measure which system is most successful?
 
The U.S. has approximately 300 Million people compared to China's Billion, and India's Billion.  But what percentages of haves to the have-nots do each have? 
Mike Haluska Added Apr 18, 2017 - 9:32am
Question for you "Progressives":
 
Why is your "Class Envy" more noble than "Greed"? 
John G Added Apr 18, 2017 - 2:36pm
John – The answer to your question is that our economy does a far better job at providing for the vast majority of the country than the economic system of any other country you can name. 
Are you taking the piss? Or are you so willfully ignorant that you believe it.
Thomas Napers Added Apr 18, 2017 - 3:10pm
Lee – If the three countries we’re comparing are the United States, China and India, than without question America’s economy and populace are faring the best.  China and India are still largely third world countries, with the majority of the populace living in relative squalor compared to the poor who live in America. 
 
Mike – Good point, the left loves to accuse people of being greedy and they never think twice about their envy.
George N Romey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 3:30pm
Lee proportionally both India and China have more income inequality than the US.  However both were third world countries for decades while the US was fully developing its economy and industrial base.  India will probably never have a broad base middle class for various reasons.  China might but it wouldn't be anytime soon.  Also, China is in a Catch 22 situation.  If wages were to rise leading to a middle class China would quickly lose its labor advantage.  The question is will and can China become a self sufficient and self producing country?
Bill H. Added Apr 18, 2017 - 3:57pm
 
And why are we 21st in median wealth? Some reports have even lower on the scale, like 27th.
You tell me how good this is.
Jeff Michka Added Apr 18, 2017 - 9:03pm
Thomas awakes from his Napers saying: The gist of my article is that from the super-rich to the poor, we’re all equally greedy- Really? QUANTIFY THAT AGAINST PEOPLE. Are you a greedy bastard, Thomas, or just sound like one in your articles on WB?
wsucram15 Added Apr 18, 2017 - 10:18pm
Jeff jeff jeff..Now you know Thomas is a fair guy.  He knows poor people and their needs that may compare to that of the ultra uber rich.  Somehow, needing to eat before you starve or your kids get ill, compares with the latest 15,000 watch or phone. 
So yeah..people that are poor might be greedy, but I think the priorities are a tad different.  Just a bit.  All in all though..greed is greed.  People that lived through the great depression were greedy over their pennies, after standing in lines for hours for food that was in short supply (having to make choices on what to live without) prices marked up for the benefit of the greedy...but greed is greed.   You know?
Thomas Napers Added Apr 18, 2017 - 10:59pm
Bill – I’d like to see the link that shows our median income to be 21st.  I forget, what’s the point of me defending the track record of the United States and you trying to belittle our economic superiority?
 
Jeff – Huh?
 
Wscuram15 – The point is that whether one is poor or rich, greed is the wrong choice of words to describe the desire to have more.  It's also the wrong choice of words for maximizing profit or getting paid for one's market value.  Capiche? 
Bill H. Added Apr 19, 2017 - 12:04am
 
Here's one from 2014 that shows us at #19
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/10/list-worlds-richest-countries-americas-special-role.html
 
You may be happy to see that we went from #19 to #4 from 2014 to 2016 (sorry, I was looking at some older data).
http://www.businessinsider.com/switzerland-is-full-of-rich-people-credit-suisse-global-wealth-2016-11
This is good news! (But maybe bad news for the Obama haters).
Utpal Patel Added Apr 19, 2017 - 4:35am
I think Thomas Sowell said it best when he wrote: “Among the many other questions raised by the nebulous concept of "greed" is why it is a term applied almost exclusively to those who want to earn more money or to keep what they have already earned—never to those wanting to take other people's money in taxes or to those wishing to live on the largess dispensed from such taxation. No amount of taxation is ever described by the anointed as "greed" on the part of government or the clientele of government. . . .
 
Families who wish to be independent financially and to make their own decisions about their lives are of little interest or use to those who are seeking to impose their superior wisdom and virtue on other people. Earning their own money makes these families unlikely candidates for third-party direction and wishing to retain what they have earned threatens to deprive the anointed of the money needed to distribute as largess to others who would thus become subject to their direction. In these circumstances, it is understandable why the desire to increase and retain one's own earnings should be characterized negatively as "greed," while wishing to live at the expense of others is not.”
Thomas Napers Added Apr 19, 2017 - 7:27am
Bill – OK, but you didn’t answer my question.
 
Utpal – As always, Sowell makes a good point.  However, I haven’t heard the left advocate harming the rich for the benefit of the poor in this comment thread.  I’m focusing solely on the accusation that one is greedy for wanting more.  As Haluska pointed out, there is nothing wrong with making money for oneself, the more of it you make the better you are at what you do, not the greedier you are. 
wsucram15 Added Apr 19, 2017 - 10:04am
ok Thomas..lose the condescending tone.  Devaluing human life is not a good thing.
Mike Haluska Added Apr 19, 2017 - 10:13am
Thomas - thanks for your supportive commentary.  There are 4 things that upset me the most about "anti-greed" people:
 
1) they always equate "greed" with rational self interest
2) they always assume that anyone successful trampled over the poor
3) they always claim that "greed" is the result of and exclusive to Free Market Capitalism
4) they always absolve themselves and "progressives" as not being "greedy"
Bill H. Added Apr 19, 2017 - 10:49am
My comments related to why this country is in the shape it is in. The purchasing power of the average citizen is way down from what it was say 30 years ago. We have a fiscal imbalance that affects the long-term success and performance of virtually every business in this country, along with the quality of life for our citizens. As I stated earlier, the ability of middle class citizen to purchase affects the ability of corporations to produce, which ends up affecting all other related services, subcontractors, you name it.
Are you guys going to call this a "Typical Liberal Left Wing Progressive rant?"
 
 
wsucram15 Added Apr 19, 2017 - 10:51am
Mike that is not true.  At least its not true for me.  The more I had, the more I helped others.  At my second house, I used to help battered women and even some serious long-term recovering addicts that were women.  But it was not zoned for a business non profit and I had to stop.
 I have more than many people, but I have lost it all twice and got everything back...twice. Not something I caused, just another's greed.  A girlfriend of mine once joked with me that I have had more stolen from me than many people own to begin with. I was brought up well and even though it took me longer than it should have ON MY OWN.   I invested well and worked hard.  Smart enough to have equity and few bills, nothing I cant pay off.
I definitely disagree that poor people are as greedy as perhaps the wealthy who are making them slaves currently.  Placing humans with capitalist market value, is a cop out for devaluing human beings and true greed.
I also dont think greed is just a partisan issue. Greed is a selfish motivation..not one of political affiliation.  My family and I have always given back.  With a Grandfather as a community leader and Deacon later in life, giving back to the community was never a choice in our family.  His brothers lived in Buffalo, NY and they were the same. My Grandmothers family really had money and they always worked with the poor, and surprise not all were democrats.
Greed I would equate with irrational self interest and yes, the truly greedy do trample and abuse the poor.   Just because you have money and are condescending does not mean you are in that income level of true greed and aristocracy.
 
Jeff Michka Added Apr 19, 2017 - 3:00pm
Hey, wsucram15, don't confuse the conservs here with things like greedy for food and healthcare.  Real soon the Orange blob will ensure there's neither food or healthcare, save for the wealthy, so "those people" will get hurt, which is the idea.  Hurting them will teach them humility in front of their betters, eh Haluska and Tommy "take another"Naper?
Bill H. Added Apr 19, 2017 - 3:35pm
Jeff - All I see coming is more profiteering at the expense of the middle class and the bottom. Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Data, and Big Insurance are already getting repaid for their favors.
For them, it will certainly be "a beautiful thing, it will be so great, it will make your head spin!"
Jeff Michka Added Apr 19, 2017 - 8:46pm
Bill H notes: For them, it will certainly be "a beautiful thing, it will be so great, it will make your head spin!"- Question:  heads spinning at 33 1/3 or 78 rpm?  You forgot Big Food and Water, btw...
Bill H. Added Apr 19, 2017 - 10:45pm
Not to mention Big Cable, and Big Defense, and possibly Большой водки (Big Vodka).
Thomas Napers Added Apr 20, 2017 - 8:17am
Wsucram15 – What condescending tone?
 
Mike – I don’t agree with the phrase “rational self-interest.”  It doesn’t matter if one is rational or not.  People earn money for themselves.  How they earn it or how they spend it, may be irrational or rational, neither makes us greedy. 
 
Bill – My apologies, I honestly forgot why I was spending time defending our economy and you were making it sound like things are bad here.  Yes, I think you’re a typical progressive liberal, but seeing that you’re no longer insulting me, I won’t call you “left wing” or describe you as ranting.  If you wish to discuss greed, I’ll be happy to do so, but this comment thread is getting kind of long to begin a debate about our economic might or lack thereof.  I encourage you to write an article, I’ll be sure to stop by and provide comment.
 
Jeff – I’ve seen the baseless Trump attacks but accusing him of trying to starve the poor and deny them healthcare, is new.  From my perspective the more the left behaves as you, the more the middle finds themselves drawn to the right.  So please keep it up, let me guess, like Hitler, his next move is to eliminate the poor?
Mike Haluska Added Apr 20, 2017 - 3:11pm
Thomas - what I mean by "Rational Self Interest" is the basic instinct we all have to take actions that make our lives possible according to our values.  My point is that there is a distinct difference between "greed" and "rational self interest". 
When a person exhibits "greed" he is ignoring the long term consequences for short term satisfaction.  When a person robs a bank, he is being "greedy" and acting irrationally because he will eventually be caught or killed.  When a person sets up a sound business that trades fairly with its customers, he is acting in his rational self interest. 
"Progressives" see no distinction - to them it makes no difference if the businessman was very successful due to making his customers happy.  They can't fathom that he is successful but not "greedy" because "the only way to get rich is steal from the poor".
Jeff Michka Added Apr 20, 2017 - 5:03pm
Thomas tries to awake from his Napers with: the more the middle finds themselves drawn to the right.  - OH no!!! By being snarky, people will stop wanting food and healthcare!!! That "driving the away" stuff is pure crapola, attempting to silence a critic.  Poverty and disease will do Hitler elimination work for them.  The pure Trumpists get so angry about being called on your lack of shortage for human decency wrapped in dogma...
Thomas Napers Added Apr 20, 2017 - 8:50pm
Mike – “When a person exhibits "greed" he is ignoring the long term consequences for short term satisfaction.”
 
C’mon there is nothing wrong/greedy about ignoring the long term consequences for short term satisfaction.  Or are you saying everyone that eats a candy bar is greedy.   
 
Jeff – For the record, I’m not attempting to silence you, I want people like you to continue to rage.  In fact, I implore you to break some store windows and beat-up some Trump supporters, as it’s that kind of behavior that has ceded so much power to the Republicans. 
Mike Haluska Added Apr 21, 2017 - 3:31pm
Thomas -
 
Are you screwing with me or splitting hairs???
Jeff Michka Added Apr 21, 2017 - 10:41pm
Thomas, with head up from his Naper whines: I’m not attempting to silence you, I want people like you to continue to rage.  In fact, I implore you to break some store windows and beat-up some Trump supporters, as it’s that kind of behavior that has ceded so much power to the Republicans. - Well, then you want violence and angry and directionless protest "beating up Trump supporters" that has no purpose or end to advance your obviously bankrupt narrative.  You want me to rage,  Why?  Are you raging at those black people who are given everything (according to you)?  Fool.
Thomas Napers Added Apr 22, 2017 - 5:37am
Mike – I’m not messing with you.  At the beginning of this article I defined greed and it says nothing about short or long term consequences or rational or irrational behavior.  You brought up stealing, are you suggesting a thief that steals a loaf of bread is a greedy person? 
 
Jeff – what is it with the left and their inability to hold a conversation with their political opponents without resorting to ad hominem attack?
John G Added Apr 22, 2017 - 4:59pm
What Napers and Haluska are justifying is sociopathy. It's the old Ricardian logical fallacy beloved of selfish, greedy wingnuts.
Pretending that somehow allowing for untrammeled greed and predatory behaviour will somehow benefit society in the macro holistic range is absurd on its face.
Jeff Michka Added Apr 22, 2017 - 7:36pm
Oh, Tommy the Naper tries to deflect: what is it with the left and their inability to hold a conversation with their political opponents without resorting to ad hominem attack? - If you don't want someone calling you a fool, quit writing stuff that show you are a complete fool.  There's no "conversation" with people like you, Tommy, unless they agree with YOU.
Thomas Napers Added Apr 22, 2017 - 11:18pm
John & Jeff –It’s thanks to douche-bags like you two that I unquestionably support Trump despite his many flaws.  The reason, flawed as he is, he’s a far better choice than all those liberal loons out there.  I present the two of you as evidence liberalism is for jack-asses.
John G Added Apr 22, 2017 - 11:27pm
The irony and hypocrisy of their accusations of ad hominem is a wonder to behold. Especially when they start their standard remote psychoanalysis tactic.
Jeff Michka Added Apr 23, 2017 - 2:06pm
As John G notes: The irony and hypocrisy of their accusations of ad hominem is a wonder to behold. Especially when they start their standard remote psychoanalysis tactic.  - And do the same themselves with a vengence and to show the rightists that follow them, "they are tough."  Napers hasn't even woken up yet.
Leo Harris Added Apr 23, 2017 - 8:50pm
Leo – Oh ya…well you’re a bigger troll.  What’s with you liberals and your inability to engage the other side of the political aisle without resorting to insult?
 
John & Jeff –It’s thanks to douche-bags like you two that I unquestionably support Trump despite his many flaws.  The reason, flawed as he is, he’s a far better choice than all those liberal loons out there.  I present the two of you as evidence liberalism is for jack-asses.
 
I'm a troll?? But you are a hypocrite.  Thanks for pointing that out.
John G Added Apr 24, 2017 - 2:35am
Napers. I'm not a liberal, you moron. Liberals are not much different to you.
I cheered when Trump beat HRC. But not because Trump won. Because HRC lost.