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.