EXCUSING GREED ?

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Yesterday we had a school reunion of the classes 1965-1970 when I was in primary school. About half of them showed up, the other half did not react to the invitation apparently and one has - sadly - died in 2012. I guess on future reunions there will be less and less people - quite normal, isn't it ?

 

OK, so I was there nipping on a glass of beer, and one of my former schoolmates looked at me and said: Why don't you get a glass of that exquisite red wine over there ? It costs $ 150 a bottle ! I said, well, I don't really like wine now and apart from that - who brought such expensive stuff here ? Most people won't appreciate that anyway.

 

I did, he said. You know, I earn quite a bit, and that's peanuts for me. 

 

Ah-huh, ok.

 

He asked me what I'd be about these days and I said I'm leaving for Africa in 2 weeks. Africa ? LOL, he said, there's no money in there, only wars, poor stupid negroes who can't tell left from right.

 

In order not to stir up too much noise, I kept myself back and swallowed hard for a minute. Without further going into that subject, I instead asked him: Do you have some problem of self-confidence ? I mean, you snob about people who drink beer, you call Africans negroes in a disrespectful tone, and your clothes also scream like "Hey, look at me, I've made it !" May I ask you how much you're net worth since that seems to be your ultimate goal ?

 

He replied: You know, here in Switzerland we don't talk money, but trust me, I have almost enough......but then one can never have enough, right ? I mean, it's....ah....some sort of security, if something might happen....we're not getting younger, right ?

 

I said: Cheap excuse. You know, you remind me of people on a financially higher scale than you which haven't understood or care about one thing: What you have in excess others lack. Actually they lack it BECAUSE YOU have it in excess. And above that you sneer at people who ENABLE your excessive life indirectly.

 

He said: Well, it's not my fault when others can't make it like I did. I never kept anyone from making a career and do as I did. 

 

....

 

I stopped that discussion by getting another beer and greeting a friend from class 1966. I was confirmed once again that greed and selfishness can not be rooted out. It starts on a small scale and stops at the Buffet(t) of Mr. Warren or at the Gates of Bill.

 

What IS greed ? Is it an expression of lack of empathy ? Is it a way to get self-confidence and (superficial) acceptance in society ? Is it a remainder of the genetic survival drive ? Or is it simple egoism ? I think it is.

 

What's your opinion on that ?

 

(BTW: Maybe a song by the group Yes might fit to that: The Gates Of Delirium ;-)

Comments

opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2018 - 6:16am
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpbbuaIA3Ds
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2018 - 6:18am
I guess reunions are a chance to show off. This status game has no end. It is the cause of misery and destruction. That's a game I dropped out of when I was a kid. Unfortunately we find we are all part of the game no matter how hard we try to escape.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2018 - 6:20am
BTW - where did you get that great cartoon from? It sums things up.
Neil Lock Added Sep 7, 2018 - 6:31am
Stone-Eater: I'm not sure that what he was suffering from was actually greed, or even selfishness. He sounds more like an exhibitionist to me. You're certainly right on the lack of empathy, though. And tact.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Sep 7, 2018 - 6:38am
Thanks for telling us about this experience. I've never attended any reunion. I've always suspected they are like that and I never thought much of my classmates. 
George N Romey Added Sep 7, 2018 - 6:44am
Typical Baby Boomer attitude. 
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2018 - 7:11am
George - I think it's more typical human behaviour.
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 8:29am
Oph
 
I guess reunions are a chance to show off.
 
Looks like. Seems therefore it's the same in the anglophone world ;-)
 
BTW: Just googled "greed" in pictures and out came that cartoon.
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 8:31am
Neil
 
Yep. But, as George said, I'm not sure that this is Baby boomer specific. When I look at some Internet sites where so-called "influencers" show off....well, they're usually in their 20's.
 
But showing off is not greed. Actually I've made the experience that people who show off haven't got in reality what the pretend to have ;-)
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 8:33am
Jeffry
 
Shouldn't have gone there. It made me aware of how old I am, although I don't feel as old as these guys look LOL
Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 7, 2018 - 9:49am
Stone Eater, I suppose that one thing reunions do is bring people from alternative universes together that normally would not. I have not heard such shameless admission of shallowness ( well, except for interacting with our local ranting idiot)  in  a very long time.
 
Most material obsessed greedy people I know are wise enough not to
flaunt it too much. That is what I found somewhat absurd about this interaction.
 
But I have always avoided reunions precisely because I never believed that they were really about much more than continuing the competition of adolescents. Well, that and I would like to remember the friends I had from my youth as they were then. Especially the girls; who would want to ruin THAT memory.
 
Funny, I have been to a few funerals of colleagues from my younger days lately. They are turning into a form of reunion. These reunions tend to be more sober and sympathetic. I like them and I enjoy my old school chums there. 

Mustafa
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2018 - 9:56am
Stone - cheers. Same the world over I guess.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2018 - 9:57am
Stone - it's a shame that the image looking back at me doesn't match the image looking out.
Even A Broken Clock Added Sep 7, 2018 - 10:24am
Stone -
Soon oh soon the light
Pass within and soothe this endless night
And wait here for you
Our reason to be here
 
Still not sure what the relationship is with reunions, but you triggered my mental soundtrack to bring back one of my favorite album sides of all time.
FacePalm Added Sep 7, 2018 - 10:45am
SE-
IMO, greed is a form of hoggishness rooted in fear - that if you don't take as much of the pie as you can as FAST as you can, "some other guy" is gonna get it all.
 
Reminded me of a story, though.
 
A certain billionaire had a party on his estate, and was greatly enjoying showing off his statuary, his artwork, his car collection, etc..  A particular writer was not impressed.  "I have something you'll never have and can never get!", he said.
"What?"  said the billionaire, "What could you POSSIBLY have that i don't already have or can't get?"
"Enough," he replied.
 
Then there was the story about everyone in hell; they were seated at a banquet table just LOADED down with food, but they were all starving; their arms had been turned into spoons and forks, and because of the length, they couldn't feed themselves.
 
Then the scene shifted to heaven; there, the exact same scenario played out - a table loaded down with every kind of good food, everyone with spoons and forks for arms, but here, everyone was happy and well-fed - because they were feeding each other.
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 11:19am
Mustafa
 
But I have always avoided reunions precisely because I never believed that they were really about much more than continuing the competition of adolescents.
 
Good explication ! It kind of seems to me too. But then....funerals.....no thanks. I never go to funerals. First, everybody sniffs and squeezes some tears out, and then people feast and get drunk as hell. Don't know - I mean the first is quite logical, but the second should not come right after. Just my feeling, anyway...
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 11:19am
Oph
 
LOL
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 11:20am
EABC
 
Ohhhh....."Soon" still gives me chicken skin when I hear that. You're the Yes man, man :-)
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 11:24am
PalmTree ( ;-)
 
greed is a form of hoggishness rooted in fear - that if you don't take as much of the pie as you can as FAST as you can, "some other guy" is gonna get it all.
 
That would go along with the POV that the old genetics still work - get as much as you can as a reserve for the winter...but today it has been perverted...there seems a thin line between "survival planning" and egoism/greed ;-)
 
...and that "Enough" story nails it !
Ric Wells Added Sep 7, 2018 - 1:14pm
Stone when I read stories as you have portrayed my thought immediately go back to Sitting Bull's answer when he was questioned as to what wealth was. I will paraphrase Sitting Bull's answer.
 
"When the white man thinks of wealth he admires how many houses, or how much money or how much land he has to keep for himself. When an Indian thinks of wealth we think of how much we can give to others in need without being asked. That to me is the difference."
 
It was a well known fact the young braves were responsible for bringing meat from the hunt to those who could not hunt for themselves. Things were shared without hesitation between members of the tribe or clan. 
 
 
 
 
Dino Manalis Added Sep 7, 2018 - 1:32pm
 Some greed may be human, but we should strive to avoid unethical and illegal activities!
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 1:36pm
Ric
 
Fantastic. Again I see parallels with native African religions/philosophies and even Islam where one of the five pillars is to give a percentage of your earnings to the needy.
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 1:37pm
Dino
 
To save up is human, but greed has developed over time (see Ric's comment).
John Minehan Added Sep 7, 2018 - 2:20pm
There is nothing wrong with wanting to succeed and build wealth.
 
On the other hand, if you are ambitious and smart, Africa is the future.
 
Africa is what Asia was in the 20th Century.  The PRC gets it and . . . the EU and the US . . . don't.
 
I know your ambitions are more modest and more, I'm searching for the right word, more humane.  But, it is also not unlikely they may also be more insightful.
James Travil Added Sep 7, 2018 - 2:39pm
"Well, that and I would like to remember the friends I had from my youth as they were then. Especially the girls; who would want to ruin THAT memory."
My thoughts exactly Mustafa.
And as for greed, I've never been a fan of it. I like being comfortable and secure, money wise, but I never show off what I have. Becides, I read that experts are predicting some major catastrophic event in 2020, that will lead to the end of civilization by 2040. What good will greed be if that all transpires? 
Ric Wells Added Sep 7, 2018 - 2:54pm
James hence the expression. Ya can't take it with you.
John Howard Added Sep 7, 2018 - 2:57pm
"What you have in excess others lack. Actually, they lack it BECAUSE YOU have it in excess."
 
This is bad economics, commonly referred to as a zero-sum game.  It is not true that those who earn more are causing others to earn less. The amount of available wealth is growing due to productivity.  It is not simply fixed and being fought over.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2018 - 2:59pm
John - I think you are wrong. At any one point in time there is a finite amount. How that is divided is what we are talking about. If these people paid more tax we would have more money for schools and hospitals.
Ric Wells Added Sep 7, 2018 - 3:04pm
John what you say is true until one reaches Ophers premise. All resources on this planet are finite. It's how one utilizes these finite resources for the benefit of Humanity is what is important. When these resources run out they are gone. Granted advancements in technology may change or even further the utilization but they are still finite. 
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 3:05pm
John
 
Africa is what Asia was in the 20th Century.  The PRC gets it and . . . the EU and the US . . . don't.
 
Exactly. You see, the Chinese, Turks and the French (traditionally) are competing now, the rest of the EU is waking up, the US seems to sleep and Switzerland....well...we never take risks but complain after when we are too late ;-) Our business starts now with a huge delay, but our partners are NOT Swiss but Italian, British, Nigerian and probably Indian next. I, as being Swiss, couldn't find partners in my own country. Maybe we're not enough greedy ? ;)
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 3:07pm
James
 
Becides, I read that experts are predicting some major catastrophic event in 2020, that will lead to the end of civilization by 2040
 
Hah ! Time to set up an end-of-the-world-salvation sect and become clairvoyant. Gotta live up to my greedy character LOL
Ric Wells Added Sep 7, 2018 - 3:10pm
Stone the US is asleep due the current administrations policy of isolationism and nationalism. The world is functioning in an expanding global economy and yet this nation would rather waste billions of dollars buildings walls and create and enforce additional policies of subjugation and separatism. 
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 3:11pm
The amount of available wealth is growing due to productivity.
 
Trouble is one can't produce more and more and at the same time the majority of the people can't afford these goods anymore because they, who produced them before, were replaced by computers and robots and are now on the dole. That's also a zero-sum game in the end...
John Minehan Added Sep 7, 2018 - 3:39pm
"Exactly. You see, the Chinese, Turks and the French (traditionally) are competing now, the rest of the EU is waking up, the US seems to sleep and Switzerland....well...we never take risks but complain after when we are too late ;-)"
 
The French were very definitely "there" but when I was there (a year in Djibouti and other places in 2004 with the US Army) it seemed like France was there in sort of a "Neo-Colonial" way, unlike the PRC, which seemed to be there for the investment opportunities. 
 
The Indians have been in East Africa from time immemorial, but seemed to be a rather insular group.
 
There did not to be a major Turkish presence then, but I was on the other side of a large continent.
 
It is interesting to see how things are developing . . .  .  
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 3:51pm
it seemed like France was there in sort of a "Neo-Colonial" way, unlike the PRC, which seemed to be there for the investment opportunities. 
 
That's it. It's still like that, as for example in Cameroon, where the prez is a French puppet as well and can therefore dictate who gets the business....I saw it first hand that a bridge project in Douala got to the French although the Chinese would have done it a lot cheaper...the Franc CFA, which is currency in all of Francophone Africa, is controlled by the French....
 
In West Africa, commerce up to the last two decades was largely in the hands of the Lebanese, some major products such as sugar in Senegal, is in Jewish hands. The rest is French, but for example the new international airport in Diass/Senegal, was set up by Turkey. When I arrived there in February, Erdogan's poster was still gleaming from the airport wall ;-)
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 3:56pm
Ric
 
The US is not as isolationist as you think. A nation which produces the majority of heavy weapons in the world and has army bases all over doesn't make an isolationist impression LOL
FacePalm Added Sep 7, 2018 - 4:52pm
Good point, S.E.(perhaps because i was thinking along the same lines when i read what Ric had posted).
Personally, i agreed with Ron Paul before the MSM screwed him out of any chance for the Republican nomination, when he said that we need to close EVERY ONE of these bases, bring our men and women home, build up our OWN defenses, and let the world run itself.  Americans would save at least a trillion a year, AND make THIS country far more secure, to boot.
 
However, that would play into Ric's accusation of insularity/isolationism. 
 
A great author and great man summed up the situation nicely, around 80-odd years ago:
 
“I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else.  If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight.  The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent.  Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag."
-- Major General Smedley Darling Butler(1981-1940) Major General USMC, "Old Gimlet Eye'' and "Hell Devil Darling", most highly decorated military men from the pre-World War II era.
Source: from a speech in 1933
 
In fact, his whole little book, "War is a Racket," is quite a worthwhile read, as is a bio of him.  Prior to WW2, he was the US's MOST-decorated soldier ever - and when he got out, he realized that for the majority of his career, he'd been the muscle-man for various US corporations - and banks.  He was also approached with a scheme to violently overthrow the USG and replace it with one entirely fascist in nature - he played along and notified the relevant agencies, which exposed and ruined the plot - but the plotters themselves got off scot-free, because they were wealthy and well-connected.  Wonder where i've heard THAT story before?
 
But there's personal greed and there's corporate greed and there's national greed - and since i think that the focus of this thread was more about personal, i'll lay off expanding your premise unless you ok it.
Ric Wells Added Sep 7, 2018 - 5:13pm
Stone I was referring to economic policies of sanctions tariffs renegotiations of agreements exclusion of agreements ie. Canada. Bringing back fictitious jobs rather than participate in global economics. Militarily you are correct and they are intertwinedto a large degree. But I was reacting to your comment of the US being asleep at the wheel economically in regards to Africa. 
John Howard Added Sep 7, 2018 - 5:15pm
opher goodwin writes:
 
"At any one point in time, there is a finite amount (of wealth). How that is divided is what we are talking about. If these people paid more tax we would have more money for schools and hospitals."
 
Opher, "dividing" what does not belong to you because you did not produce it is called, among the riff-raff, "stealing".
 
The problem with stealing from the productive to buy votes from the parasitic is that it kills the incentive to produce in both. The productive stop producing because they see that their produce will be stolen and the parasitic don't bother producing because they see that they can just vote for their welfare instead of earning it by being productive.
 
Some people are producers. Others are "dividers".
Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 7, 2018 - 6:29pm
"The amount of available wealth is growing due to productivity."
 
Funny, at the National Labs, I see real productivity way down, almost to naught.  Of course, if you count producing weapons, yes, that productivity is growing as is the corresponding wealth. Go long Raytheon.
 
Moreover, alot of wealth is being created by the FED, but that wealth only goes into the pigs nearest the trough where Goldman Sachs, a few other banksters and Wall street feed and eliminate. Thus the bubble of all bubbles has created massive wealth and income inequality.
 
not out of productivity, but by moving entries around on a ledger. 
 
As for actually "producing" anything, the US is way down.
 
Mustafa
 
 
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 6:59pm
Palm
 
That's ok. Call it collective greed for everyone gets his share ;-)
Stone-Eater Added Sep 7, 2018 - 7:02pm
Ric
 
Might be that weapons pay off better. These you can sell to two war parties at the same time. The Chinese exploit Africa, produce goods out of them and sell them cheaper to the US than they could produce them themselves....
John Minehan Added Sep 7, 2018 - 7:24pm
"Might be that weapons pay off better. These you can sell to two war parties at the same time. The Chinese exploit Africa, produce goods out of them and sell them cheaper to the US than they could produce them themselves.... "
 
David Ricardo and Competitive Advantage.
Jeff Michka Added Sep 7, 2018 - 8:18pm
Gotta go along with SEFa's narrative about school reunions.  What else could you expect, nostalgia and fellowship don't compare to the thrill of greed and consumption.  The pleasure of one-upmanship is still good for a glow with too many.  If they were jerks and social climbers in school, they probably still are.  One reason I don't indulge in reunions is the people I'd want to see again, are, for the most part, dead.  Time does march on...Thanks for bringing up what the notion of wealth is for Native Americans.  Always struck me as a good measure of personal success.  "What can I afford to share..."
Lindsay Wheeler Added Sep 7, 2018 - 8:56pm
It's part of the dysfunctionality of humans called original sin. 
 
 
Ken Added Sep 8, 2018 - 2:06am
coming in late to the discussion, although I read the first few when originally posted, but have to say, who cares?  Does your school mate's belief in income or his belief in wealth affect your life?
 
Does he stop you from success because he is wealthy?
 
Does his feeling about his wealth bother you simply because you don't have the same status?
 
Does society need to stop him from achieving his goal ?
 
 
How are you harmed?  Why are you jealous?  Why couldn't you have done what he did?
 
The answer is Not At ALL..  his wealth didn't make you poor or middle class, your activity did.  Nothing he has done prevents you from increasing your wealth.  His being wealthy doesn't make you poor.
 
Regardless of his attitude (And 150$ wine isn't that big a deal for good wine, I have spent far more in the past for a great bottle of wine), how does that hurt you?
 
"If he neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket, what business is it of mine?" Thomas Jefferson
Stone-Eater Added Sep 8, 2018 - 3:25am
John
 
Wow. David Ricardo 200 years ago ! Gotta check him out. Never heard of him, thanks !
Stone-Eater Added Sep 8, 2018 - 3:26am
Jeff
 
Really. That was the last time for me too. We have a word for that in German: Kleingeistig. Google says "small-minded".
Stone-Eater Added Sep 8, 2018 - 3:35am
Ken
 
You don't understand. It's not about ME. I don't give a shit about other people's money. What I was allowed to do and see in my life cannot be weighed by any material fortune. Money is of no interest for me other than feeding and housing myself and my family/friends if possible.
 
I talk generally. When one lives or has connections to poor countries for more than 20 years he will automatically think of the people there when he sees others wasting money on useless things, enriching themselves for more than they need, and above that brag about it. 
 
Maybe you should have a word with Ric to better understand what I mean. His vocabulary is more precise than mine.
Johnny Fever Added Sep 8, 2018 - 12:44pm
Just as insidious a problem/sin as greed is envy, however one will read countless articles written by people outraged over greed and almost nothing written regarding envy.  So without reading a word of this article, it’s my hunch that you’re about to talk about how greedy other people are and not for one moment stop to recognize your envy. 
 
After reading the article, it appears I was right.  I would also like to point out that successful people should be rewarded for a job well done.  The extent of their reward is not a product of greed, it’s a product of their success. 
 
Furthermore, those that “lack” don’t lack because someone else has “excess.”  The reason being, life is not a zero sum game. 
Stone-Eater Added Sep 9, 2018 - 9:48am
Johnny
 
I explained my view further above. I'm not against getting rewards, but then again a CEO who gets a salary 1000 times as high as one of his employees and keeps it for himself only I call greedy.
John Howard Added Sep 9, 2018 - 10:50am
Stone-Eater, we do not trade in a free market, so it is a theoretical question to ask:  In a free market if a CEO earned 1000 times what his employees earned, why is that greed?  What calculation do you do to arrive at what is greed and what is not.  If his employees were earning 10 times what employees earn elsewhere, are they greedy also?
 
My point is that "greed" is a subjective term which I suspect cannot be defined in any objective manner because "excessive" is subjective.  It implies something improper, but I don't see anything improper in great inequality.
 
Stone-Eater Added Sep 9, 2018 - 1:11pm
John
 
I do see it as improper, unfair. In my view, there's no "work" that can be 1000 times more valuable than another. That's out of any proportion. When I'm starving, what do I prefer ? A loaf of bread made by a baker or a set of company shares ?
 
Here in Switzerland it used to be around 1:12, which means highest salaries weren't paid more than 12 times the salary of a worker. Just about correct.....that was 50 years ago. 
John Howard Added Sep 9, 2018 - 3:13pm
As I indicated, I speak of a free market - one where you do not get to decide what everything is worth, merely what they are worth to you if you are one of the traders.  Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.  Prices reflect individual choices.
 
It is invalid to speak of the value of something as if value was an objective attribute of the subject which you can detect and measure.  Value refers to the mind of the valuer.  To say, "it has value" simply means "someone desires it".  Price measures that desire.
Stone-Eater Added Sep 10, 2018 - 3:21am
John
 
I'm talking of financial value, what's there in cash. Maybe we don't talk exactly the same thing ? My English....;-)
 
What I simply mean is that there is work which produces value which is essential for our existence, like food for example. And the fact that the factory worker gains a lot less than the one sitting on top and merely "surveilling" it can get 1000 x more than the baker baking the food. As for example Nestlé or any other globalist. 
 
How does the CEO justify to gain so much more on products which are not subject of desire=value (in your terms) but of survival ?
John Howard Added Sep 10, 2018 - 7:53am
The one sitting on top is not "surveilling" only.  Whatever he is doing, others are making the choice to pay him very highly.  Those who are paid very highly are paid for good reasons.  If his job was easy, lots of people could do it and it would not pay so well.  The CEO does not have to justify anything.  It is the choice of those who pay him. 
 
And I am saying all values are subject to value=desire.  Do we not desire to survive?  You are still trying to say that you know what things are "really" worth.
Michael B. Added Sep 10, 2018 - 9:36am
From the 1997 movie Grosse Pointe Blank:
 
Marcella: You know, when you started getting invited to your ten year high school reunion, time is catching up.
 
Martin Q. Blank: Are you talking about a sense of my own mortality or a fear of death?
 
Marcella: Well, I never really thought about it quite like that.
 
Martin Q. Blank: Did you go to yours?
 
Marcella: Yes, I did. It was just as if everyone had swelled.
 
Well Stone, sad fact is, people are people wherever you go, and there will always be at least one smug asshole who was fortunate, usually because of something they inherited as opposed to something they earned. As you know by now, greed comes in many forms; some people sacrifice money for other forms of greed, and vice-versa.
 
I had a ten-year "reunion" of sorts at a certain club one night. It was amazing how I bumped into several characters I knew from "back in the day", and outside of swelling, they appeared to be unchanged overall.
 
George N Romey Added Sep 10, 2018 - 1:10pm
Greed is like pornography, you know it when you see it. Jeff Bezos has net worth somewhere north of $90 billion.  The people that work in his Amazon warehouses are all part time (other than a few managers and professional staff). The pay is about $10 an hour.  The warehouses are not usually climate control.  The work is very hard. The bulk of workers are older Americans that have little other employment opportunities so they take what they can get.  They often live together pooling their meager financial resources along with whatever they can garner from government support and private charity.
 
Bezos could visit every warehouse, write a personal check for $100K to every worker and not notice any material change in his vast wealth.
John Howard Added Sep 10, 2018 - 1:39pm
Mr. Romey,
 
I certainly agree with your view of Bezos, but I am convinced that such things could never happen in a free market with honest money.  Bezos is a perfect example of the Crony Capitalist Corruption that is wrecking the world and is only possible with a centrally-planned economy such as ours where a blizzard of counterfeit money is channeled to the upper few.
 
There is more going on than mere greed for more wealth.  There is a very real desire to impoverish everyone else.  Poor people are easier to control.  Ignorant poor people are the easiest.
 
The only cure is a complete separation of economy and state (as well as education and state), but the current mess instead will be the excuse for ever more interference, not less, and the results will be even worse.  Government is a progressive disease.  It only ever gets worse.
Stone-Eater Added Sep 10, 2018 - 1:43pm
Michael
 
people are people wherever you go, and there will always be at least one smug asshole who was fortunate, usually because of something they inherited as opposed to something they earned.
 
You're right. I grew up in a rich village as a middle-class child. However I found that some of the class still has that '69 feel about them.....some pretty freaky and open-minded and others.....well ;-)
Stone-Eater Added Sep 10, 2018 - 1:53pm
John
 
George puts it....I guess we were a bit drifted off about that balue thing...
 
There is more going on than mere greed for more wealth.  There is a very real desire to impoverish everyone else.  Poor people are easier to control.  Ignorant poor people are the easiest.
 
Talk about Africa...
 
The only cure is a complete separation of economy and state
 
Trouble is where does the government get the money for needed services when it's separated ? The private sector will surely not start a real trickle-down economy, and it surely won't invest in infrastructure other than when it suits their profit purpose directly. I see what happens when even water is privatized in Africa. The main thing is that governments don't restrict businesses too much as it is the case in Switzerland and probably much of the EU. Too many useless regulations which only serve a blown-up bureaucracy. A way to create useless jobs.
 
But then: The private sector digitalizes almost everything now, jobs are lost. WHO then would create new ones ? What is better ? To have thousands of people shoving papers or writing letters for no real purpose or having all those people on the dole - and who pays for their welfare after ? The private sector ? Certainly not.
 
John Howard Added Sep 10, 2018 - 2:49pm
Separation of economy and State does not mean that State is without funding.  It means State is not controlling economics, most especially by controlling the money supply (counterfeiting).  That is the greatest source of their power.  The ability to print money and hand out favors is the quickest path to tyranny.  
 
Technology has never and never will eliminate net jobs.  It merely makes workers more productive.  That is good for us all.  Do people lose jobs in buggy whip factories?  Yes, but they gain jobs in horseless carriage factories.
John Howard Added Sep 10, 2018 - 2:55pm
Every human is greedy.  They all want more.  That is why there will always be jobs for everyone.  Only government puts people out of work through licensing, minimum wage, regulation, tariffs, IP law, and currency manipulation.  Those are the job killers, not creativity and inventiveness.  Free markets result in full employment.
George N Romey Added Sep 10, 2018 - 5:42pm
Well I would say that there is a new paradigm in which now labor is being phased out.  All in all that can be a good thing.  I've worked in a steel factory.  Despite the romanticism that goes on about those factory jobs many are boring, dirty and sometimes dangerous.  So why not let robots take over those kinds of jobs.
 
However, then what happens to the people? There are ways to manage that.  In the 1930s the workweek was set at 40 hours as the automated factory required fewer workers.  What people do not know enough of is that the 14 million government jobs created during the Great Depression contained two facets.  First, most were low paying as to encourage people back into the private sector once the job market improved.  Second, many people were given job training which they were able to leverage in the post war booming economy.
 
Man has the brain power to do more than simple, repetitive tasks.  We now has the ability to really use the human mind so that is exactly what we should be doing.  Keeping in mind now all people are going to have that level of intellect.
Jeff Michka Added Sep 10, 2018 - 5:54pm
Ah, Geo...just say it, the uber-wealthy think labor is for chumps and poor people, so scorn it and devalue what little is left.  "He who dies with the most money wins," these days.  Recently changed from just "he who has most toys".  So okay, whadda you want to do to change it?  Remember "socialism" is baaaad, and the Ts need to run against "socialists," so can't do socialism, of course.
Stone-Eater Added Sep 10, 2018 - 6:14pm
The ability to print money and hand out favors is the quickest path to tyranny.  
 
Well I certainly agree on that. Or creating "value" out of thin air - see the financial sector and its addicton to interest...
 
I've got so many bitcoins in my pocket I can hardly carry my suitcase.
Ken Added Sep 11, 2018 - 3:12am
I will ask you the same thing I always ask.  Whether you agree with his philosophy or not, is it hurting your life?  Have you lost because this person has gained?
 
I know the answer.  the answer is NO.  As Thomas Jefferson said "If he neither picks my pocket, not breaks my leg, what business is it of mine?"
 
Is hepicking the pocket or breaking the leg of "poor countries"?
 
If he is someone like George Soros  who is crashing economies and governments he doesnt agree with when he can, then yes, that needs to be stopped, but who the hell should care if someone is just doing well in the world?
 
 
Stone-Eater Added Sep 11, 2018 - 4:27am
Ken
 
When we all start to think "not my business" to anything that doesn't concern us directly we have lost all sense of community and empathy. And we won't survive as a species that way.
John Howard Added Sep 11, 2018 - 7:19am
Minding your own business and respecting the privacy and independence of others are ways of showing a sense of community and empathy.
David Montaigne Added Sep 11, 2018 - 8:50am
The argument has often been made that "Greed is good."  It motivates accomplishment.  But people so often mistake the end goal, which never arrives, for they are never satisfied - for the satisfaction we should, hopefully, get from life's journey - or at least, from many little stops on the way.  Greed for its own sake is worthless and no rich man is ever satisfied with the amount he has amassed if he didn't gain it for any other purpose.
Stone-Eater Added Sep 11, 2018 - 8:51am
John
 
Twisting words ? You know exactly how I mean it ;)
John Howard Added Sep 11, 2018 - 9:05am
Sigmund, you do not know what I know about what you mean.  
Steel Breeze Added Sep 11, 2018 - 9:14am
if greed is the desire for more than we need......none are exempt...
John Howard Added Sep 11, 2018 - 9:52am
Steel Breeze.  Exactly right.  Greed fuels our imagination and our ambition.  There is, in its definition, the idea of "excessive", but I doubt that it can be measured.
 
It is reminiscent of the condemnation of "selfishness" which hints that being selfish is injurious to others. 
Jeff Michka Added Sep 12, 2018 - 7:49pm
Does greed fuel Steel Wheeze?  Guess that's what fuels your ERW "opinions."  Measured or otherwise, selfishness does directly hint at being injurious to oters.  When greed controls the narrative, somebody needs to be hurt, huh?
John Howard Added Sep 13, 2018 - 10:59am
No, selfishness does not imply injury to others.  Nor does greed.  See the dictionary.  These terms are used as criticism by altruists whose premise is that we owe ourselves to others and are therefore naughty if we fail to thus sacrifice our own interests to the interests of others.
 
However, if we attend entirely to our own welfare, we are not doing harm to others.  It is not a harm to "fail" at being an altruist.  Altruism is a bogus moral code.  Self-interest, even excessive, greedy, stingy, uncaring selfishness is good as long as we do no harm to others.
 
Why is it bad for me to benefit from my actions, but good for someone else to benefit from my actions?  Only the promoters of altruism know and they can never say.