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What is greed?

 
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2011 10:15 am
In Defense of Capitalism...and "greed."
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2011 10:24 am
@JLNobody,
Now you gilding the lily or sliming the canker if you will.

Schadenfreude works just fine for what you are describing. No need to pile on poor old Greed.

Has greed now replaced hypocrisy as the the Left's least favorite sin, and most favorite invective? That would signal a real change prompted by OWS.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  0  
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2011 02:23 pm
The typical manicheistic approach in this as in other similar threads...obviously greed can be both good and bad depending on how much of it runs a society...greed can be good up to an extent because it drives the individual to succeed and improve comparatively its quality of life, but naturally it can be bad if it runs over any principle in its way...the problem of increasing inequality´s growth in contemporary society´s and modern economy's therefore its not greed on itself, which is the same now as it was 1000 years ago in feudal Europe... As usually happens the trigger from something deeper within which has changed is taken for the cause of the illness which is something else...to my view the anonymous condition of power these days, in which its processes had progressively become in the past two decades ever more abstract and complex, thus hardly traceable to specific brands, company´s, or any particular group of leaders, which can change in the blink of an eye, resulted in the consequent inability from traditional institutions to effectively control it and supervise it, and thus to catastrophically fail to contain, its schizophrenic appetite for more which now cannibalistically threatens to eat the entire system from the inside...the new cancer within its not greed, but the lack of capacity to control it effectively, or to properly identify its sources in due time !
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  0  
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2011 03:17 pm
...same is to say we need global rules for a global economy...money has no nation but itself.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2011 06:03 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Yes, schadenfreude might be an expression of greed. I think that when we feel--and I'm thinking of the earlier quote by Ghandi now--that there is more than enough for everyone greed is less likely to emerge. But when we feel that the amount of "goods" in the world is fixed, that we are stuck in a zero-sum situation, we are then more likely to be sensitive to the greed of others and perhaps be more aggressive against it. I lived in a small town once where people were more or less ruled by a leveling culture, a culture in which each person's gains was seen as his neighbor's loss. Since then I've made a major effort never to envy others their advantages. But while I don't care how many houses, cars or zeros a person has in his bank account balance, I DO take an interest in the political uses he makes of his wealth. I'm thinking of Rupert Murdock right now.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  0  
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2011 06:20 pm
@JLNobody,
....Rupert Murdock has become a flag for all the evils in the world, its a new fashion for the Jerry Springer show usual couch potato...it explains all, we just have to hang them and the world is safe again...

...the problem are not, and never were, the Murdock´s around but the inability to trace their actions properly...in fact the system as it is invites Murdock like kind of people to step up and take the prize...
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  2  
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2011 07:24 pm
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2011 07:24 pm
@JLNobody,
Wealth is not a zero-sum game.

No one lost billions when Bill Gates made his.

In terms of defining greed much emphasis has been put on the means by which wealth has been obtained. I think it's unnecessary.

You can be greedy without screwing anyone and obviously screwing people is not limited to the practice of making money.

This is the sort of thing that occurs with the use of the term "hate crime."

What difference does the motivation make?

I am no more or less screwed if its done because of money or hate or jeaously or whatever.

Right now Greed is enjoying a special place among sins. It's silly.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2011 09:09 pm
(edited) ...The previous video was removed due to deceptive religious propaganda displayed at the very end which basically deviated its purpose on the wrong direction...(my apologies)
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2011 09:30 pm
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  4  
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2011 09:59 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
Wealth is not a zero-sum game.

I agree with this but. . .

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
No one lost billions when Bill Gates made his.

Try telling that to his competitors! Try telling it to Digital Research, whose CP/M operating system he cloned to create MS-DOS, and who would have supplied it to IBM if he hadn't. Try telling it to IBM, whose OS/2 operating system lost to Windows 3.1 in the competition to succeed MS/DOS. Try telling it to Borland, to Lotus, to Netscape. . . . the list goes on and on.

If you're saying that the gains to Gates and his customers exceeded the losses to his competitors, we can talk. But to say that "noone lost billions when Bill Gates made his" just strains credulity.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2011 10:47 pm
@Thomas,
I was just about to post that, so will instead just agree with Thomas. Some of his wealth, most certainly, came at the expense of others.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2011 03:11 am
The value added concept for products is a reasonable one, in that i can make more money for my economy if i sell you furniture, as an example, than if i sell you lumber. Equally, new products can be created, such as liquid hand soap, which might become popular and make me a lot of money. But wealth is not created. Wealth is always finite, and my wealth will always come at the expense of someone. The consumer will always provide that wealth, and the issue of fair pricing, as well as fair compensation to producers of what i use to generate my wealth, are issues which determine just how much equity there is in my acquisition of wealth. If i am robbing my suppliers, the people, for example who cut the timber; if i am able to convince the consumer that there is a cachet to buying my furniture which leads them to pay more than it is worth in terms of the then standard price for furniture of the same quality--then i haven't created wealth, i've simply lifted it from the pockets of the suppliers and/or the customer.

As Thomas has already pointed out, wealth can be taken from competitors, and oftentimes by less than ethical means. It can be taken from suppliers and the consumer as well--but it has not been created, as though it just magically appeared out of a void. Whether or not people got value for the money they spent, whether or not people got value for the products they produced which were used in the value added process--these are legitimate areas in which to judge if greed has taken a part.

Liquid hand soaps tend to be wasteful. If you hit that pump, you are putting into the palm of your hand an amount of soap which is almost inevitably more than you needed to wash your hands. The same thing happened in the late 1950s, when dish soap bottles began to be produced with a nipple on them, to be cut off so that you could merrily squeeze a jet of soap into the water. You might try to be frugal, but if you weren't getting enough into the water, you were certain to put in more, and the greatest likelihood is that you would end up using more than you needed. Prior to that wonderful dodge, you poured a measure of soap into the cap for each "sinkful," and indeed, were advised to do that on the label. The object, of couse, is to get you to run out and buy more. Now, for Dog's sake, they have hand soap dispensers with a PIR detector in them, so that you will invariably dispense more hand soap than you need, rather than just using a half a pump (you sly old dog) to give you what you need and no more. The Romans knew what they were doing when they put Caveat Emptor over the entrance to the Forum.

In the case of lunacy such as the sub-prime bubble, wealth was never created, it as lifted from the pockets of unwary and trusting investors. It was robbed from pension funds whose managers who took what they thought as trustworthy expert advice.

The measure of greed is actually relatively simple. Did the suppliers get value for their raw materials or intermediate stage products? Does the consumer get value for money when purchasing the product? Has anyone's intellectual property been hijacked? Has anyone been conned about the value of an investment?

Condemning greed is completely reasonable, and identifying it is not hard at all. It doesn't have to be a Ponzi scheme to obviously be a shell game. Wealth can be generated, but it is not created, it is always the product of barter--my money for your goods or services. Judging the value for money, and the ethics of those chasing the money, is perfectly reasonable.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2011 03:18 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil Albuquerque wrote:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_6vDLq64gE[/youtube]
Thanx for the video.





David
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2011 09:13 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
Wealth is not a zero-sum game.

I agree with this but. . .

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
No one lost billions when Bill Gates made his.

Try telling that to his competitors! Try telling it to Digital Research, whose CP/M operating system he cloned to create MS-DOS, and who would have supplied it to IBM if he hadn't. Try telling it to IBM, whose OS/2 operating system lost to Windows 3.1 in the competition to succeed MS/DOS. Try telling it to Borland, to Lotus, to Netscape. . . . the list goes on and on.

If you're saying that the gains to Gates and his customers exceeded the losses to his competitors, we can talk. But to say that "noone lost billions when Bill Gates made his" just strains credulity.


The billions that Gate's made probably would have gone into the pockets of his competitors, but that's not the same as their losing it or having it stolen from them. It wasn't theirs to begin with.

Of course to the extent that Gates may have unfairly competed an argument can be made that he stole money, but such practices are not fundamental to capitalism and they do not belie the claim that wealth is not a zero-sum game.

My point is that obtaining wealth doesn't require taking it from someone else, and certainly not from the working class.

Out competing someone and depriving them of an opportunity to obtain wealth is not the same as taking their wealth.
igm
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2011 09:31 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Capitalism + greed = too many losers. It is up to a government to redistribute wealth to make it fairer or it becomes unbalanced and over rewards the few at the expense of the many.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2011 10:33 am
@igm,
igm wrote:

Capitalism + greed = too many losers. It is up to a government to redistribute wealth to make it fairer or it becomes unbalanced and over rewards the few at the expense of the many.


What you apparently choose to ignore is the fact that the government is not omnipotent, and obtaining wealth is not a simple matter of raking it all up from under the money trees.

The government doesn't create wealth and so in order for wealth to be spread among all, those who do create wealth must be persuaded or coerced into spreading it themselves, or giving up control of a large measure of it.

The government is not interested in persuading or coercing the Rich to directly share their wealth. If it was, we wouldn't see the elimination of charitable deductions being considered.

At some point the government's seizure and distribution of wealth will affect the levels of its creation.

No matter what you think of companies that are sitting on billions of uninvested capital, the situation is a response to the prospect of government seizure and distribution.

The government is sufficiently powerful to seize all existing unhidden wealth, but it is not powerful enough to then turn around and maintain wealth creation at the levels existing prior to the full seizure of the economy.

The government is also not sufficiently powerful to force all of its citizens to accept the reduced standard of living that is an inevitable result of the full seizure of the economy. This is of particular importance in a country like America where the people who will benefit most from the seizure will not see much of a shift at all in their standard of living. There aren't hundreds of millions of serfs in this country who are on the verge of starving and for whom even a small increase in living standard means life over death. What's more, seize and redistribute all of the country's wealth and America will not become a nation wherein everyone drives a luxury car, can afford to eat out three times a week, and has the money to pay for an annual vacation at the beach.

The typical response to this is likely to be something to the effect of:

"Of course we're not looking for the government to seize and redistribute all wealth!" (Although I imagine some of you are calling for precisely that)

"We just want the rich to pay their "fair share."

You can castigate the rich all day for being greedy sobs, but they don't tend to look to you folks as their moral compass, and trying to shame people into doing something is not a very effective methodology...particularly if they don't think they have any reason to feel ashamed.

Since you can't reason with them or shame them, you need the government to coerce them, and coercion will impact the levels of wealth creation.

I've heard the argument before that the rich would not be so stupid as to cut their noses off to spite themselves. They'll still try and make as much money as they ever did, or that if they ever thought of moving their wealth and its creation source to another country, what sort of patriots would they be?

Although they keep telling you, you obviously don't believe them but there is a point of economic return for them where it is not worth their while to maintain their efforts to create wealth. Maybe this is purely psychological on their parts or maybe it's just a bluff, but it's a risk you would be foolish to dismiss out of hand.

As far as the issue of leaving the US and patriotism, these folks have already revealed themselves to be greedy predators. Do you expect patriotism to trump their greed? What do they care what you think of them?

Considering that there is absolutely no reason to believe that you have all the answers and that your motives are pure and patriotic, you can count on the rich to resist your efforts. Some (the ones who never had to work for their wealth) will undoubtedly be upset that you think of them as greedy. Some may even join your movement as members of the 1% who "stand with" the 99%. They won't voluntarily give up their big houses and fancy cars though. They won't forgo vacations in Cabo so one of your kids can afford school tuition for a year.

So far, the rich have been able, with a lot of support from class-traitors who don't make 1/100th of their incomes, have done a pretty effective job at keeping you at bay, and rolling back some of your successes.

2012 will be another good test of which side has the better of it in this conflict, and OWS may just be what you need to persuade a large enough percentage of the population that more coercion to take more money is necessary.

I don’t think so, but we’ll see
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2011 10:36 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Well written. You expressed what I was thinking about Gates. Also, he was prosecuted for his anti-competitive practices, but that issue is a different issue IMHO...from greed...etc. He made a product better and business tactics tougher than his competitors. He then used this heavy handedness and some holes in the marketplace/legal regulations to his advantage. That's where he went over the line.

Distribution of wealth can't and/or shouldn't be legislated (unless it's stealing). However, using unfair tactics or illegal monopolizing can be (MS OS/Gates practices, e.g. jamming an O/S and/or a browser down people's throats) in an uncompetiotive manner. This is something from which the Fed gov't can protect the consumer market and the computer industry.

Did I make myself clear...or muddy?
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2011 10:40 am
@Ragman,
Greed might not be just for money. For many people in high-level positions of responsibility, it's a greed for power which motivates them. Gates wanted it all, he wanted to control it all, he wanted to beat out Google, he wanted to bury Apple, he wanted to crush all the competition. I have no respect for him.
igm
 
  0  
Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2011 10:56 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
That's a fair comment... but capitalist models require governments to redistribute wealth because it recognizes that capitalism requires losers. So my point is not extreme but one of ‘checks and balances’ (it’s in the Constitution) and it is for the government to apply them for the good of the nation. If it fails for long enough then the majority eventually rise up with votes or other means and that is a dangerous course to take just to appease the minority rich, when a wealth correction of an acceptable level is a tool required to be used in a capitalist society.
0 Replies
 
 

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