What is greed?

Robert Gentel
Tue 18 Oct, 2011 11:15 am
Setanta wrote:
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.

In Gate's defense, when Apple was nearly dead, Steve Jobs flew to Gates and persuaded him to make an a $150 million investment (without voting shares) in Apple and to commit to making Office for the Mac for five years and this is widely cited as keeping Apple alive. Gates was also busy with charity when Google became a big threat to Microsoft and it has been Steve Balmer who has been competing with Google.

I have no respect for him.

I think his philanthropy is laudable, and puts anyone from Apple and Google, for example, to shame. The millions he will have helped will not care what the pop culture caricature of him is. That it is unlikely that anyone who holds him in low regard will ever do more good for as many people in their lives is really all his legacy needs to say.
Tue 18 Oct, 2011 11:56 am
It all boils down to ... when is enough...enough?

In the last decade to 15 yrs, I believe the degree of accleration of the concentration of wealth to the rich has resulted in the rich class (top 1%) that is richer than ever. I'll see if I can find the statistic about that from Forbes..etc.

The rich are getting richer in an alarming rate..and is happening at the expense of the middle class and the poor.
Tue 18 Oct, 2011 12:45 pm
Sorry....but it isn't the top 1% in USA that is as notable as what has happened to the super-rich ...the top 0.1% and the top .01%. Those 2 multi-millionaire and billionaire classes has/ have increased disproportionately.

Note the following:

"As of 2005, there were approximately 146,000 (0.1%) households with incomes exceeding $1,500,000, while the top 0.01% or 11,000 households had incomes exceeding $5,500,000. The 400 highest tax payers in the nation had gross annual household incomes exceeding $87,000,000. Household incomes for this group have risen more dramatically than for any other. As a result the gap between those who make less than one and half million dollars annually (99.9% of households) and those who make more (0.1%) has been steadily increasing, prompting The New York Times to proclaim that the "Richest Are Leaving Even the Rich Far Behind." Indeed the income disparities within the top 1.5% are quite drastic. While households in the top 1.5% of households had incomes exceeding $250,000, 443% above the national median, their incomes were still 2200% lower than those of the top .01% of households. One can therefore conclude that almost any household, even those with incomes of $250,000 annually are poor when compared to the top .1%, who in turn are poor compared to the top 0.000267%, the top 400 taxpaying households."

Also, the poor have grown in numbers and gotten poorer.

This article in the meanwhile is an article about the growing disparity of wealth distribution in USA:


"The average American, according to a recent Harvard Business School/Duke University survey, believes wealth should be divided thus: the top 20 percent should control 32 percent of the wealth, the bottom 20 percent should control 10 percent and the rest should be spread out among the middle class. In reality, though, the top 20 percent of Americans control 84 percent of the wealth while the bottom quintile controls just 0.1 percent. The net worth of the bottom 40 percent combined accounts for just 0.3 percent of the nation's wealth.

The gap is widening. Only 25 years ago, the top 1 percent of the nation controlled 12 percent of the nation's wealth. Today, they control close to 25, Vanity Fair recently reported. According to the CIA's World Factbook, only 38 of 136 countries have a less equitable distribution of wealth than America."

However, what isn't noted here is that USA is known to be one of..if not... THE...most charitable of all nations as regards the resoruces from Official Development Assistance by country as a percentage of Gross National Income in 2009 (April 2010)...re Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the countries giving the highest amounts of money (in absolute terms) .

1. USA 28.67 B
2. France 12. 43 B
0 Replies
Tue 18 Oct, 2011 12:59 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I didn't say that i could do more good for people than he has done--but i don't have billions of dollars at my command. In the late 1980s, i could go into Microcenter, the local computer hot spot, and find hundreds and hundreds of inexpensive titles of programs to buy. That included dozens of desktop programs which were available before Windows was even on the market. Microsoft slowly strangled the competition, and my remarks are not based on pop culture, you snot. Any number of small programming companies went under because they weren't under the Microsoft umbrella. In 1988, the software area of Microcenter was twice as large as hardware section. Today, even though they've relocated to a "big box" space, the software section isn't half as large as it was in 1988. I don't care what you have to say about it, Gates strangled competition and attempted to control the personal computer market, and destroyed a great deal of the creativity which was displayed in the 1980s. I have no respect for him, his charitable activities notwithsanding. Alfred Krupp was a paragon of charitable giving, while he armed the world with leading-edge artillery. Gates isn't that bad, but tossing off billions while his foundation invests only for maximum return, and often in companies which worsen the economies of countries to which paltry contributions are made doesn't impress me. Do a little checking up on his foundation and its investment policies some time.
Tue 18 Oct, 2011 01:03 pm
I'll concur. In 1997 I worked in the s/w industry while in Framingham MA. I worked for a software company that was nearly put under as they had put out as their main product an Internet browser due to Gates unfair business practices. They had no chance to compete as the playing field was tilted absurdly. They had to reinvent themselves with a different product line.
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Finn dAbuzz
Tue 18 Oct, 2011 01:41 pm
I'm not someone who argues that there is no legitimate place for government within a free market economy, but I am someone who believes that role must be very limited and monitored in the way business practices should be monitored.

The government's focus must be on maintaining open and fair competition. It has served this role well at times and it can do so in the future.

Problems arise when the government, for any reason, decides to assist one or more parties in competing.

With such intervention there is usually a component of quid pro quo, but the practice isn't driven by corruption alone. Ideological influences can be the driver and in some ways this is more problematic.

If a government offical assists one company or industry to compete in return for something as crude as a bribe, such instances can be discovered and once discovered, effectively dealt with.

If the return on the assistance is financial but fits within the legal framework of campaign financial law, it is more insidious but at least a correlation between donations and influence can be shown and voters can react accordingly.

If however, the intervention is based on ideology, it is generally because the ideologue is not a particular fan of the system and wishes to undermine or drastically change it rather than simply inluence it. That intervention often isn't intended to benefit one commercial party as it is to limit the ability of all.

I don't know how much you know of the Gibson Company's difficulties with the Obama Administration, but it's worth looking into. In this case the government is not attempting to keep the competitive field of guitar manufacture level. From what I can tell it ties it's intervention into either ecological concerns or the enforcement of international trade agreements. Either is clearly bogus.

Gibson imports certain rare woods from India to be used in manufacturing its guitars. They can import the raw wood and have American workers use it to create fretboards or they can import fretboards assembled by Indian workers and incorporate them in its guitars.

The government of India is OK with Gibson importing the raw wood.

The Obama Administration has declared Gibson's possession of the raw wood to be illegal and sent an FBI swat team to raid it's factory in Tenessee and sieze the supplies.

Gibson operates in a union free, Right to Work state and the Gibson CEO is a fairly prominent Republican who has donated to Republican campaigns and causes.

Gibson's competitors all import the rare wood and have American workers assemble it, they are all unionized, and all are headed up by Democrats. The Administration has taken no action with any of these companies.

The Administration's solution for Gibson's problem?

Gibson must import the finished fretboards from India and lay off it's workers who assemble them in the US.

Thats the government protecting us from corporate greed?

I'm sure Gibson's unionized and Democrat run competitors are benefiting by this intervention, but it seems to be more of a case of punishing one company rather than helping others.
Tue 18 Oct, 2011 02:28 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Interesting insight. I'm ill equipped to rebut this one way or the other but I am not shocked by them. I'm not sure whether this practice by the Fed is unfair and singling Gibson out ├žause they're Repugs or a coincidence due to incompetent researching/vetting of the impact on the other competitive companies. What I don't know is whether or not their competition used illegal woods.

FBI swat team raiding TN factory. How clearly Eliot-Ness of them.

The American worker seems to always get it in the shorts, though. Wonder why that is?

Here's the WSJ link to raid on Gibson TN factory (I guess for second time):


"Gibson Guitar Corp., a big user of ebony and other scarce woods, for years has allied itself with Greenpeace and other environmental groups to show it was serious about preserving forests.

That didn't stop the Nashville-based company, whose guitars are used by such musicians as B.B. King and Angus Young of AC/DC, from running afoul of U.S. authorities over allegedly illegal imports of wood. Though no charges have been filed, Gibson factories have been raided twice, most recently last week, by federal agents who say ebony exported from India to Gibson was "fraudulently" labeled to conceal a contravention of Indian export law."

. . .

""It is very possible that a broker made the mistake in filling out a form," Mr. Juszkiewicz said. Gibson says the ebony was partially finished for use as fingerboards and that Indian officials have endorsed such exports as legal. A spokesman for India's commerce ministry had no immediate comment.

After the 2009 raid, Mr. Juszkiewicz resigned from the board of the Rainforest Alliance, which seeks to preserve tropical forests. He said he didn't want to tar the nonprofit with bad publicity. A Rainforest Alliance spokeswoman said he wasn't pressured to step down, and the group continues to praise Gibson's efforts to promote responsible harvesting of wood.

Scott Paul, a Greenpeace official in New York responsible for forestry issues, said Gibson for years has done "great work" to promote better forestry practices. The question, he said, is whether Gibson did everything possible to avoid buying wood from dubious sources. "We have no idea," he said."
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Thu 22 Dec, 2011 08:18 am
No, I am not agree with you, this concept is not very valuable. Greed, invites people for debt, because lots of people have greed to fulfill their un-useful things. So if you have more greed then you are definitely in trouble.
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Thu 22 Dec, 2011 12:15 pm
I agree with Ossobuco that greed is a form of gluttony rather than a form of ambition.
But the term itself applies, as far as I'm concerned, to the ethical condition of a drive or willingness to profit at the grave expense of others. As such, it is a pathological condition of spiritual insufficiency. Something Jesus and the Buddha would have denounced.
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Thu 22 Dec, 2011 12:33 pm
Some really great statements made in this excellent thread. But the best--at least from my perspective--is Robert Gentel's:

"Socialism isn't evil (which should go without saying, but as you know it's a slur to many Americans), it's just a less productive economic system but that has its merits over capitalism in key areas. I think it's worth trying to balance the concepts to try to achieve optimal results for a society. Out of all first world nations I think America might be the absolute worst in this regard and I would like to see somethings shift away from unregulated capitalism (for example, healthcare and education are my priorities, I want both largely socialized)."
The middle way/mixed economy
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Thu 11 Oct, 2012 12:41 am
Greed is an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs. In addition, scavenging and hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed.
Thu 18 Oct, 2012 10:58 am
0 Replies
Wed 7 Nov, 2012 12:28 am
Hello All !!!
Extra ordinary wants/desire of any thing is called greed. Its may be greed of money, house or any other..
0 Replies
Wed 7 Nov, 2012 02:18 am
Greed can be a learned behaviour or a psychotic behaviour.

You don't see rain forest tribesmen being greedy, as they see equallity amongst themselves. They share, but mostly because what they can give affection is something everybody can obtain, if it was something extremely rare greed would occure as inequality would occur.

It was also observed at chimps with a female scientist who fed them bananas, she would only feed a few thus inequality occured and hostility followed. Before the experiment they would be calm and share, but after they was overly agressive and took it to hysterical lvls and fight amongst themselves for petty matters.
The woman was heavily critisized for that experiemnt.

For any given behaviour in psychology, there is also an opposit behaviour, that can manifest in various ways, like phobia towards something, or indifference.

http://www.badassoftheweek.com/attila.html wrote:
one of the men on the Roman Embassy that went to plead for their miserable lives noted that while Attila's guests were offered lavish, exotic foods served on solid-gold serving plates, Attila himself just ate a huge slab of meat off of a wooden plate, drank from a wood goblet, and carried a beat-up, nondescript sword on his belt.

wayne wrote:
Makes me wonder, what is the opposite of greed; generousity ?
Indifference for one thing.
There can be many "opposit" behaviours.

In Denmark we have many prime ministers who live in ordinary small homes. Once there was international press to meet our prime minister back in the '80, he lived by the docks which the press refused to belive and laughed at that information.
Even our current live in an ordinary small home, didn't move when being elected, the previous too.


I see in all philosophy fora, that most philosophers doesn't have the slightest clue about most basic science generes, therefore their posts reflect an medival approach to very simple things, at best.

People should read up on scientific and factual matters, instead of keeping their mental aptitude to cozy chat at best.
0 Replies
Mon 4 Feb, 2013 11:15 pm
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Mon 4 Feb, 2013 11:19 pm
@High Seas,
A Face of Greed!
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One Eyed Mind
Mon 15 Sep, 2014 10:36 pm
Greed is the black hole spirit we have in each of us that opens up when we let go of our beliefs, social commitments and so on. People become hungry and can feed on anything without satiation - wise men have called this "nihilism", and only a few wise men have evolved "nihilism" into a juxtaposition between "holism & nihilism", much like how a star cannot exist without a black hole and vice versa. A man without dreams, emotions and life (stars), is not a man, but a void.
0 Replies
Mon 15 Sep, 2014 11:21 pm
Agreed, but we might add that greed reflects--as you say--fear, and it's a manifestation of the illusion of being an ego surrounded and separate from all else. When ego is seen for what it is compassion and peace arise.
One Eyed Mind
Mon 15 Sep, 2014 11:25 pm
You forgot the part about what greed is on a cosmic level.

The black hole.

The pull.

The emptyness.

The life behind it all.

For ****'s sake, everyone down voting me because they're down trodden by my cosmic knowledge because they don't know how to crawl out of their self-created holes they've dug up.

But when someone says "therefore ego", without any explanation except the obvious, nobody cares.

I am calling community bias.
Mon 15 Sep, 2014 11:46 pm
@One Eyed Mind,
On the cosmic level the closest thing to some kind of universal and inherent greed is Nietzsche's Will to Power. I think he saw to be an immanent ( and perhaps transcendent?) force of nature, the universal drive of all forms to expand even at the expense of other forms which are doing the same thing: growing and expanding, whatever.

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