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Forum Post: Define Greed.

Posted 2 years ago on Jan. 4, 2012, 3:20 p.m. EST by wellhungjury (296)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I find the word "Greed" to be very subjective. I would like to get the varied opinions out there on what might be a good definition of greed or at best the benchmark on what greed can look like.

238 Comments

238 Comments


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[-] 3 points by dreamingforward (394) from Tacoma, WA 2 years ago

Alright, I'll try it: Taking as much as you can get with no consideration for the consequences to others.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

I could possibly roll with this. The amount, in your definition, seems to be less the point than the method. Sort of...The end does not justify the means. This means that we could educate a behavior that would be viewed as less greedy. Focusing less on the amount that one can amasses and more on the methods of which they accumulate wealth.

[-] 2 points by George1234 (82) 2 years ago

Look at your expenditure. If you are spending $100,000 on basic needs (bills), and 1 million on diamonds/ stocks/ gambling, it is a clear symptom of greed.

[-] 1 points by dreamingforward (394) from Tacoma, WA 2 years ago

No, no, no. I think you missed the point. You can't "technique" your way out of or into concern for others dude. Haven't you ever had a girlfriend?

But let me "cut to the finale": What you're trying to "work out" has already been done. It's called enlightened self-interest. You can find out about it in numerous places.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Funny:-) I will look into this enlightened self-interest, but my main premise with the original questions was to expand on what many people seem to have a problem with...greed. Most attack it but cannot put into words what it really is. Most feel that rich people are greedy by default. I do not buy into this. Anyway, live long and prosper.

[-] -2 points by toonces (-117) 2 years ago

I'll buy that definition. Sounds remarkably like the objectives of the OWS mob.

[-] 3 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

It's a selfish desire for something, that can include a desire for wealth, power, food, property.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Surely, a desire for amounts of what you state could not be considered greedy. Maybe it is based more on quantity? How could we gauge that?

[-] 2 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

Greed is a subjective term, i would say the amount is subjective too. In general terms it would be a desire for amounts beyond what you would need. The difficulty arises when one person judges what is enough for someone else.

[-] 2 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

I think you nailed it. This is why I have such a hard time with these blanket attacks on greed. I immediately go to a mindset of how we define it, judge it and ultimately deal with it. Just saying you are against greed is a safe buzz phrase with little value.

[-] 1 points by misterioso (86) 2 years ago

to call someone greedy, is essentially to make a moral judgment, I believe in moral truth so I would say that in some instances, we can say that a behavior or an individual is greedy in an objective sense. If a person, motivated by a desire for material wealth, causes needless harm to others we can say this person is objectively greedy. For instance, take Kim Jong il, he stole form his own people and lived in luxury while the majority of the population starved. Is there any doubt that he was a greedy man? could someone have the opinion that he was not greedy and still be taken seriously? I dont think greed is always objective, sometimes it will be a matter of personal preference, societal standards or combination of the two. If a persons self-interested motivations and desire for wealth is not causing suffering than the assignment of greed is not factual, it is subjective.

[-] 0 points by toonces (-117) 2 years ago

I think it is a desire for more than you are able to earn.

[-] -2 points by toonces (-117) 2 years ago

Like the selfish desire the OWS protesters have for the wealth of individuals and corporations and the desire for the power to just be able to take the money from them.

[-] 1 points by misterioso (86) 2 years ago

taxing the rich in order to pay for things like education, health care, and infrastructure does not come from greed, it comes from a sense of fairness. If the OWS protesters were demanding higher taxes on the rich so the poor and middle class could live in luxury that would be one thing, but in case you have not noticed, the government does not even have enough money to pay for the very basic things that government does like repairing roads and bridges. Also, you assume that an unregulated free-market is inherently fair when this is clearly not the case. Would you say that a hedge fund manager making 500mil a year contributes more to society than a doctor busting his ass 12 hours a day in the ER for 150grand or even a very good teacher making 35grand? I think not. In addition, if you are rich, your wealth is dependent on the overall welfare of society, nobody gets rich on their own. Someone had to build the roads your company uses, someone had to educate your employees, people need to be doing alright in order to buy your products......its only fair to expect people to give back. Oh and selling something you know is a piece of shit and will screw over the person your selling it too, lying about by saying its perfectly fine and then making more money by betting against it(as bank of america did) is with out a doubt greedy, that it not my opinion, that is a fact!!

[-] 0 points by toonces (-117) 2 years ago

It is not fair to take money from one person and give it to another.

A free market is as close to being fair as anything a man or government can try to orchestrate.

BoA did not sell something that was a piece of shit. It was protected from failure by the full faith and backing of the American people. The people and institutions that purchased those securities relied on the laws and regulations the gov't had in place to protect the purchasers of the securities. Sounds to me like the government had a whole lot more to do with the failure of the securities than BoA did (and I am in no way a BoA fan).

[-] 1 points by sufinaga (513) 2 years ago

it is only fair to SHARE!!!

[-] 0 points by toonces (-117) 2 years ago

OWS does not want them to share. Sharing implies a choice. OWS wants to empower the government to take the money from them. OWS is advocating theft.

[-] 1 points by sufinaga (513) 2 years ago

no you are the one wanting to take more than your share. sharing implies NO CHOICE. you are oppressing your fellow man. your self importance masking your self pity. you are deluded. go and sell all that you have and give the money to the poor. just do it!

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

That one could be envy, the student loan forgiveness may be closer to greed, or the taking of property they don't own. Difficult to tell with subjective terms.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

The dictionary definition is pretty good, in my opinion:

"An excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth."

So, if an employer has enough profit to pay employees a living wage, and chooses not to, chooses to keep that profit for themselves, then they are greedy.

[-] 3 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

So it's the people that don't have that decide if the employer deserves what his company has done? Gets close to letting envy take over on the judging.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

I don't think so. I think what is greed and what is not greed comes down to morals. What is enough to fulfill needs or what one deserves is a moral question.

[-] 4 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

Someone that took all the risk to build a business is bound to have a different idea of what his efforts were worth then someone working for him in an unskilled position. The market determines what jobs are worth, not some group theorizing on the morality of the offered wage.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Yes, but when there is high unemployment like there is now, or even our normal unemployment rate of 5%, there is a degree of job scarcity which puts power in the hands of the employer in determining wages.

[-] 2 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

So if he takes the risk to hire someone new, why shouldn't he be able to take advantage of the current market? Most businesses are feeling the current crunch and are trying to get by with the workforce they have. If it's morality we're looking at, the small business owner probably sees it as moral to try to keep his business going during hard times.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Absolutely. I don't think small businesses are particularly the problem. ModestCapitalist does a good job in his posts of outlining the differences between large corporations and small businesses. I think a big part of the problem lies with how we think about compensating people for work in the first place. 1 in 7 people are on food stamps and many of these people are the working poor. They work full-time and yet they still qualify for food stamps! It's ass backward. I think people should be paid a living wage that allows them to live a decent life and the entitlement programs would be unnecessary. If employees, as a whole, were paid more fairly, they'd have more money to spend, this would create demand for goods, and small businesses would make more profit, there'd be more hiring, etc. All of this would have to take place in the economy as a whole. You couldn't just force small businesses to raise wages all of a sudden.

[-] 3 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

In a way the government is making minimum wage a living wage through food stamps, school breakfast and lunch, and medicaid. If the burden shifts more to business, we'll see more things like GM moving to develop a better volt in China, and GE moving their x-ray unit there too. In all honesty the entry level jobs i've had really aren't worth much more then $9 or $10 an hour.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

No. That's not true. It's just a theory. Maybe your entry level jobs are worth $15 per hour who's to say. Setting a wage is a complex task it is just that employers have had all the power in the negotiation.

If everyone made a decent amount of money they'd all spend more and the economy would grow, too. Why keep people in "entitlement" programs when there is plenty of corporate profit in this country. The U.S. has de-regulated workers rights in favor of corporate rights. This is one reason why wages are low.

[-] 3 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

I see something small like the change in gas prices followed by everything else going up. I think it's naive to believe you can change wages and nothing else will change as a result. It's labor costs that are behind the move to outsource. Those that can't move raise their prices and we're back to where we started.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Why are the rich getting richer then? Because they're making more profits than ever before. They could easily share this with the workers. 30 years ago the average CEO earned 40 times the wage of the average worker. Today the average CEO earns 343 times the wage of the average worker. That's just plain greed. The only reason raising wages would lead to higher costs is if the executives at the top won't give a little.

[-] 2 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

You want some kind of system where people can't get as much as they are able to negotiate for. I don't think you'll get support for more government control over jobs. Workers that don't make a lot have jobs that any warm body can do. They are not paid much because the job isn't worth much. It's not about morality or helping people, companies trade money for work. If the work isn't valuable to them you don't get paid much.

Do you really think if we pay a guy more for some nothing job companies will stay? If they magically cut all CEO pay tomorrow would they just hand it over to the workers? I think you're foolish to think a company will share with employees it doesn't consider valuable in the first place. Why share at all, the contribution made by entry level employees is minimal.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

I disagree. The contribution made by all employees is valuable. It's very hard to place a value on labor. In many industries the bread and butter of the organization are the workers at the lower end. If workers were paid a living wage, they'd have more money to spend and consume and profits would go up anyway. If someone does a rote job this does not mean it is not valuable. Besides, the economy should work for the people, not vice versa. We are a nation of people, not corporations.

[-] 2 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

We can only guess what would happen if a living wage were put in place. I don't think enough people want to risk changing things when there is no guarantee what will happen.

All jobs may be of value to a company, but if anyone can do something, the value of the position isn't that high. Say I wash dishes, it's important to the restaurant no one get sick, but it requires little skill, if I mess up doing it they can find someone else without a problem. That type of thing decreases the value of the position.

[-] 1 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

"An excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth."

Does this ONLY apply to the rich?

Is this definition how you would describe a living wage?:

"A theoretical wage level that allows the earner to afford adequate shelter, food and the other necessities of life. The living wage should be substantial enough to ensure that no more than 30% of it needs to be spent on housing. The goal of the living wage is to allow employees to earn enough income for a satisfactory standard of living."

If an employer is not paying his employees a "living wage" that provides for adequate food, shelter and other necessities of life-wouldn't his employees BE DEAD???

Maybe landlords need to charge a living rent?

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

That is a ridiculous argument. "...wouldn't his employees BE DEAD." Geez, I'd never want to work for you.

Of course it doesn't only apply to the rich.

Yes. That is one definition of a living wage. We've never had one, really, so it needs to be discussed. I think it's a fluid definition at this point.

Anyway, here's some morning reading for you. Seems social mobility in the U.S. is at an all time low. The poorest and the richest have the least mobility while folks in the middle move around a bit in the middle:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/us/harder-for-americans-to-rise-from-lower-rungs.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper

[-] 1 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

If I may, the definition posted by justhefacts is the same as in my own dictionary. However in the context of the word as it applies here at OWS might (I think "should") include "desire so excessive as to be a detriment to others."

Many, many others. Greed, in this context, harms a majority of others and greatly so.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

I didn't mean his definition was bad, just the thought that the employees would be dead if they didn't get a living wage. It just makes no sense to me. It's like saying the poor do get a living wage because they're alive, right?

[-] 2 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

I do understand your point. I was merely (and ineloquently) trying to show that, in therory, greed can be benign to others in some instances but as it applies to the context of the greed we oppose it is very harmful. The dog-eat-dog, game the system, "never give a sucker an even break" attitude has to cease and desist. It's gotten way out of hand.

I watched Peirs Morgan's interview of Phil Donahue last night and Mr. Donahue stated that our's isn't the America his parents raised him in and that he had pledged his allegiance to. That statement really struck a chord in me.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

It is so sad right. Let's get our country back!

[-] 2 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

Not to go off-topic, but what the big insurance companies did in denying claims by the people who suffered the losses of homes and property as a result of hurricane Katrina is the kind of mega-greed that really gnaws at me.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

That's exactly why we're here. Please post more. You've probably noticed all the trolls trying to drown us out.

[-] 1 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

I try to chime in almost daily on at least one of the threads here. As far as the trolls go, they surely do expend a great deal of energy posting. Wow! We must have them more than a little worried, you know? I'll debate and argue when the point the other side is trying to make seems thought out, but many seem bent on simply trying to engage in baiting some of us into an arguement simply for the sake of seeing if they can get under our skin. As I've posted in other threads here, other forums I've been part of have had these same types of folks and so I rarely reply to those who are simply trying to create an incendiary atmosphere. There are too, those who are genuinely mentally unstabile. Well, I'll get back to reading this thead.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Good. I'm glad you're here and I agree with everything you say.

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

what if the employer uses the money to reinvest in equipment & expansion which is usually the case ? The opulence you focus on is a mere pittance in the big picture. It just looks bad.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Like I said. If an employer has enough profit to pay employees a living wage, and chooses not to, chooses to keep that profit for themselves, then they are greedy. You can get all technical, but I'd say if he needs to reinvest & expand that could be justified, but can't it come from his profits in addition to the wages of the employees (maybe a greater percentage from his profits would be nice.)

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

and who should decide that?

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Maybe they should decide that together. Would that be a horrible thing? Greedy employees would be just as bad as a greedy employer.

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

then go join a union shop - that's what they do. It's called collective bargaining. Leave the rest of us that want to work without a union alone.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

This thread is about greed and figuring out how wages should be set. Do you allow your employer to set your wage without you having any say? Have you ever left a job because the salary was too low? That's great if you have that kind of power. But, with the unemployment rate the way it is, and the erosion of workers' rights (I'm talking about overtime, "temporary workers" and part-time workers with no benefits, employment-at-will, etc.) employees have very little power to set their wage. The power lies with the employers and they know it and they take advantage of it.

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

yes - my employer offers a salary & I've accepted & Yes I've left a job for a higher paying job. That's the way it works. things are tough now but hopefully it's temporary. If we had a growing economy we would have more options. Keep supporting socialism and you will get more of the same.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

You sound somewhat reasonable here, but think of how lucky you were to be able to quit that job. Not everyone has that luxury.

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

why dont they have that luxury? I am no different than anyone else. Shop your skills around. or get some. Too many excuses !

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Do you come from abject poverty?

[-] 1 points by flatd (5) from New York, NY 2 years ago

yeah the dictionary works for me. maybe even greed itself isn't inherently bad, but when other folks (corporate or otherwise) greed damages society or negatively impacts peoples quality of life, not so good. if there were a way to put the "necessities" out of reach of anyone's greed, that'd be good. protect housing, health, food, environment, infrastructure, people's bank accounts and mortgages, stuff like that, but otherwise, let the greedy make horrible messes of themselves all over each other.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Yes. Be as greedy as you want but don't force people into freaking poverty.

[-] 1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

AGREE both with the definition and the example.

Look at ALL of the great religions: they have ALL excoriated greed.

Some might object: well, that's not really the case with many American "Christians", for example the proponents of the so-called "prosperity gospel", which extols materialism and attempts to amalgamate Gordon Gekko and Christ...

Obviously, THAT consitutes a grave distortion of the teachings of Jesus. It is not Christianity at all, it is MAMMONISM, i.e. the worship of the GOD OF MONEY. Some of those churches have gradually sunk into heresy and blasphemy. You won't hear THEM quote the famous words of Jesus : "Woe unto the rich!"

[-] 2 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

Couldn't agree more with your point!

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Yup. A lot of Christians use the concept of the Protestant work ethic to justify acquiring wealth as a godly thing. Capitalism rules for these people.

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

ABSOLUTELY!

You know, that's why I say "The more I love Jesus, the more I dislike Chritianity".

The earliest followers of Jesus, in fact, did not even call themselves Christians, but "the people of the Way". And as we see in many beautiful passages of "Acts", THEY SHARED EVERYTHING IN COMMON and were always looking out for each other. It gave them an inexpressible feeling of JOY - something that the greedy will never experience, unfortunately.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

How do we get these people to learn compassion and empathy? I fear these are things you learn as a small child through receiving unconditional love and I don't know how you teach that later on. (That's what Jesus taught, unconditional love.)

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

AGREE.

Sociopathic greed is not so much a "vice" - I hate that word anyway - as it is a sickness of the soul. I have a pet theory that money is A SUBSTITUTE FOR LOVE (Think of the movie "Citizen Kane").

If I were a therapist working with sociopaths of this type, I would try to empathize with them and help them uncover THEIR TRUE DESIRE - the desire to finally LOVE AND BE LOVED.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

I wholeheartedly agree!!! Money is a substitute for love. That is so sad.

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

I've studied biographies of billionaires and MANY of them had sad childhoods, which apparently left a huge gaping hole in their hearts... which they later, subconsciously, desperately tried to fill up with money! That's why I disagree with those who "hate the rich" : it can only make them worse, even more defensive about their "bucks".

For other people, it's alcohol, sex, drugs, workaholism, various types of addictions... I have a hunch that ALL ADDICTIONS ARE A SUBSTITUTE FOR LOVE. If that is true, then the Beatles are quite literally right: "Love is all you need". The "people of the Way" certainly seemed to think so!

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Definitely, true, Tiouaise. Definitely.

[-] 1 points by ithink (761) from York, PA 2 years ago

True, true. In this light, perhaps greed can be defined as an addiction to material wealth.

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

Yes, and I'm afraid that in our culture, this addiction - known as "materialism" - has become quite prevalent, mainly through television and advertising. We are bombarded on a daily basis with messages that make an incredible claim: "THINGS make PEOPLE happy."

If you vneture to make the counter claim that you're perfectly happy without an iPhone, an iPad or an iPod, people think you're some kind of iNut or iPhobe :)

Conditioning, my friends, that's what it's called... CONDITIONING whose sole purpose is to LINE THE POCKETS OF THE 1% while putting YOU into debt.

[-] 1 points by kayak69 (57) from West Sand Lake, NY 2 years ago

Good definition and good example.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Even within your example, there lies a gray area. An employer reaches the exact amount to offer a "living wage" (inherent in itself to be subjective), but then plans a surplus or buffer to survive that inevitable "rainy day" could be construed as being greedy.

I am not against your example, just extrapolating the inherent problem with this overabundant broad and sweeping complaint about greed. Keep chatting. I think this is good stuff.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Well, the living wage is only subjective at this point because we don't legally have one in this country and we haven't given it much thought. It would likely be complex based on geographics, cost of living, etc. So, why accumulate the buffer/surplus purely on the employees' backs? Take it fairly from the profits and the employees. It is all about fairness, you know?

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

You could phrase it like that. A living wage will always be subjective to some degree much like greed is subjective. There is not a black and white answer. It is always prudent to build a margin to survive leaner times, otherwise, no one has an income. In its pure, correct form, it should be placed on all backs (owners and employees) Once that margin has been built, then you can move forward. However, when those lean times drain that buffer, owners and employees should be willing to take pay cuts. The reality is that business should be looked at as a team effort. Any owner/employee who does not recognize this, inherently is selfish.

Now, I really do not want this side bar to take away from the original question of explaining greed through the eyes of those in this thread. Please, continue.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Excellent, wellhungjury. We found a place of agreement. I was just answering you. I already posted my definition up top.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

I read your dictionary definition and politely am unsatisfied. Key piece being the determination of what is considered "need" and "deserves". Those two things are what splits people up. I think it needs to be talked about. Please, continue.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Okay. Let's think about what is morally correct. What is morally correct is to pay someone what they need to live on no matter what. What is morally correct is to pay someone above and beyond that if they have the skills and have put in the work and have earned you the profits to justify that.

I'm not religious but sometimes religion is where we hear about moral stories. I once heard this story, I think it's in the bible, forgive me, I think Jesus may have told it. Anyway, I'm sure I'm going to botch it up, but it will have the same crux: A farmer needs workers to bring in the harvest. Several show up early in the morning, say 8:00, and he hires them. Throughout the day, others come and work for him at various times. All the workers leave at the same time when the sun sets. All the workers are paid the same wage for the day even though they didn't work the same amount of time.

Could it be that the storyteller was saying that it is moral to provide a living wage so to speak? This is where the needs part of the definition comes in.

Also, the Catholic Church sees merit in what they call a "Just Wage" to provide decency and respect to workers. Give them what they need to live a decent and respectable life.

[-] 2 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

It was Jesus that told that parable. The context of that story had to do with when people accepted the lord as their savior at different times in their lives. The farmer was God and he was accepting of all people into the kingdom of heaven, regardless of when they accepted him.

I guess, taking it literally, it could be that way. But this really shows more of a generosity that is beyond what is deserved. Still a good thing.

When people look at those who have more, is there a tendency to assume that they must be greedy? IF, an employer paid his staff 10 times above the living wage, but still made so much money that he was paid 10 times above his staff, does this make him greedy? IF, good that he done with this windfall by his own hands, does that let him off the hook for being greedy? Should he give up all windfall to the government, so as to lower his pay back down to his staffs level?

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Thanks for clarifying. You can tell I never went to Sunday School. Nonetheless, you are okay, wellhungjury. I like your last paragraph. No, just because someone has more doesn't mean they're greedy. No, if an employer pays a living wage and keeps the rest of the profits he's not greedy (might have to live with himself and his conscience, but no, not particularly immorally greedy.) If he acquired the windfall by his own hands, no not greedy (unless again, he doesn't share with the needy and has to live with his conscience). And, lastly, no, he shouldn't give up all the windfall to the gov't.

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[-] 2 points by Concerned (455) 2 years ago

Pretty good explanation of the passage wellhungjury.

The story was told by Jesus in response to Peter's belief that because he had been among the first to leave everything to follow Jesus, that he should receive a greater reward.........it was not in defense of socialism.

Here is a good write up on the story. http://bible.org/seriespage/workers-vineyard-matthew-201-16

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

Look at ALL of the great religions: they have ALL excoriated greed.

You might object: well, that's not really the case with some American "Christians", for example the proponents of the so-called "prosperity gospel", which extols materialism and attempts to amalgamate Gordon Gekko and Christ...

Obviously, THAT consitutes a grave distortion of the teachings of Jesus. It is not Christianity at all, it is MAMMONISM, i.e. the worship of the GOD OF MONEY. Some of those churches have gradually sunk into heresy and blasphemy. You won't hear THEM quote the famous words of Jesus : "Woe unto the rich!"

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[-] -1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

Who determines what any one person deserves?

[-] 3 points by ChemLady (576) 2 years ago

I think the jury is made up of the needy or envious. More subjective terms.

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

So more or less whatever the majority of a group says?

[-] 2 points by ChemLady (576) 2 years ago

I could go along with that if you were only talking about how to use the word in conversation. If you wanted to use it for some legal purpose I'd want to be more careful who I let have a say on the matter.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Wellhungjury and I slugged it out below. He asked the exact same question. Not sure if we got anywhere but there is some interesting stuff. If you can think of something to add to it please do.

[-] -1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

All I would like to add is that society sets what is morally sound and is entirely subjective.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

Well if that's true, then I'm scared. We live in a pretty screwed up, morally bankrupt society, in my opinion. But, you're probably right. That is why workers are treated so poorly.

[-] 0 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

Well it makes sense right?

[-] 1 points by MonetizingDiscontent (1257) 2 years ago

Greed is: Not being content to just squeeze you with fee's and ripping everyone off, but spying on you while doing it.


::::::::::::::::Why 308,127,404 Americans Are Going To Get Hosed::::::::::::::::

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-post-why-308127404-americans-are-going-get-hosed

-01/11/2012-

Last week, the US government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an agency of the US Treasury Department, published its 2011 annual report... http://www.fincen.gov/news_room/rp/files/annual_report_fy2011.pdf ...There are a few numbers that are pretty startling.

We’ve discussed before that FinCEN is the executive agency tasked with ensuring that every US banker is an unpaid government spy through Suspicious Activity Reports.

A Suspicious Activity Report, or SAR, includes details of any transaction that may be deemed ‘suspicious’. Naturally, there’s no clear guidance on what is/is not considered suspicious. Banks, brokerages, money service businesses, precious metals dealers… even casinos are required by law to fill them out.

If you withdraw an unusual amount of cash from your bank account, that could be deemed suspicious. If you set up a new payee in your billpay service, that could be deemed suspicious. Anything and everything is fair game.

Banks and other businesses who do not fill out SARs face hefty penalties, including imprisonment. If they disclose to a customer that s/he is the subject of a SAR, they have hefty penalties, including imprisonment.

When push comes to shove and they have to choose between a nasty penalty, or submitting a SAR about your unusual cash withdrawal, which option do you think they’ll pick?

Unsurprisingly, nearly 1.5 million ‘suspicious activity reports’ were filed across the US banking system in 2011, well over twice the number reported in 2004. On top of this, there were an additional -14.8 million- ‘currency transaction reports’ filed in 2011, a 6% jump over last year.

It’s an unfortunate trend which highlights not only the end of financial privacy, but also the massive amount of data being collected by the government to keep tabs on its citizens.

According to this year’s report, a full 36 distinct federal law enforcement agencies requested information from FinCEN (and even more who haven’t). Three dozen. And that doesn’t include state or local law enforcement.

That there are this many federal law enforcement agencies to begin with is mind-boggling… let alone the thought that some knucklehead at the Fish and Wildlife Service has access to bank records.

This is one reason why international diversification is so important– the likelihood of such collection and monitoring is greatly reduced when you bank overseas. Moreover, should one of these dozens of agencies or courts decide that your ‘suspicious activity’ warrants locking you out of your accounts, they have zero jurisdiction overseas.

This is a common tactic in the US; financial activity is one of the many, many areas with a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ burden of proof. You don’t even need to be doing anything wrong (which is the case most of the time this happens) for one of these agencies to freeze your account ‘pending investigation’ with a simple phone call. Good luck getting it unfrozen.....

(((Continue Reading this article Here))) http://www.sovereignman.com/expat/why-308127404-americans-are-going-to-get-hosed/


[-] 1 points by l6griffin (5) from Oakdale, CA 2 years ago

Good question but perhaps the wrong approach. Never having been to high on the salary curve, and brought up a Christian. I've always had to consider a few things. First "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors property." Second, do I really need it. Could I do with less. Then would greed be a problem?

[-] 1 points by IWillNeverStopBashing1Percen (-25) 2 years ago

48 hours ago, I had 2229 points. Now, its down to 1900. There is now an organized effort to discredit me and prevent others from reading my essays. IT WON'T WORK. From now on, I will create another page daily and repost ALL of my essays ripping on the richest 1% and their corporate golden geese and defending the middle class in honor of those who use multiple IDs and/or bots to vote down my comments. CLICK ON ALL + SIGNS TO VIEW COMMENTS.

How do you like that you die-hard partisan puppet critics? What about you Thrasymaque? Was this the result you were hoping for when you started using multiple IDs and/or bots to aggressively track and 'vote down' my comments? Were you hoping to intimidate me? If so, I have some bad news for you.

IT DIDN'T WORK.

Say that reminds me.

The CBO report I am about to make reference to breaks down shares of net American income by quintile. Since a quintile represents 1/5, the middle quintile would certainly represent the 'middle class'. But we'll expand further out to all 5 quintiles just to cover all bases. Keep in mind these statistics represent income AFTER taxes.

Between 1979 and 2007, the share of net income for the lowest quintile dropped by 27.9 percent. Does that prove the expansion of the lowest class? Damn near it but lets eliminate all doubt.

Between 1979 and 2007, the share of net income for the second quintile, dropped by 23.6 percent. Does that prove the expansion of the lower class? Isn't it possible that the lowest two quintiles were always the lower class and the middle class had always represented just 1/5 of the US population? Well, thats what justhefacts would swear so lets eliminate that last shred of doubt. Lets move onto the middle quintile. The indisputable 'middle class'.

Between 1979 and 2007, the share of net income for the middle quintile dropped by 14.5 percent. There you go. Indisputable proof that at least 3/5 of Americans lost their relative share of net income between 1979 and 2007. Indisputable proof that America's middle class had shrunk and its lower class had expanded between 1979 and 2007. Indisputable mathematical proof. Still, lets move onto the next quintile.

Between 1979 and 2007, the share of net income for the fourth quintile dropped by 10.3 percent. There you go. Indisputable proof that at least 4/5 of Americans lost their relative share of net income between the years 1979 and 2007.

Bankruptcy and consumer debt rose significantly during this time frame. By 2007, consumer debt alone rose to nearly $2,000,000,000,000. Thats NEARLY TWO TRILLION DOLLARS.

So we've proven the actual shrinkage of the middle class and the actual expansion of the lower class. We've clearly established a loss of financial assets.

So where did the money go? The highest quintile? Lets take a look.

Between 1979 and 2007, the share of net income for the fifth quintile rose by 23.8 percent. Should we blame them? The highest quintile? Do we really want to blame a full 20% of the American population?

Not in my book. Lets take a closer look.

Between the years 1979 and 2007, the share of net income for the top decile (one tenth) rose by 40.2 percent. Thats a 16.4 percent spread just within 10 percent of the population. Lets take a closer look.

Between the years 1979 and 2007, the share of net income for the top ventile (one twentieth) rose by 61.9 percent. Thats a 21.9 percent spread just within 5 percent of the population. Interesting. Now, lets take a look at the final piece of the puzzle from this particular time frame.

Between 1979 and 2007, the start of the Great Recession and the worst financial crisis in nearly 80 years, the share of net income for the top centile (one hundredth, top 1%) rose by 128.0 percent. Thats a spread of 66.1 percent just within 5 percent of the population.

But that 66.1 percent spread is nothing. It is multiplied by hundreds just within that top centile. The richest 1%.

THATS THE PROBLEM.

Now, watch my die-hard partisan puppet critics deny the actual shrinkage of the middle class, the actual expansion of the lower class, and the actual transfer of wealth from poor to rich. In particular, the richest 1% who as of 2007, owned 43% of all financial wealth in America. Thats more than twice the share they held in 1976.

I see that my die-hard conservative partisan puppet critics and possibly another (Thrasymaque) who has admitted despising me more than any other user and using 'bots' of his own design to 'vote down' my comments are at it again. Be sure to click the '+' sign to view all comments.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/48-hours-ago-i-had-2229-points-on-this-ows-site-no/

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I looked as far and wide as reasonable on the Internet, and every definition of "greed" is subjective. You clearly already concluded that on your own.

We typically use greedy and selfish interchangeably in common use, but I would reserve the word greed for the compulsive form. We are able to teach our children to share and they learn to control their desire accordingly, but a child suffering from greed is driven by a compulsion they cannot control.

By corollary, we may be able to teach the selfish in society to see the merits and importance of sharing though education and exposure to the negative consequences of their behavior, but the greedy in society simply cannot overcome their lust for things. They are addicted for any one of the reasons that lead anyone to addiction; genetics, deficient upbringing, etc.

For what it's worth, I believe most of the 1% we lambaste in these forums are at most selfish and I think they can be reformed. The few that are greedy likely need treatment and counseling like any other addict. Unfortunately, just like any other addict, nobody can make them address their problem until they admit they have one, and that's darned hard to do until the addition causes a problem in their life.

I am in the 3-5% of income earners, and I can personally attest that, in retrospect, I had a selfish or more accurately an unthinking attitude when I first came here. My interactions with people here have however caused me to see I was wrong. I think there are many more like me out there. They just need someone to show them what it's like outside their insular world. Have patience with them, they aren't all bad people.

P.S. Awesome choice of names !

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Yes, I pretty much had the opinion that greed is subjective. I thought that creating a dialogue with others would illustrate that more clearly to those that like to paint the rich with a broad brush. Pretty much everything thing you wrote rings a strong truth to me. Greed has more to do with how you treat your fellow man than what you actually accumulate for wealth. I think that we all have the compulsion, but most learn to keep it in check and try to do the best, right thing. I appreciate the thoughts that you have put into this thread and hope that others read it and get how type casting really does not solve our problems. Love that you love me name! Later.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

Yea, I consnatly have to remind people that Bill Gates runs the largest charitable foundation the world has ever seen and that a good number of them have pledged to give as well ( see http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/08/04/us-wealth-philanthropy-billionaires-idUSTRE6733F520100804 ). Stereotypes are only useful to demonise people so we don't have to treat them like people any more. They bring out the worst in us.

[-] 1 points by George1234 (82) 2 years ago

Gambling is Greed.

[-] 1 points by XXAnonymouSXX (455) 2 years ago

GREED = Taking and hoarding more, of any commodity, than you or your family could use in this lifetime. Why do we not value others' lives as much as our own? Is this really the best we as human beings can do? I don't believe so. Wake up and "do unto others".

[-] 1 points by Puzzlin (2898) 2 years ago

Aren't thieves greedy?

When someone steals someone else's property is it too subjective to say it's a crime and it should be punished?

What am I missing? Greed is easily defined as a motivator for many human behaviors.

If you get caught stealing, it's prime motivation, is greed. Why else would anyone steal, don't they at least perceive a gain of some sort.

Formal, easy to understand definition: Greed is an excessive desire to possess wealth, goods, or abstract things of value with the intention to keep it for one's self.

Stealing is excessive, isn't it?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

Stealing something like food is certainly not greed, but stealing something you don't need probably is. I say probably because I'm not sure if stealing something you don't need from someone who stole it is greed or not, and that's the premise many in OWS seem to be operating on.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

I agree with that. It is one form of greed. Would all forms have to involve dishonesty?

[-] 1 points by Puzzlin (2898) 2 years ago

Dishonesty would certainly be a factor. I think it's a case where as a society we function better when certain higher levels of respect are shown towards each other. But, all are learned behaviors, disciplines, our natural instincts are greed, dishonesty, etc.., I think this is so true that it calls us to continue to make a gallant effort to make this world better before we leave it. The truth comes along many times only after a long search and a great effort and we never can reach the end, it's an endless process.................

Lesson Learned : )

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

Don't want to double post.. see comment just above ( http://occupywallst.org/forum/define-greed/#comment-575131 )

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Sorry about that, might have been late when I read your message.

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

Greed is having more than enough to live comfortably, but screwing others to get more because you can. I think its at a point where wants and needs give way to a desire to simply want to have a larger net worth than other people; kind of as a thing to strive for in and of itself.

I don't think there is a magic number, its more like an attitude. We all know greedy people, whether they have $100 in the bank or $100,000 or a Billion, they are completely insatiable.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

I believe you are correct in your assessment. With our current problems being focused on the economy, there are people that believe it is the greedy that are causing the bulk of the problems. This could be true, but I wonder if we will ever be able to define what is truly needed and what is just over indulgence. I guess we know it when we see it, but there are so many perspectives. One who lives in a yurt and walks might find that someone who lives in a house with a car is greedy. Then the person in the house might find the person with two houses and lots of cars to be greedy. I think it really seems to hinge on whether a person spend their time gaining wealth while causing harm to others. Then there is the need for charity to be considered?

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

There are people in India who practice yoga and live quite happily with a blanket and a hut... and children who have no trouble keeping themselves entertained with rocks and sticks and their imaginations.

I think the problem is less with people and more with society; its like why we shake hands instead of hug each other, or live hundreds of miles from family. The only thing fulfilling a lot of people know is the satisfaction of making money or accumulating power. Its very sad.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Even families that live close together must spend so much time just working to take care of the basics. Imagine the time that we spend, just placing food on the table, heating the home and even paying for the home. Just to get what we see as needs taken care of can take so much time and energy. Then have a change in circumstance and it is all gone....just like that.

[-] 1 points by aahpat (1407) 2 years ago

right-wing.

[-] 1 points by sufinaga (513) 2 years ago

covetousness! comfort consumerism. provision for the eye!

[-] 1 points by RobertSrote (12) 2 years ago

An excessive desire to unethically acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth.

Have as much wealth as you want/deserve, just don't obtain it unethically. http://amzn.to/sDZJC9 (link to my book)...

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Need and deserve can be very subjective as I read through various answers. It appears that ethics are more they common thread of what constitutes greed. This can be a double edged sword, whether it be the ill gotten gains through the stock market or the recipient of redistributed wealth.

[-] 1 points by ubercaput (175) from New York City, NY 2 years ago
[-] 1 points by ImaDreamer (82) 2 years ago

Greed is the absence of fairness.

It arises out of self righteousness -- me and mine are more important than you and yours. It causes harm to those who are forced to participate in unfair conditions.

Greed is a crime against humanity.

[-] 1 points by SteveKJR (-497) 2 years ago

Greed is a relevant term. It is based upon "circumstances" rather then what a person has or owns.

You may have a $1.00 in your pocket and the guy next to you may have $30.00 in his pocket. You may consider him greedy because of the way he acquired that money.

On the other hand if you too also had $30.00 in your pocket then it wouldn't be an issue.

[-] 1 points by toonces (-117) 2 years ago

Greed is not about the amount someone else has, it is about the person who wants to take it from him.

[-] 0 points by SteveKJR (-497) 2 years ago

This is also true.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

So, you see it as the amount that one has. One sees greed in others who have more than themselves. What if, I earned my $30 stacking firewood at market value and I know someone else earned $10 selling a broken toaster under deceptive means, would that make me more greedy than them? OR just on better moral ground?

[-] 0 points by SteveKJR (-497) 2 years ago

As I have stated "it is a relevant term based upon circumstances".

A person who earned $30.00 stacking firewood may consider the person who earned $10.00 selling a broken toaster "greedy" because he didn't have to work to get that $10.00 whereas the person who earned the $30.00 stacking firewood had to work.

Again it's all relevant and circumstantial, but I think you get the point - nothing is written in stone when it comes to how people think about what one person has or wants with regard to what another person has or wants. .

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

I get it. That ultimately is my point. When people attack others based on a perception of "greed" there are so many factors that I wonder if anyone can really determine who is greedy and who is not. I might be quite comfortable in a three room home with my wife and kid and still be considered greedy by someone who lives in a yurt. It is a great buzzword, but without benchmarks and clear identifiers, those who use it as some moral high ground are not really motivating real change. I did have one person mention a basis on whether it harms another or not. I think this is the closest litmus test that I have pondered so far.

[-] 1 points by freewriterguy (882) 2 years ago

A good example of greed is layed out in the bible, when lazarus begs from teh rich man and the rich man turns him away, well in heaven, lazarus is received into abraham's bosom and the rich man is thrust down to hell. Well in modern day, the rich people are fooled to thinking that when they give to "charities" that they are helping others, little do they know most every charity is run by millionaires, so little gets in the hand of the people who need help if any. And the government is there to step in if a rich person helps a poor person with a tremendous gift tax since the poor cannot give the rich a receipt because they arent a "501c3 charity" my god what has happened to this country!

[-] 1 points by Concerned (455) 2 years ago

First, let me be quite clear that I have never agreed with the ability to get a tax deduction for tithing or charitable giving. I believe that acts of charity that are "published" are not acts of charity at all - they are self centered attempts at appearing to be charitable. I have an issue with putting a check into the offering plate because I feel that that is self proclaiming my "charitable" contribution. If I help someone at the cash register in my store, I don't tell anyone but my spouse as we balance the bank accounts for if I help someone and tell someone else about it, I have received my "reward" because the Bible states that those who receive praise on earth for their charitable actions have already received their reward and will get none for that act in Heaven.

If I think that the taxes I pay to the government which in turn are helping the poor is "charity", then what is there to prompt me to give additionally? The government has coerced me into contribution - not charity. Likewise, by giving me a tax credit for my "charity" the government has also given me my reward for that charity here on earth.

Now, to Lazarus and the rich man - this is a parable - or one part of a five part parable speaking to the Kingdom of God.

Just like the parable of the farmer and the days wages, both the rich man and the beggar had passed through life in the position in which it had pleased God to place them. The parable is directed at Israel and the pharisees. The Pharisees believed they would enter the Kingdom of Heaven based upon their descent from Abraham - as a collective right as the "chosen people" of God. That is the "rich man". The "five brothers" refer to - Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun - the tribes of Israel. Lazarus represented the non Israeli people........those who were not of the "chosen people" - the Gentile.

In order to properly quote the Bible, one needs to understand it. Jesus was not condemning a "rich man". He was condemning the Israelists for their treatment of the non Israelite........the Gentile.

And btw, anyone who itemizes their income tax can get a "tax gift" from the government for so called "charitable" giving. They don't need to be a 501c. but that is another discussion.

[-] 1 points by freewriterguy (882) 2 years ago

maybe so but any gift you give over 13k you are taxed on, its called a gift tax, its just so strange, as for the government helping anyone from taxes given, i remember when i got out of the military, and was making 200 a week, and paying 200 a month child support, all i wanted was for welfare to help with a tooth ache, they said they couldnt cause I didnt have any children living with me. I was infuriated cause I had been paying for the welfare of others for my entire life's work. Needless to say I have been very anti-gov ever since.

[-] 1 points by freewriterguy (882) 2 years ago

Greed = a bunch of rich old guys that dont know how to do much other than sell insurance or real estate adding to the pyramid scheme of our economy over decades. Greed = these same older generation who paid 20k for their homes paid off in just 5 -10 years, and then selling them to the younger generation for two hundred thousand more, so the kids have to work for 15 - 30 years. Greed = these same old folks who collect social security and medicare payments from our paychecks as if we arent stressed enough, when we all know there will be nothing left for us when we retire. The system is already bankrupt, they are just borrowing and borrowing more money to keep up government checks that will soon end. (and thank god for that)

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

So basically, rich old guys that sell insurance or real estate for a profit and collect social security that they paid into. Got it.

[-] 1 points by freewriterguy (882) 2 years ago

dont forget the pyramid scheme of the housing bubble they created, remember they bought it for 20k and sold them for 200k, and wonder why we are struggling today with their rather large savings!

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

So, if that house that was bought at some undetermined date for 20k, held onto for some undetermined time and resold for what amount to be considered, not greedy? Just trying to get a sense of what % someone can profit before it is determined to be greedy. Are there other factors that determine greed?

[-] 1 points by freewriterguy (882) 2 years ago

hers an idea, dont profit on basic living arrangements that put someone else in slavery for 15 additional years, unless i can sell you your food and you make payments to me for 15 years, how about work and save money from your own labors and not on the backs of others (pyramid scheme) pyramid schemes always have a collapse, and im surprized at the brainwashing on it.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Because something increases in value over time, does not necessarily make it a pyramid scheme. However, you propose that someone who owns a home that they want to sell, make payments to the buyer for the home and buy food from the buyer as well? Not sure I get the premise, but what I think you are proposing is that no house should be allowed to be owned or at the very least sold to someone else. You view a payment for 15 years as slavery. It does have its limitations in freedom, but if you agree to an arrangement that you can afford, once that 15 years is up, you own the home. It has value. Should housing be free and without ownership. I wonder?

[-] 1 points by freewriterguy (882) 2 years ago

this is more complex than it appears, because for both familes who owns a home, the one selling it and the one buying it, both familes would benefit if the price of the home stayed low, because, they would have more money on the table for other things... my point has merit, though its hidden in a philosophy in our society... and that is, when economic strains came, what was the first thing to go? It was our homes, at the root of it, because it took the lions share of the money. If homes were cheap, we would have more savings, banks would have less money, as would government, and there wouldnt have been this collapse.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

The collapse hinged on two things. In 1994, Clinton's time, AIG was formed to insure banks on the loan risk that they were taking. Before this, banks had to keep enough money in there accounts to cover all notes that were loaned out. By forming AIG, banks could use that money for investing in other things, as well as more loans. The government encouraged the loaning of this freed up money to higher risk clients. When gas prices shot up from about $1 per gallon to $4 per gallon, most people could not adjust to the immediate rise in cost of living. It happened too fast. Eventually, there credit cards were maxed out, debt climbed and mortgages were not paid. When the banks had to call the note in, there wasn't any money on an upside down loan. The bank could not get the money back. Now they went to AIG, to call in their insurance on these notes. A few, AIG could handle, but they shear amount of claims being called in all over the nation was too much and AIG folded. Now banks had all these bad loans, property that lost its value and people without homes and jobless. We as a country, had run our credit completely out and now it is real painful to get these debts paid, so that we can move forward and grow at a responsible rate. WE GOT GREEDY....EVERYONE! Now we are paying and it hurts the little guys the most. This is still a simplistic explanation, but accurate.

[-] 1 points by freewriterguy (882) 2 years ago

ya i agree, i think it happened how you said, its funny how by not listening to others you can actually come out ahead, people been saying i was throwing away money on rent, cause i was a renter until jan 2011. but when you do the math i actually came out more ahead, cause i saved 500 a month in interest by renting, and now my mortgage payment of 770 is only 20 more than what i was paying in rent. Sort of like they say go to college to get a good job, well alot of college grads have a lot of debt and dont have a job, well i went to work instead cause i couldnt figure out how to jump thru all the hoops to get any college financing, thank god i never went to college cause i started my own business instead and now i make alot more than many college grads, and they dont teach this in college. lol

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

I freelance too and have a lot more flexibility with finances. As far as the house goes, don't buy till it is at a price that you can afford. Period. After purchasing my last piece of land and living in a little RV while I built my shop/house (In that order), I refinanced till I got my payment down to $440 per month and now only owe $35,000. I will have that paid off in a few years. Then I will be debt free. So many buy things when they should be patient, bargain and plan. Good for you!!!

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Here I thought you were serious about defining greed.

Yet, you mostly want to crow and toot your horn.

At this point, it would be useful for us to hear your definition of the word "greed".

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Thought that freewriterguy and I were patting each other on the back for a moment for having a little success. Read the post on his success and thought I would share. For four years, I lived in a little RV and scraped everything together to build my dream. A little shop and apartment so that I have a place to work and live. The basics and I harmed no one in my quest to do this. My bad. I meant nothing by it. You looking down your nose at me means nothing.

I am very serious about this discussion. How would having some success negate this?

You got my definition on the thread that you and I were discussing. I see that you are more interested in kicking my legs out from under me than talking about this topic. You have been doing it from the start when you were freaking out about my use of the word "gift". Guess we know who is the one that is paranoid. Good luck in your life.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

It was your use of the words gift and talent, that made me wonder.

It's a favorite, "leading" catch term for the libertarians.

Once again, Thanks for the thread.

I find the pathological definition clarifying.

[-] 1 points by cJessgo (729) from Port Jervis, PA 2 years ago

More than you Need.

[-] 3 points by Jehovah (113) 2 years ago

Very good, my son. The wealth of the few is based on the poverty of many.

[-] 2 points by cJessgo (729) from Port Jervis, PA 2 years ago

I am not your son and I agree

[+] -4 points by toonces (-117) 2 years ago

Wealth is not "taken" by the wealthy. On the other hand, OWS does want to TAKE the wealth from those who have earned it.

[-] 2 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

Who decides need and why not more then you deserve?

[-] 1 points by cJessgo (729) from Port Jervis, PA 2 years ago

I decide my needs. No such thing as deserve.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

Handy way of defining need, if everyone determines their own level of need then greed might cease to exist. I guess that's the problem with any subjective term.

[-] 1 points by cJessgo (729) from Port Jervis, PA 2 years ago

I thought the question was, what is it not how to stop it. Less is more,more or less.

[-] 1 points by BLUTODOG (111) 2 years ago

Deserves is the key word for the Greedy PIGS on WS. They think they deserve everything they have plus MORE.

[-] 1 points by technoviking (484) 2 years ago

Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Could there be a better word for what you describe. Maybe "desire". I find that word to be more descriptive of my own motivations. Greed does have an negative connotation to it. Implying overindulgence. Ultimately, I wonder what that overindulgence can be viewed as? It can definitely depend on your present level of wealth, I suspect?

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Wealth accumulation becomes greed, when it becomes pathological.

The symptoms are many and varied. The medical term is pleonexia.

CHINESE philosopher Lao Tzu wrote 2,500 years ago: ‘There is no calamity greater than lavish desires, no greater guilt than discontentment and no greater disaster than greed.'

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

I can agree with this. I want to throw a curve at you. Let's say that someone has a gift that has allowed them to amass enough wealth to stop working and just be a good family member. Taking care of their spouse, children and extended family for the rest of their days. Never living lavishly, just simple and with in societies norms. Are they greedy for keeping this wealth? Does their generosity to family somehow excuse having this mass wealth?

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Not to get lost in definitions, but one is now needed for "gift".

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

I meant "gift" as in talent. Ability to accumulate wealth through their abilities. Some people are better at it than others. Is it always defined as the greedy person who accomplishes this?

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

With such an indistinct definition of "gift", I would suggest a test for pleonexia.

You're response feels leading.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

So, you are now calling me greedy? You locked onto one word here that I was merely trying to suggest the method at which one might obtain wealth. We all have gifts or talents that allow us to succeed. Some accumulate wealth with those talents. That is all I was suggesting in my example. As far as being leading, I wanted opinions on a circumstance that I outlined to see how people might determine if someone is being greedy. There was not a right or wrong answer. Just exploring concepts. I could state obvious greed in my eyes, but I wanted to press the issue with "not so clear" examples.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

I did not suggest that you are greedy.

Why are you being so leading?

You asked for a precise definition of the word. I provided as accurate a definition as I could find.

Pleonexia is an actual condition, one of it's symptoms is Psychopathic behavior.

The circumstance you outlined demanded precise definitions of words you used to describe it.

First it was gift. You provided no clear definition.

You demurred to talent, and or, abilities.

Would you care to provide clear definitions for those terms, as you've used them?

As stated, you've asked for an opinion, of a rather nondescript situation.

Without further clarification, I will not offer one.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Look, you gave me a great definition and I asked for an application to a set situation. I was curious on your take of the situation. Gift or talent was to describe ones ability to achieve wealth. Neither corrupt nor honest. That part was not the meat of it all. The meat of it was if someone had amassed enough wealth to stop working and yet take care of his family, as I described, were they being greedy or not or some hybrid it.

Here is my original curve. If you wish not to proceed with the idea, that is fine. If you want to deal in semantics ok. If you are worried about being led down some dark and evil path. Then don't walk with me. It is all good. I am just interested in exploring how people define and see greed. I have had some great dialogue so far.

Here is my original idea: Let's say that someone has a gift (talent) that has allowed them to amass enough wealth to stop working and just be a good family member. Taking care of their spouse, children and extended family for the rest of their days. Never living lavishly, just simple and with in societies norms. Are they greedy for keeping this wealth? Does their generosity to family somehow excuse having this mass wealth?

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Then the easiest way to recognize greed amongst the wealthy, would be to observe how obsessive they are about it.

How obsessive about conserving it's perceived value.

It's subjective, of course, it would have to be.

In your example, the problem still lies in the descriptive "gift (talent)".

For all I know, you are describing a gifted, talented ransom artist.

As a generic example, I would say no.

However, I would still like to apply what I said above.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Let's then say that the method was "honorable". I was not focusing on the method as much as the amount. In other discussions, the focus has been on the method. When people attack this concept that wealthy people are greedy and should be punished in some manner, I wonder what their perception of greed really is. I do not see a right or wrong answer, just an exploration of conditions to see how people really view greed. So far, the key factors seem to be the method of which one gains wealth, does it harm others and then finally the amount that they accumulate.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

There is no such yard stick, yet I would suggest that it's measure might be found in the level of access available to the "accuser".

Think of say, beans in pot.

X amount of beans for X amount of people Tell them to take what they need.

If some one takes too many and there are still beans left over, it's doubtful anyone would care.

However, if the beans run out before all are satisfied?

You see where I'm going?

That being said. I'm glad you asked this question. You did make me look closer at my own feelings about it, and I find I like the clinical view.

The pathological view.

That obsession is a pathology. An illness. Not too far distanced from hoarding, or gambling.

Pleonexia, like those, goes undiagnosed more often than not, but it's damage can run much deeper.

Does this work for you?

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

I think that it does work when addressing a group or individual that shows these symptoms. But on the other side, the people who perceive greed, it appears that they focus mostly on people who have more than themselves and automatically point fingers at them being greedy. There is so much more to it than that. Much of the time, when I see someone who has had more success than myself financially, I watch and learn from them. As long as there are no moral dilemmas, I consider it good fortune to learn how to be more successful and provide better security for myself and my family. If I do succeed, there will be those who judge me as greedy. Bummer.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Paranoia will destroy you.

It's one of the symptoms.

Care to give your definition of greed, at this time?

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Boy, I hope I did not come across as paranoid? I suspect that there would be some, based on what I have read so far on this thread, that would call me greedy. Just for the fact that I do own things and someone else may see that as having too much. At this time, I would have to say that I would define greed as a focus on gaining and keeping wealth without consideration for others that it may harm while pursuing that focus. Best I can do at this time and still would have difficulty applying that to others in some legislative way.

I still would not categorize all wealthy people as being greedy. This seems to be the case for many people.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Personally? I see nothing in what you've said about yourself, to me, as being pleonexia.

Be wary, within yourself, for signs of blind ambition. It can take you there.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

Because the concept of greed is tied to being excessive, inordinate, disproportionate in desire and action, it is impossible to pin down like a measurement. But most sane people can recognize it when they see it, for example:

Banks willing to risk the downfall of the entire world economy to take a chance of making even more profit than they already have.

Oil companies willing to destroy the planet in favor of more short-term gains, and willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in efforts to falsely mislead the public about scientific findings.

Cigarette companies that keep secret knowledge of the deadly effect of their products for decades, and marketing and selling those deadly products intentionally to children. Killing children for the sake of a dollar qualifies as greed despite the subjective nature of the term.

Right wingers and libertarians who kneel at the alter of the Koch brothers, and serve their interests, disseminating and actually convincing themselves of their propaganda, all for the sake of harboring delusional fantasies that they, too, will eventually become Kochs with others on their knees to suck them off.

Ideologues of all stripes who, in their excessive need to always be right, ignore and distort and lie about evidence contrary to their a priori claims in order to maintain their self image and justify falsehood and selfishness.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

I noticed that you left the Liberals out of these comments. Surely, they have some guilt in these ventures? Never the less, my interest lies solely on the concept of greed.

There was a saying once that defining pornographic pictures was quite difficult, but I would still recognize it when I see it. This kind of fits your description. Unfortunate that if we wait to recognize a wrong after it has happened, the damage is still done.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

Yes, I left liberals out. It's not that they are entirely free of guilt, but because the very definition of liberal means generous. Liberals are accused of being socialist and soft for that very reason. Liberalism itself is founded on seeking evidence: in their desire for altruism, they want to know what actually works, whether it fits neatly into ideology or net. I forgot you wrote it, but someone once said that Liberalism is based on facts, conservatism is based on mythology. Only one group has to change the facts to fit into a preexisting world view.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

You can lean on the definition, but it does not prove reality. Maybe one eye is only open at this time, but I hope the other opens too. Again, my interest does not lie in a partisan slam of anyone. I would like to explore the concept of greed and how others recognize or define it.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

Fair enough.

But don't make the mistake of not recognizing the primary sources of that greed. It may not be one-sided, but it is an exclusive motivation of one of those sides.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

I disagree with your latter statement. In its base, I think that "both sides" are genuine in their attempt at being good. Add humans to the mix and then we have problems. I am just not going to get tied up in thinking that one side as some sort of moral superiority over the other. I see good and bad in both and actually tend to relate to ideas from from both sides for my own opinions.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

We will have to agree to disagree, then. I side one side as hopelessly cynical, manipulative, and working only as a handmaiden to the most morally and practically corrupt forces in the world. the proverbial 1%.

I think they want to do no good, because they don't know what good is outside of either their greed or their ideology and nostalgia for a past world that never was. Only one side consistently tries to trample on women's rights, workers rights, the poor, minorities (these day, mostly hispanics) and smear the reputations of scientists trying to save the planet and sow popular doubt about their findings in their zeal to protect oil and coal company profits. The right wing is. in my opinion the manifestation of evil on earth. The greed you seek a definition for is wholly and completely embodied by them.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

This really should be on another thread but I will respond. Right wing then could be considered the Democrats of the early to mid 1800's. and also of the Democrats of the late 50's and early 60's. If you were an African American in either of those times, your rights were trampled on dearly by the Democrats. This is just following your definition. There are many other examples.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

Absolutely. no disagreement from me there. (Well, actually the 50's and 60's were mixed - the Dixiecrats were a minority of the party - but I take your point. Lso, in the 50s and 60s there was such things as moderate and liberal republicans. Sadly they are extinct species now. )

I'm talking about the present, though.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Maybe it is the region you live in, but I experience hybrid Liberals and Conservatives all the time. I think most are referred to as Moderates and are the quiet, unsung group that hardly gets listened too.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

Oh, gosh, I don't think I made myself clear: it is not the rank and file I was talking about, but the representatives in congress and the presidency.

Of course there are moderates on both side among regular people, and my apologies for having inadvertently cast aspersions on them.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

No offense taken. I appreciate a real dialogue without the harsh comments.

Even in the cross section of our congress and senate, I see every shade of Liberal, Conservative and Moderate. Moderates are usually ostracized or relegated to very ineffective positions, while the extreme Liberals and Conservatives have all the trappings of power with corruption in all its forms.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

Unfortunately i see virtually no real liberals at all in congress. What are called liberals today would have been considered "Blue Dog" democrats 20 years or so ago. Nor do I see any moderates. They are right wing by virtually any standard. And what we call right wing today proto-Fascist by any definition. Indeed, Looking at the liberal side alone, Obama himself is to the right of many of Nixon's policies of not too long ago. Even the heath care plan is more conservative than what congress rejected in Nixon's day as too conservative, and is now labelled "socialist."

The entire country has moved enormously to the right in my lifetime. When was the last time a real discussion of the poor happened by national leaders with without an epithet or condescending, insulting remark attached to it? My last recollection was Hubert Humphrey.

Money and cowardice and a daily nonchalant mendacity have completely infiltrated the process. Think tanks, sponsored by oil companies and other right-wing entities spew out press releases 24/7 to confuse people about climate change or evolution, not to mention legislation on the table. The Tea Party was itself initiated, organized and funded by Dick Army, Former right wing majority leader and anti tax nutcase. An entire populace was mobilized by a few greedy ideologues and whipped up to scream "Death Panels!" They were fearful, frenzied mobs who were manipulated into becoming unwitting foot soldiers for the very wealthy.

Although there are a few exceptions, true liberals comprise such a tiny minority in congress that they may not as well not even exist. And those few that were in the administration early on have been subsequently hounded out by the right's relentless agit-prop war, waged my the media that are, in turn, owned by moneyed interests.

Our left wing is considered far and away right wing by anyone in Europe or virtually any other part of the world. That should tell you something about how our domestic scale is calibrated. And it didn't use to be that way.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

You seem like a pretty sharp person and my hope are that you can step back from the forest to see the trees. Rather than spending so much time trying to label each position, why not just listen to what is really being said regardless of the little letter next to their name. He's left, she's right, he must be a socialist, she must be a fascist is really no way to get our country going in any direction, let alone a good one. Your main focus seems to be on the poor. What helps the poor? Why does the condition of one, determine the condition of another. Is it that way all of the time. Leave the labels behind and think about what really solves problems. I know you are there.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

I disagree that labels aren't important.I hear that a lot here, but it is inaccurate. Those labels got attached for a reason, and they have meaning. The Left has, if not always, then generally, been about greater freedom and concern for those who are disenfranchised. It has been the driving force of the Civil Rights movement, increasing money to schools, the push for universal health care, support for gay rights, the establishment of programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, unemployment insurance, food stamps, affordable housing, the minimum wage, child protection laws, environmental protections, and hundreds of other things we take for granted today. The Left is noted fro being anti War, ands looks at casualties on both sides of any conflict as people first, and acknowledges their humanity above their nationality.

The Right is defined by opposing all of these things. They are generally jingoistic, pro-war, pro-police state, anti individual rights, racist, pro status quo, anti separation of church and state, pro corporate, pro unfettered capitalist, anti regulation, anti government involvement in job creation, and so on.

Most individuals have views fitting into both categories on various issues, but will be fairly consistent in general about their beliefs. And those beliefs matter. They go a long way to defining who you are, but more importantly, they define what actions you take. Do you work to promote social progress or to put the breaks on it? Do you you support expanding individual rights or block certain people's right to get married? Do you work to close the gap between the rich and poor, or do you support darwinian crony capitalism? Do you encourage cooperation or competition between people? Do you fight against institutional racism or do you pretend it doesn't exist?

These things matter. These stances are real. The labels are an identification of these positions. If you were to argue that they cut across party lines, I would largely, though not completely, agree with you. But they right/left axis is real nonetheless. And the positions they represent matter. Most policies are either forward looking (by definition liberal) or backward looking (by definition conservative). They are rarely neutral.

Finally, you may not be aware of it, but your entire position of looking at facts instead of labels is, ironically, a completely liberal one. Seeking evidence based truth over myth is a defining foundation of liberalism itself. (That's why the left changes its positions occasionally: new evidence drives new policy positions. That's why the right is so consistent: mythology is unchanging.) It is it's greatest strength. It is the opposite of right wing.

Your ideals are laudable. But what you fail to recognize is that transcending labels for the sake of actually solving problems, letting go of ideology for the sake of really making things better, is something only the left has ever done. In fact that is the very definition of the left as opposed to the right. It is the very thing that separates them. in other words, your position itself is a classically leftist one, rather than a neutral one.

One cannot say that fascism and liberalism are not different from one another. Doing so is not simply naive, but dangerous.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Just edging it along. I think that the path of this discussion has merit. I like that people are thinking. In my observations, people lay out these broad sweeping statements about how we need to abolish, control or punish greed. They sound good on the outside, but upon further focus, it can be difficult to reach a consensus on the perceptions of greed, the motivations behind it and natural forces that can keep greed from undermining our culture.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

Greed is a mental measurement (a perspective) of the negative or positive aspects of acting from self-interest.

Is it greedy to want to enjoy some privacy? Is it greedy to want to have a lot of friends?

Is it greedy to accumulate massive amounts of money? Is it greedy to ignore other's needs and concentrate on your own gains?

Each person will measure these questions based on their values and world view.

Therefore, the best benchmark for measuring an individual's balanced perspective on greed is to see how well they empathize with the plight of others. If a person's stance on greed seems to be very one sided in favor of their own self interest, it almost certainly indicates an overly selfish greedy person.

[-] 1 points by nuik3 (17) 2 years ago

to me, it would be, "when the acquisition of material wealth becomes the driving force in a given individual's life"

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

Desire without love.

[-] 1 points by misterioso (86) 2 years ago

Greed is a relative concept because it is society that decides what constitutes "excessive" desire and what degree of narrow self-interest is unacceptable. Saying greed is good then makes no sense.....greed is inherently negative, its what society deems unacceptable. In the business world we see greed when individuals are so consumed by their desire for wealth that they engage in behavior that harms others. The bankers who knowingly sold bad loans to unsuspecting investors, contributing to the the financial crisis of 2008 were without a doubt greedy,.......this sort of behavior is immoral and should not be tolerated in any just society. The corporations that take advantages of loop holes so they can avoid paying taxes, depriving the government of much needed revenue for roads and schools, are greedy. Their desire for wealth is so excessive that it prevents them from acting in a socially responsible way. The important thing to understand about greed, however, is that it comes from a more fundamental instinctual urge for social status. So wealth is a relative concept, people dont care as much about the luxury goods as they do about that social status those goods signify. This leads to inefficient arms races for luxury goods that fuels rising inequality and sucks money out the economy. There is actually a lot more waste in the private sector than there is in the public sector. Notice houses keep getting bigger and bigger, weddings are getting more extravagant and expensive, but no one is more happy, no one is better off. The solution, a progressive consumptions tax would end this arms race for luxury goods. Wealthy people with money to burn would be more likely to reinvest in the economy and the tax would not harm anyone as the frame of reference for wealth and social status would be shifted. Its a total win win........think about it.......... For anyone interested finding out more about this(progressive consumption tax) I highly recommend this book by economist Robert Frank http://www.amazon.com/Darwin-Economy-Liberty-Competition-Common/dp/0691153191/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325706473&sr=1-1

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

Greed is a relative concept

I don't believe this statement to be true.

[-] 1 points by misterioso (86) 2 years ago

actually, I think that greed can be a relative and absolute concept at the same time. While in some instances we can be certain that a particular behavior is greedy there are other instances where the assignment of greed will depend on societal standards and cultural preference. There is no doubt that Kim Jon il was a greedy man, he stole form his own people and lived in luxury while the majority of the population starved. But now consider two different societies A and B. Society A has slightly different standards for greed than society B, so in world A someone who makes 100k salary is considered greedy if he or she donates less than 10k to charity whereas in world B someone who makes the same amount is considered greedy for donating anything less than 15k. Now, suppose that while A and B may vary to some degree in levels of economic equality, they are equivalent in levels of well being for their citizens. If we assume this is the case, then it is problematic to say that people in society A are more greedy (in absolute terms) then people in B because their behavior is not causing any additional suffering. So to some extent, Greed can be a relative flexible concept.
If it is apparent that ones desire for material wealth is causing needless suffering than we can say with certainty that this desire is excessive and that he or she is greedy regardless of subjective evaluations. However if desire for material wealth is found to have no negative impact on society, then whether or not it is considered excessive will depend more on opinion and cultural norms.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

society a and b do not actually exist.

To some degree it may be a subjective concept - but I don't think it is at all relative.

[-] 0 points by America921 (161) 2 years ago

See you suggest that there should be a progressive tax on the rich. My only problem is that if you make the tax on the rich too high then you will be a detriment to the economy. Because the rich spend the most money. Now what I suggest is a national sales tax on everything with the exception of food. Then there would be a luxury tax, not a big one maybe 2-3% on items that are deemed to be a luxury. For example TVs Cars Boats etc. Things that are not on that list are Books, Homes, Bikes etc. Now of course there is to be a debate held on what is an luxury item and what is not but that should be held at a later time.

Look forward to hearing from you.

[-] 1 points by misterioso (86) 2 years ago

actually I think that with a progressive consumption tax, top marginal rates could be very high and it would not hurt the economy at all. It would actually be beneficial to the economy. You can argue that progressive income tax, capitol gains tax and other taxes can be a drag on business but the progressive consumption tax is different. This tax, as opposed to just taking money from rich, encourages them to invest in the economy. The economy would be much better off if the rich were investing more in small business as opposed to spending on massive mansions and super expensive clothes that have no additional absolute value. The only reason they are spending so much on these things is because other people are too and they need to keep up with the Joneses. If they spent less on extravagance this would also shift the frame of reference for the rest of the economy. The middle class would then feel a lot less social pressure to spend beyond their means, they would then have more money for savings and investment,

in his book, the Darwin Economy, Robert Frank points out, "the aggregate household savings rate in the United States was negative during both 2005 and 2006. Americans were actually spending more than they earned during the full calender years for the first time since the great depression. Low savings rates helped precipitate the financial crisis that brought the global economy to its knees in 2008. For decades liberals and conservatives have agreed we would be better off if we wall all spent less and saved and invested more. But no individual has the power to alter the aggregate saving rate. If we want to increase it, we must act collectively. A progressive consumption tax would be the perfect policy instrument for that purpose"

a national sales tax seems like it would be regressive because the poor spend a greater percentage of their income on basic goods, im not so sure the 2-3% luxury tax would make up for that, nor would it do much to slow the arms race for luxury goods that is so wasteful

[-] 1 points by EricAndersonJr (51) from Bloomington, IN 2 years ago

Just a quick note, because I wanted to check the numbers regarding your statement that "the rich spend the most money." The most recent article I could find was this one (http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2010/08/05/us-economy-is-increasingly-tied-to-the-rich/) from April of last year, in which it points out that while the top 5% of earners are making up a growing percentage of consumer outlays (purchases, interest payments, etc), it is less than the outlays made by the bottom 80%. The middle and lower income groups still make up the largest spending bloc, in terms of dollars spent, in our economy. Which is as it should be -- the market responds to demand, and that demand should reflect more the needs of the vast middle class than the minority wealthy.

Granted, the article's almost a year old -- I'm going to keep looking for more recent numbers, since it's a subject I've been wanting to look into for a while anyway.

[-] 0 points by America921 (161) 2 years ago

Well I have to ask about those numbers in the article. Did it say per person because I'm talking about the top 5% buy more per person than the middle and lower class. But keep looking you have spiked my interest.

[-] 1 points by EricAndersonJr (51) from Bloomington, IN 2 years ago

Right, the wealthy will definitely spend more per household, in total dollars, for the very simple reason that they have more to spend. Conversely, though, they will be spending a lower proportion of their household income, which is why I think you could make the argument that a reasonable increase in their marginal tax rate probably wouldn't have much impact on their spending.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a ton of data online from their Consumer Expenditure Survey (http://www.bls.gov/cex/), but, as you can imagine, poring through spreadsheets gets old pretty quickly. But I've found articles discussing this topic to be lacking in solid numbers and analysis. Ugh...

[-] 0 points by DiogenesTruth (108) 2 years ago

bikes, hmmmm? a good functioning useful bike might cost $100. what would you say about a $5000 carbon fiber racer?

its a slippery slope.

[-] 0 points by America921 (161) 2 years ago

Well it wouldn't make a difference because a bike is a bike. Now I see your point that a $5000 bike is excessive but I still stand by my belief about this tax. Plus when you think about it, not many people are going to buy a carbon fiber racing bike so this has to apply to the majority. Though very excellent point.

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

Greed vs enough.

Someone asked on another forum 'What is enough?' Add that question to this current one, and it opens a wonderful platform for discussion.

If we feel we (generic we) must define greed, shouldn't there first be a standard for comparison? So should there not be a definition of enough?

As technology has progressed, it would seem the term enough would also progress, that the Human Dream, I say human because it's not just Americans who dream of these things...home, work, family, food, heat or cooling, fuel for needs...pretty basic stuff. Wouldn't these things also progress? Become larger than before, less attainable?

Too define greed we (generic we) need to first establish a base line for enough.

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

I don't think there can be a baseline. It's relative and subjective.

Greed is an excessive desire for undeserved wealth beyond reasonable societal norms. "Reasonable" and "undeserved" are both subjective. It's difficult to define precisely, but you know it when you see it.

Greed is a personal failure of morality. I think greedy people are sick in the head and deserve medical attention and pity.

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

Actually there can, as long as we don't deal with fixed dollar amounts.

We all understand the variables in the cost of living from place to place, we understand the basic needs of the individual, we can factor in many items which are again variable and some that are not. We can also build in a 'fudge factor' for projected cost of living increases.

Since this is a rhetorical question we can 'play' with rhetorical answers.

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

So you're trying to come up with a calculation for greed? I think that could pretty easily be described as the top 1% income/wealth accumulation. This would take into consideration the relativity and adjustment for the increased standard of living of society as a whole. I guess you could debate the threshold %, 1, 2, 5 or 10.

I can also see room for debate about deserved. For instance - if the richest individual in the country came about that wealth because he/she discovered the cure for cancer, saving millions of lives, I think he should keep his money. Purely rhetorical. I doubt one person alone could make such a discovery, it would happen with the help and through the support of many others I'm sure. So they should all keep that money. The rest, we tax them at like 90% haha.

If you do something to save the world and better humanity you get to participate in the "I've saved the world" deduction that should be put into the taxcode.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Ultimately, this is the base of my question. So many threads on here are aimed at how we need to regulate, abolish or deter greed. I think that some sort of understanding what greed really looks like or a benchmark is vital to having success when dealing with it. I love what is being written so far and hope that this thread can draw more opinions.

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

Sometimes it just takes someone to outline the definitions of the questions, to begin to formulate the answers.

[Removed]

[-] 0 points by smartcapitalist (143) 2 years ago

Greed is someone protesting in a public space, asking for $100k job and is not happy that his liberal arts major does not give him such a job.

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

Why not buy a copy of the Oxford dictionary?


greed |grēd|
noun:
intense and selfish desire for something, esp. wealth, power, or food.
ORIGIN lat 16th cent.: back-formation from GREEDY.


[-] 0 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

It doesn't matter how we all define "greed". All I want you people of OWS to define to me is HOW on God's green earth you think you can diagnose it in total strangers based on NOTHING but your own personal assumptions and prejudices?

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

My point exactly. Saying you are against greed is a nice safe phrase, but does it really do anything? Some would say you are greedy for having two cars. Some would say you were greedy for eating two sandwiches. Other would say you are greed, because you want to pay less in taxes. It seems that the word is used more to try and create a moral high ground for those who wish to judge others. I even have an opinion on what is greedy, but it would be different than anyone else s opinion.

[-] 0 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Greed? Did you know that according to a chart I saw earlier today that according to GLOBAL quintiles:

The RICHEST top 10% in the world earns 50.8% of the worlds income, makes $25,400 a year, and their daily income is $69.59?

The RICHEST top 5 percent earns 33.7% of the world's Income, makes $33,700 a year and their daily income is $92,33.

The Top 1 percent earns 9.5% of the world's income, makes $47,500 a year and makes $130.14 daily?

America's "average" wage earner is in the top 10%. If that person is married to another "average" wage earner, they together are in the 1% of the world richest people.

But that just isn't good enough is it? MORE MORE MORE!!!

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

I do find that interesting, but you do have to compare cost of living to any wage that is earned. Hence the idea behind a living wage. I live in an area where you would just get by on $33,700 and $47,500 would allow you a few more niceties, but nothing viewed as rich. The average house runs right at $150,000 to $225,000. Most are higher and maybe 3% are lower. It is a matter of perspective.

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

Isn't it called a first impression?

[-] 0 points by JimBeam (152) 2 years ago

I don't know, I suppose there are some instance where someone in order to obtain something goes to such an extent that it hurts someone else to get it. But I also think that that word gets thrown out by the Have nots who want what someone else has.

[-] 0 points by NightShade (163) 2 years ago

Ever bought anything in the stores these days? Everything you buy breaks down within a week or a month tops, junk that's sold at regular prices. Now my friend that's greed.

[-] 1 points by freewriterguy (882) 2 years ago

that is so true i often say im so busy doing other peoples jobs, i can hardly get to work for my own self. From the 500 dollar quick books program that cant figure out how to stop making my printer from not working, i wrote them back to say, even paintshop can find the printer how come yours cant? it keeps installing a pdf printer and then making it the default, i get so pissed at quickbooks for that.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Most of those items do not have to be purchased. Consumers choose this. There are just enough of us to do just that and give those producers the nice profit that they enjoy. I always look at the movie industry. Popcorn and soda are ridiculous in their markup, yet we still buy the stuff. Whenever I breakdown and buy a popcorn or soda, I usually get buyers remorse. I am doing better about that though and usually only see maybe 3-4 movies per year anyway.

[-] 0 points by NightShade (163) 2 years ago

Will I bought a air mattress about 2 weeks ago, it broke on me within 4 days and the asshole store won't return my money.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Then you don't bring them anymore business and spread they word about what type of business they are. I have had similar things done to me as well. It may be an example of greed, but in the context of what most threads are discussing, they want to regulate greed. I think it needs to be defined in a better way. Many people do not see greed in the same way. This thread shows that.

[-] 0 points by NightShade (163) 2 years ago

Do you see all the ad's on t.v, they are all scams and the government does nothing.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

Report to the Better Business Bureau. It is the best way to convey a grievance. If enough people complain to them, they do investigate. I see examples all of the time.

[-] 0 points by NightShade (163) 2 years ago

Personally I've never been to the school but type in everest college and see all the complaints, they have been screwing people over for years with no government control which makes me think they are part of the government.

[-] 1 points by wellhungjury (296) 2 years ago

I am curious and will look into that when I have time.

[Removed]

[-] 0 points by wigger (-48) 2 years ago

If I want your shit that isn't greedy, if you want to keep your shit, that's greedy.

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

Not in my opinion but I love the sarcasm.

[-] -1 points by toonces (-117) 2 years ago

Wanting to keep and use what one has earned is not greed.

Wanting to take property from others without earning it is greed.

[-] 3 points by Mooks (1985) 2 years ago

I guess in that definition, the term "earned" is subjective.

[-] 2 points by dreamingforward (394) from Tacoma, WA 2 years ago

Is it? The land of the America's, for example, was not earned.

[-] 0 points by Mooks (1985) 2 years ago

It was earned through battle.

[-] 2 points by dreamingforward (394) from Tacoma, WA 2 years ago

Okay, if that's valid for you, then as long as you allow me to pick off your children with a sniper rifle, then we'll really have the "land of the free and the brave."

[-] -1 points by toonces (-117) 2 years ago

I got your back, Mooks.

[-] -1 points by toonces (-117) 2 years ago

The OWS protester has not earned the money they seek to take from the 1%. As I see it, the 1% has done more to justify the argument that they earned the money than those who protest that it should be taken from them.

[-] -1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

Greed: When society doesn't want anyone to own anything that they have worked for if they have more than the average person.

[-] 1 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

I think that when the accumulation of money becomes an end (as opposed to a means) - a way of simply "keeping score" to determine who the alpha dog is - and in "keeping score" others are fundamentally harmed, that is greed.

How much money, possessions, etc. is "enough?"

Surely Wal-Mart execs know they are fundamentally harming the US manufacturing sector and thereby their fellow citizens.

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

I don't think that any of that has to do with anyone else. Its seems entirely personal to me.

[-] 1 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

Are you saying you don't think that Wal-Mart's business decisions don't have a great impact on others her in the US?

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

I think that if people don't like Walmart they don't have to shop there. I also think you or anyone else has no right to tell me or anyone else where to shop.

[-] 2 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

I'm not telling people where to shop. Wal-Mart created the business model that Sears and other retailers are required to use because Wal-Mart's model is so successful the others had to copy it or go out of business. The same is true for vendors and suppliers. As I'm sure you're aware, the Wal-Mart model dictates wholesale prices to vendors and vendors in turn must manufacture in places like China to compete at a price point. So long story short, companies in the US ship raw materials to China and China manufactures the raw materials into finished products and ships them back to the US.
The more expensive US labor market is bypassed and you get a pair of blue jeans for $25 less than you'd pay for them had they been manufactured here.

Another factor is import tax rates. In China the rate is something like 27% of the value of the merchandise, What is it in the US? 5%? If the US were to incrementally increase the tax rate to put it on a par with China, it's likely that manufacturing could return to the US. Increase the tax rate by 1.75% per annum until the desired rate is achieved. Increasing the tax rate gradually would lessen inflationary effects on the US economy. The increased revenue could be applied to paying down the national debt and over time we gain manufacturing jobs because making goods here becomes a cost advantage.. Our people go back to work and all that comes with that. Of course if we are unwilling to do these things because we want the least expensive clothes and televisions, etc, etc then this economy won't get better. We destroy ourselves. THAT is a very real threat to the national security, caused by "consumer greed" to buy more for less money so we have more money left over to buy even more.

I'm not optimistic about the outcome of the economy. Given the continuation of it's current trajectory I think that it'll collapse under it's own weight and the entire world will pay a very steep price for it's greed.

Thanks for reading my pragmatic missive.

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

Yes that is actually a very good idea. Thanks for giving it to me.

[-] 1 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

My pleasure

[-] 0 points by smartcapitalist (143) 2 years ago

Import tariffs differ across goods. There are no uniform tariffs across all products. Besides, with RTAs, tariffs may even be different between different countries.

[-] 1 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

You very likely know the subject in far greater detail than I. What then would you say is the average across the board tax rate for imported consumer products like those sold by Wal-Mart here in the US?

[-] 0 points by smartcapitalist (143) 2 years ago

The point here is not what the rates are. If you want to curb imports, there are multiple ways to do that.But in this world we cannot live without imports. One of our major imports is oil, do you want a curb on that? It would bring our economy to a screeching halt. Tariff or non tariff barriers are used usually to protect certain nascent industries until they are ready for global competition. In our case, these industries (manufacturing, IT, BPO) aren't nascent, they are just not cost effective. In that case, import barriers won't help.

[-] 1 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

Indulge me, please and tell me what the average tax rate is.

EDIT: Re: Import tariffs - what I propose isn't a barrier so much as it is a means of leveling the playing field.

[-] 0 points by smartcapitalist (143) 2 years ago

u mean import tariffs, right?

[-] 1 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

What would you propose then, as a way to reinvigorate the job market in the US?

[-] 0 points by smartcapitalist (143) 2 years ago

I wish I had a 'correct' answer. If I did, I would be working for the Fed. Some economists argued that we should have let the banks fail and gotten ourselves into a deeper albeit shorter recession. Now, I am not sure how useful that would have been, one of reasons for the Great Depression being 'great' was that a lot of banks were simply allowed to fail. Besides, politicians want to be seen doing something, anything, whether or not it is any effective. A President twiddling his thumb and allowing the country to go into a deep recession would not have been a pretty site.

The other Keynesian response is to spend your way out of a recession which is what the Fed did. Has it worked? Yes, to an extent. Not as well as it was claimed then, but somewhat yes. To invigorate the job market you need to do two things - create demands for goods and services and make companies invest in expansion (production, assets etc). One way to create demand for goods and services would have been to simply write a $1000 check to every American household and hoping they will spend it(which is I believe what OWS would have wanted). The problem with this approach is that in a time of recession people are wary of spending, it is more likely they will save this money for a later time. So instead, you try and invigorate the firms that produce goods and services. How do you do that? By ensuring they have money for day to day operations and expansion, and dont have to lay off people (who would be the consumer of those products are services). So you stimulate the money supply, drop interest rates making it easy to borrow, you also buy up some of the less toxic assets in a bank's balance sheet so that banks are confident of each other's financial health and inter bank lending takes place.

[-] 1 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

Ok, we HAVE low interest rates, which stimulates credit, which SHOULD stimulate the expansion you wrote of. Why then are we realizing little if any job creation? I think it's because of a lack of new ideas getting to the market place. I believe there is considerable resistance from within the existing corporate world. I believe that HUGE sums are spent by the mega-corps insure their long-term viability and don't care one lick about what happens 40 years out as it regards the net effect of what those companies do. So they plot, plan and scheme about what to do to maintain their inertia.

An example might well be the established energy industry. It spends great amounts of money and time fighting to maintain it's cost advantage (and therefore it's market dominance) vs. renewable energy. Why not get out ahead of the curve on this instead of trying to keep the long-established way of making energy? The only guys I know of who have done so are T Boone Pickens and a Texas-based electric generation company called TriEagle Electric with it's wind powered generation company, TriGreen Energy (which is my electric supplier).

Toxic assets - if they're toxic why would anyone want to buy them?

EDIT: Many may have already read this and other articles concerning Solandra and solar panels but for those who perhaps haven't: http://www.globalenergymatters.com/archives/2828

[-] 0 points by smartcapitalist (143) 2 years ago

That would be very wrong to say. A company formulates strategies for typically short term (next quarter or at max next year same quarter), mid term (5 yrs) and long term (10 yrs and beyond). I have heard of some Japanese companies making 100 yr plans but I am not sure how practical that is. Understand that no firm can stay in business if they dont plan ahead, the only way to stay in business is to constantly make new and better products and increase efficiency (unless you are a commodity producer). 40 yr business plans make no sense because no one can foresee what would happen 40 yr hence and the risks of such a plan are so high that no bank would want to finance your plans, at least not at any reasonable interest rate.

As for the energy business, I belive you are talking about the oil industry. They are in the business of extracting oil and produce oil product; they have no business being in renewable energy and neither do they have any particular competency that would help in renewables. So I believe it is better to let newer companies come up with green tech. Besides, the share holders of say Exxon would not want their managers to invest money in high risk business like renewable energy; they are after all investing in a low risk business of oil. Also if Exxon were to say go to a bank for a loan to start a renewable energy business, the interest rate on that loan would be much higher than Exxon's usual interest rate and it would also affect their beta. No manager in his/her right mind would want to do that. They would very likely be booted out by the shareholder.

[-] 1 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

Please define "beta"

Surely those on the boards of directors aren't so naive as to simply ignore the possibility/likelihood that projections by many scientists regarding climate change is in fact correct! So long as it's less expensive in terms of out-of-pocket dollars spent by the consumer to get energy created from fossil fuels, ExxonMobil, ConsolEnergy et. al. will do all they can to keep things as they are so long as the boards of directors (shareholders) want it to be so. Science and good sense are trumped by the desire for profit. The world be damned?? Someone else will do what Exxon and Consol now do if they themselves don't do it?? If this is truely the case then we are experiencing a sort of mass insanity - lemmings jumping off of the cliff in search of dividends and stock splits.

[-] 0 points by smartcapitalist (143) 2 years ago

You can find a definition for beta in investopedia.

And yes you are right that these shareholders do routinely ignore the environment, "not my business" mentality. And it's not just shareholders but entire countries that are reckless, Look at what happened in Copenhagen.