When someone doesn’t share or something in a trade doesn’t seem right we may often say, “that person is GREEDY!”. But a concept I love to look at is who really is greedy, The person who doesn’t want to share or the person that wants to make them share?
The Nobel Prize winning economist economist Milton Friedman discusses this in depth in the below video…
Milton is right in the video that really everyone to a degree is greedy. We all want what is ours and will do what we can to get it. Depending on the person and their values that want will stop at the point which they must sin by killing or stealing with some won’t. Generally when we think of greed we think of it in this context. The rich “GREEDY” corporate executive who frauds his own company for a cool million or the “GREEDY” boy who kills another boy for a pair of Nike shoes. I think we can all agree those are both bad acts in themselves but what makes them bad.
In the Bible it says in 1 Timothy 6:10 “the love of money is the root of all evil.” however notice how it says the root. If wanting and loving money was itself evil than we’d all be in horrible trouble. The problem comes when you prioritize that love of money over others and your own morals. I personally believe money becomes a problem when you put it infront of God and try to make it your savior.
Notice how in the examples above the rich executive was not evil because he wanted money and neither was the boy evil for wanting shoes. In fact those can be noble pursuits. The executive could found a business like Apple and benefits millions of people and we would be praising him for what his greed or the nice term ambition drove him to do. The same with the boy, we’d be praising him for his ambition and go-gettiveness. Instead both are condemned because of the way they approached things, through force. Nothing about their interactions were voluntary thats why they killed and stole because they used force to take what they wanted. So what really makes greed evil is when we are willing to use force instead of voluntary trade to get what we want. (Note:I personally think this includes anytime you put money before God, but not all share this belief. Most however do agree with the previous.)
With us knowing what bad greed is lets look at one example which people tie greed to often, the minimum wage. The conversation often goes “Wal-Mart is greedy, they should pay their people at least $15/hr. Those people are worth that!!”. Someone may disagree and they are quickly rebuked with “DO YOU NOT THINK THEIR LIFE IS WORTH $15/hr!?!?!?!”. The evil person in the situation is supposed to be obvious but are they?
At a base level the situation is this. Workers who voluntarily agreed to work a job are threatening violence through the government unless they are paid more. That’s what minimum wage really means.
This is because the government says paying anyone below this wage is a crime and if you break it you have to pay the time. But hold up what if you refuse? Well first you get summoned to court so the government can tell you you are wrong for breaking the law they set up without asking you. If you don’t show up to court you automatically get fined, bummer. But what if you don’t pay the fine? Then you are arrested. Well what if you are being arrested and you disagree you should be arrested because there was really no crime. No one was hurt in anyway and your employee voluntarily accepted the job you protest. From that point you would be roughed up till you go along or till you pass out or die. And that’s how the minimum wage leads to violence.
So who is really wrong? The business owner that doesn’t want to raise or even pay minimum wage OR the worker who wants it in the first place or to raise it? I think it should be clear after this, its the person that asserts or threatens force.
With that said let me answer the question in the title, who is really greedy? The uber wealthy CEO or the poor as dirt homeless guy, well the answer to that question is C, really both. Both are aiming for their own interests as they should and both are striving for what they want. One may be more efficient than the other but that doesn’t necessary make them more greedy or ambitious. That depends on their own drive. Now is either greed bad? Gotta say I’d have to answer D( not enough information known ). The greed may be bad but just like the love of money it all depends how you go about it and where you place it in your life.
Now what do you think? Is greed good or is it bad? Comment below and here is an interesting video by John Stossel saying it is actually good.