The Instigator
brett.winstead
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
TheDarkMuffin
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Greed is a good thing

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/19/2013 Category: Economics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,957 times Debate No: 34916
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (22)
Votes (0)

 

brett.winstead

Pro

I am pro for the idea that greed is a good thing and that everybody is and should be greedy. Any takers? You better be good at debating because I love this subject. First round is really more for acceptance but if you are dying to give your side, you are free to do that but if you want to wait for me to state my case, that is ok too.
TheDarkMuffin

Con

To make it perfectly clear, by filling in any possible gaps, I can think of currently, even those that would appear inherently apparent, I'll be stating the debate in a formal manner that makes it simple for either side to disagree with concrete grounds for the discussion.

Debate

The actual debate will be me, the Contender, as Con and my opponent, the Instigator, as Pro, in case you didn't know.

My opponent, as the Instigating Pro, will be arguing for two things:
  • Greed is an aspect that exists in everybody
  • Greed is an aspect that should exist in everybody

I, as the Contending Con, will be arguing against those two things, whether to neutralize them or antagonize them.

BOP

Because of the way the debate is set up, my opponent carries the Burden of Proof.

Definitions

Greed n. - An objective attribute of all beings that is perceived as a will to attain a state of ownership distinct from a state hitherto the attaining, whether through means of acquiescence or consenting compliance, to an inordinance.

Acceptance

If my opponent doesn't accept this, we may discuss in the comments what changes are necessary, or the next round. If we are in mutual acceptance, however, the debate will commence under these terms.

If you didn't feel like reading any of that, I just stated the obvious. It's rather redundant. Nonetheless, it's nice to have grounds so the debate has some direction, as we only have 5 rounds. A lack of disagreeing by the time the next round has started means my opponent automatically agrees to said terms.

Debate Round No. 1
brett.winstead

Pro

Hello my friend and thanks for accepting the debate. I think we are in agreement on the terms. As I said, everyone is greedy and everyone should be greedy. You quoted the definition of greed as:

"Greed n. - An objective attribute of all beings that is perceived as a will to attain a state of ownership distinct from a state hitherto the attaining, whether through means of acquiescence or consenting compliance, to an inordinance."

Despite the legal sound of this definition, can we agree that greed is basically wanting more than one haves or needs?

The Oxford dictionary says "intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food."

I would add that the word "intense" was added by the writer to imply something, mainly the idea that greed is a bad thing that leads to crime. Selfish we will cover later.

Dictionary.com says "excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions."

The first question we should ask is "what is excessive?" If you were to say to me that I want excessive amounts of money, how would you answer the question "excessive according to whom?" How would you define excessive? Too much? More than you need? What is too much? How much is an "excessive" amount of money? Of course, you are smart enough to figure out that that is impossible to answer. That is like trying to answer how many feet in the air is high or how much weight is heavy! With the way certain dictionaries define greed, there is no real definition when they start talking about excessivness. No one could possibly decide that I make X dollars of money per year but if I make Y, then I will be greedy.

Greed is also often linked to the word "selfishness." Not to get off on another subject but we are all selfish. We can, do and should care about ourselves. Should I care more about me than you? Not at all but that does not mean I don't care about me. If caring about ourselves makes us selfish, then I am afraid we are all guilty of selfishness. We should care about ourselves. Those who don't do not survive too long.

Let's explain greed further. Let's say you get hired for a job and maybe you are hoping to make $20 per hour and you have it figured out that you can pay all of your bills and have a little left over for savings making $20 per hour. In other words, $20 per hour works for you. However, your boss informs you that you have 2 choices. You can take $20 or $21 per hour. He is letting you choose! Since the extra dollar per hour is "excessive" and "more than is needed" and you most likely would find ways to spend it on your "self," wouldn't that make you greedy if you accepted a dollar per hour more? Of course not. You would accept more because with more, you can do more and buy more. In fact, when you spend that extra dollar, that is good for society. You will be benefitting the restaurant who takes that dollar and they can pay their employees or the hardware store when you buy that flashlight, benefitting their employees. It is good for you to accept that extra dollar. Why take less when you can take more provided you are not stealing from your fellow man? Now, what if you were making $20 per hour and your boss asked you if you could get by on $19 per hour and you figure out your bills and realize you could. He asks if you would mind taking the $19 but it is still your choice and there is no job pressure whatsoever. Are you going to volunteer the pay cut? No one who honestly answers is going to say they will take less. A liar might say that they would but no honest person would. No one wants the bare minimum in life besides some extremely religious people like monks. They want more.

Why are grocery stores in business? Is it because they enjoy feeding hungry people and that they feel it is their obligation to society to keep people from starving? No, they are in business because they are greedy. The owners of the store realized that they could fill a need by feeding people in exchange for more money than the owners pay for the groceries on the shelf. Chevrolet does not sale cars because they want you to be able to get back and forth. They sell them because the owners are greedy and want more. They don't care if you ever drive the car. Frankly, to shorten this, you would not have ANYTHING if it wasn't for some greedy person who started a business who wanted more. You would not have food on your table, car, internet service, a computer, clothes, Ipod, tv, electricity, etc. I don't believe you would have one thing in this world that is not a result of someone's desire to make more money, acquire more wealth and have more things - greed. It is the steering wheel that drives the vehicle of progress. Without progress, we would be living in grass huts and hunting for all of our food and growing it ourselves.
TheDarkMuffin

Con

Ironically, one instance of an argument on my opponent's side was actually one I was planning to use. Relativism.

Relativism Reversal Rebuttal

In concord with my opponent's assertion of logic, excessive is much more subjective than most adjectives, meaning it has a very weak reference point for quantification.

Inordinance is neglgible on an objective level and depends solely on the person perceiving it. As such, this makes greed a completely worthless sentiment by the means of anyone else. You are greedy if you think you're greedy. It's subjective to you, which is why Pro is attempting to prove that you're greedy in correlation with more objective means, which is perfectly reasonable. This means, however, that I have the same liberties to use the aforementioned objective correlations.

For instance, selfishness.

Now, the Instigator here needs to correct several things in his argument. One fact that is asserted is the fact that "We should care about ourselves." Fair enough. Caring for ourselves makes us selfish. What happens if we're not selfish? We "do not survive too long." So, Aristotlean logic proves that we're probably all selfish as we all survive an excessive amount. Clearly, w-oh wait. That's a subjective term.

How long must one survive in order to be selfish? I'll let my opponent clarify that in the next round.

So, you're only greedy if you believe you're greedy. Remember that my opponent carries the BoP to prove universal greediness, meaning that if it's possible for a single person in the entire universe to not believe they're greedy or selfish, then Pro fails. By simple binary statistics, his argument collapses. You can either be greedy or not greedy. 50/50. Unless my opponent can bring that all the way down to 0%, his argument fails.

Contention Condition Concession

"No one wants the bare minimum in life besides some extremely religious people like monks."
"No one...besides some extremely religious people like monks."
"No one...besides..."
"...besides..."

There cannot be exceptions! Absolutely NONE!
"Greed is an aspect that exists in everybody" was the contention! My opponent even said that he and I are "in agreement" of that! The argument fails unless this is retracted!

Now, I have an obligation to go pick up my sister. We teenagers are reckless drivers alone, so I'd best not wait until I'm late and end up speeding through the streets with my hormonal craze. I hope I've left enough to rebut and refute.
Debate Round No. 2
brett.winstead

Pro

How long must one survive in order to be selfish? I'll let my opponent clarify that in the next round.

As long as one can.

that if it's possible for a single person in the entire universe to not believe they're greedy or selfish, then Pro fails.

Geez, huh? Do you mean to say that if there is one person in the universe that may not want one more thing than they have right now, I have lost the debate entitled "Greed is a good thing?" (scratching my head completely confused)

"
No one wants the bare minimum in life besides some extremely religious people like monks."

"No one...besides..."

There
cannot be exceptions! Absolutely NONE!

Would you feel better if I said "virtually no one want the bare minimum in life to survive except maybe some monks? Does that clarify?

"Greed is an aspect that exists in everybody" was the contention! My opponent even said that he and I are "in agreement" of that!

Where did I say you and I are in agreement on that?

I hope I've left enough to rebut and refute.

Honestly, I have no idea what I am supposed to say to you at this point. I laid out my case, explained what greed is and why it is good for mankind's progress to be greedy. I did not see you even try to refute any of it so what am I supposed to debate about now? You like to use big words and change fonts but otherwise, I am not getting you. Be careful while driving your car...or should I say be fastidious while propulsing your conveyance?

TheDarkMuffin

Con

To my opponent: I'll attempt to clarify my argument to the best of my ability near the conclusion of this round, but I'm more inclined to pick at your logic first.

Rebutting a Rudimentary Rebuttal to the Relativism Reversal Rebuttal

I asked a couple questions to try to make coherence of my opponent's argument in the last round. I asked how long one would have to survive in order to be selfish. Pro's answer?

"As long as one can."

In case any readers of this debate don't remember what the context is from one round ago, I took the premise from my opponent in which he implied that selfishness caused one to survive too long. He also asserted that excessiveness is a subjective notion.

"Too long" and "excessive" are the same thing. So, I concluded that that's subjective. To bring attention to this, I asked the rhetorical question of what too long actually meant in regards to survival.

My opponent then decided to answer my rhetorical question, saying that surviving as long as one can is too long. In other words, the span of your life, as long as it exists, is too long. To simplify the logic: If you live, you're selfish. You cannot live unless you're selfish.

That's what's known as a fallacy. Circular logic fallacy.[1]

If my opponent fails to amend this, this argument will be disregarded. Tossed out the window.

Next, the Instigator of this Debate asks if I "mean to say that if there is one person in the universe that may not want one more thing than they have right now, [my opponent has] lost the debate." Partially. I mean to say that if there is someone who wants more than they should want beyond what they have, then Pro loses. As wanting more than one should want requires knowing what one should want, it's subjective. Being that it's subjective, you're only greedy if you believe you're greedy. So, if anyone doesn't believe they're greedy, my opponent loses.

Odd Opposing Omission

Pro wishes to appeal to comfort my emotions by saying "...virtually no one want the bare minimum in life to survive except maybe some monks..." However, emotions do not play into this debate, nor should they in any debate on this website. It's explicitly stated on statement 6 of this article[2] that emotions should be excluded.

We are to analyze this logically and reasonably.

For the record, however, it would not make me feel better for my opponent to say that. It still falls to the same flaw as an argument. It begs an exception against the terms we've agreed on. Of course, my opponent seemingly is unaware of these terms, judging by him asking where he said that he "...and I are in agreement on that..." The agreement is in the second segment of Round One and the first of Round Two. "Greed is an aspect that exists in everybody." "...we are in agreement on the terms."

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
  2. http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 3
brett.winstead

Pro

he implied that selfishness caused one to survive too long.

I never said any such thing. I said without selfishness (caring about one's self), you cannot survive. You will literally starve to death if you don't care enough about yourself to eat.

He also asserted that excessiveness is a subjective notion.

Of course it is subjective unless you can define it. I asked you how much weight is excessive and you did not answer. I asked you how much money is excessive or too much and you did not answer. Your own silence is proof that the word is highly subjective.
My opponent then decided to answer my rhetorical question, saying that surviving as long as one can is too long.

For some odd reason, you are stuck on this statement that I never even said!! Go back and read anything I have typed and find the words "too long" or anything of the sort. You asked "asked how long one would have to survive in order to be selfish" and I don't even get it. In this world, you survive as long as you can and you cannot survive without being selfish. Furthermore, you are getting off topic because this debate is about whether or not greed is a good thing. Greed is wanting more than you have or need. Selfishness is caring about only yourself or yourself more than others. I never said that people should care about themselves more than others but "selfish" is the closest word to describe caring about yourself period. Greed is not wanting more than others. It is about wanting more than you have. Greed and selfishness are not the same thing.

If my opponent fails to amend this, this argument will be disregarded. Tossed out the window.

I cannot amend something I did not even say about "surviving too long." That does not even make sense.

I mean to say that if there is someone who wants more than they should want beyond what they have, then Pro loses.

What? That was what I said from the first round and that is my whole point! If your statement is true and it is, then how on Earth do I lose??? You are agreeing with me and I lose? I said that people do want more and that is why you have clothes on YOUR back - because someone wanted to make clothes and sell them to you. By selling them to you, they get more.

As wanting more than one should want requires knowing what one should want, it's subjective. Being that it's subjective, you're only greedy if you believe you're greedy. So, if anyone doesn't believe they're greedy, my opponent loses.

Whether someone "believes" they are greedy is irrelevant. If I weigh 900 pounds and believe I am skinny, my belief too is irrelevant. If someone wants more than they have or need to survive, they are greedy. That is what greed is. By you saying "So, if anyone doesn't believe they're greedy, my opponent loses," you have lost me. I am starting to wonder if you are on some medication because you are not making sense. No disrespect meant but it does appear that way.
TheDarkMuffin

Con

TheDarkMuffin forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
TheDarkMuffin

Con

TheDarkMuffin forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TheShadowCupcake 3 years ago
TheShadowCupcake
I'm still trying and am still unable to log in.
Posted by TheShadowCupcake 3 years ago
TheShadowCupcake
Not anyone can post the next round. You have to be logged in as the Contender or Instigator depending on who's round it is.

Also, I'd like us to reschedule this Debate until after the issue is fixed. I've reported the bug on the Forums. Can we arrange this to be a Tie until this can proceed normally?
Posted by brett.winstead 3 years ago
brett.winstead
I don't know what you want me to say. How are you leaving comments if you are not logged in?
Posted by TheShadowCupcake 3 years ago
TheShadowCupcake
From you using the Round, I can see that you've seen this Debate and, probably, the Comments and don't understand why you're refusing to answer me.
Posted by TheShadowCupcake 3 years ago
TheShadowCupcake
Can we not count off Conduct for this? I'm really trying, I just can't log in. Should I just make my argument in the comments with this account? That would be...difficult. Ugh. This sucks.
Posted by TheShadowCupcake 3 years ago
TheShadowCupcake
TheDarkMuffin here. I can't log in.

An unhandled exception was generated during the execution of the current web request. Information regarding the origin and location of the exception can be identified using the exception stack trace below.

Not sure what to do with that. I might have to forfeit. Not sure. Sorry. I'll try to log in again in an hour.
Posted by elvroin_vonn_trazem 3 years ago
elvroin_vonn_trazem
To brett: That's the "rub", the location of the dividing line between reasonable selfishness and excess selfishness. Almost all will agree that a murderer exhibits excess selfishness. Then there are Classic Cultures, such as the Vikings, in which the exercise of excess selfishness upon outsiders was perfectly acceptable, but disallowed inside the culture.

Today, at least, cultures are mostly expected to interact with outsiders similarly to internal interactions. This implies that it might be possible to do something I've often speculated about (in my own mind, anyway)....

Suppose there was only one Law regarding interactions with others: "Excess selfishness is forbidden." Then, anyone accused of breaking that Law could be brought before a jury, to which the explanation would be provided, regarding the claimed violation, and the associated circumstances. Then they render their verdict and a punishment, for example: "We find you guilty of dumping toxic waste into the environment, just to save a few bucks. You are sentenced to death by exposure to your company's toxic waste."

Some of that might go a long long way, to simplifying the overall/ridiculous nest of Laws, streamlining the judicial system, and encouraging folks to interact with less-than-excess selfishness.
Posted by brett.winstead 3 years ago
brett.winstead
elvroin, you stated "it logically follows that a small amount of selfishness/greed can be a Good Thing. But a large amount...no, that's a Bad Thing. Always!"

Can you hope to define "large amount" of greed/selfishness? I think we both know the answer. How many pounds is too heavy. As long as I am not breaking the law, how can one possibly determine how much greed is too much?
Posted by TheDarkMuffin 3 years ago
TheDarkMuffin
Selfishness is caring about one more than others.

Greed is having a will considered excessively immense.

Also, your argument, elvroin, suggests that selfishness is good because it's essential to survival. Meaning if I find something that survives without caring more for itself than others, your argument is automatically invalid.

Do you believe Protons care what they're doing?
Posted by elvroin_vonn_trazem 3 years ago
elvroin_vonn_trazem
"Greed" is synonymous with "selfishness". Selfishness is essential for survival --if you don't selfishly feed your own face, you will die. Therefore, it logically follows that a small amount of selfishness/greed can be a Good Thing. But a large amount...no, that's a Bad Thing. Always!
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