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Is Greed Good?

SuperRobotWars
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5/25/2011 10:43:49 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
An simple philosophical question: can we consider greed to be good? Ones greed could be to increase the human lifespan, is that not an good thing? Ones greed could be to supply well paying jobs to all individuals within the land or world peace could that not be considered as good?

In accordance to my definition greed is what an individual wants the most and is not necessarily necessary. So argue away.
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innomen
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5/25/2011 11:06:45 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Greed is different than base ambition, or a desire to provide security, it is an imbalance, a fear based defect of character, and is thus bad for the individual. It will create unhappiness.
socialpinko
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5/25/2011 2:12:30 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Greed can be good depending on how society is structured I guess.
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Greyparrot
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5/25/2011 2:24:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/25/2011 11:06:45 AM, innomen wrote:
Greed is different than base ambition, or a desire to provide security, it is an imbalance, a fear based defect of character, and is thus bad for the individual. It will create unhappiness.

You are equating greed with envy? I suppose that happens often. Greed to me is just striving to be the best you can be.
Ore_Ele
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5/25/2011 2:31:12 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/25/2011 2:24:27 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 5/25/2011 11:06:45 AM, innomen wrote:
Greed is different than base ambition, or a desire to provide security, it is an imbalance, a fear based defect of character, and is thus bad for the individual. It will create unhappiness.

You are equating greed with envy? I suppose that happens often. Greed to me is just striving to be the best you can be.

To me, that is ambition, not greed. (looks like we've found another subjective word).

Really, to say if it is "good" or "bad" it must first be defined.
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LeemanBrothaz
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5/27/2011 11:49:49 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/25/2011 11:06:45 AM, innomen wrote:
Greed is different than base ambition, or a desire to provide security, it is an imbalance, a fear based defect of character, and is thus bad for the individual. It will create unhappiness.

WALL STREET bankers respond with music video "Greed Is Good" blaming Main Street for the financial crisis.
Rob1_Billion
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5/27/2011 12:08:13 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/25/2011 10:43:49 AM, SuperRobotWars wrote:
An simple philosophical question: can we consider greed to be good?

Emphatically: "NEVER"

Ones greed could be to increase the human lifespan

Lifespan =/= always good. I could torture you and keep you alive with machines so you continue to suffer. More pragmatically, people would rather live full, healthy, happy lives than simply long ones. Whether they would like to admit it or not.

is that not an good thing? Ones greed could be to supply well paying jobs to all individuals within the land or world peace could that not be considered as good?

How exactly would this occur? It's rather incoherent as statement, after all.

In accordance to my definition greed is what an individual wants the most and is not necessarily necessary. So argue away.

That definition is rather vague and it would seem to me that instead of redefining our current definitions for your pet terms that maybe you should just create a new word for it -_- <ragnarface
kfc
Rob1_Billion
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5/27/2011 12:10:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/25/2011 2:24:27 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 5/25/2011 11:06:45 AM, innomen wrote:
Greed is different than base ambition, or a desire to provide security, it is an imbalance, a fear based defect of character, and is thus bad for the individual. It will create unhappiness.

You are equating greed with envy? I suppose that happens often. Greed to me is just striving to be the best you can be.

So when I practice classical guitar I am practicing greed? I don't think so.
kfc
belle
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5/27/2011 12:39:57 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
alright, say greed is the desire to get all that you can. whether or not this is "good" in the greater scheme of things depends on whether or not you are willing to observe certain restrictions in your dealings with others while pursuing it. such that someone like ragnar would be "greedy" by starting a business, and not engaging in charity, but still respecting the rights of other people. whereas someone less scrupulous would lie cheat and steal to get every penny he could get his hands on. the second is obviously bad, but the first is not necessarily so. rob, is that not greed? or is failing to be charitable but producing a good product at a good price and making a sh*tton of profit off of it bad?
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
brian_eggleston
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5/27/2011 12:50:03 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I look at it this way:

There's nothing wrong with ambition or the accumulation of wealth – that's human nature and is what caused certain ethnic groups to become discontent as simple hunter gatherers - the advanced nations that most DDO members live in today are a result of the cumulative ambition of our ancestors.

However, greed implies the acquisition of a commodity merely for the sake of processing it, rather than needing it, and in the process of so doing depriving another person who might be in desperate need of that commodity.

Now that's got to be at least borderline immoral, hasn't it?
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Rob1_Billion
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5/27/2011 1:07:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Greed: excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.

Greed is basically a feeling of selfishness. It is important, right away, to make the distinction between action and inaction regarding greed (which is identical for all of the seven sins). You can feel greedy, which is fine, but if you act on it, you are necessarily acting immorally.

The easiest way to understand what it means to act or not act greedily is to acknowledge that we face decisions during every minute of the day. Whether a person chooses action a, b, or c depends on that person's intentions. Greed is an intent, and offers us options that we normally wouldn't select without that particular emotion working on us. You feel the pull of these intentions every day: should I walk faster to beat that other person into line at the supermarket, or not? Should I speed up in my automobile past the point where I can control it safely and disregard the safety of other motorists, or not? Greed is the intention that 'weighs' us towards the wrong answer in each of these cases, and there are an infinite number of examples to analyze. In any one of these examples, the choice we make based on greed will be the wrong answer; the immoral answer.

You might ask: "but what about simply wanting to get out of the store faster, or wanting to avoid being late to work? That isn't greed." My answer is that greed is what focuses us on certain factors while avoiding others. Why didn't you consider, while cutting someone in line, how you would feel while standing in line afterward? After cutting them off, you are going to feel awkard knowing you did it, yet for some reason you were unable to predict this. Why didn't you consider the extra danger in speeding and the drastic consequences of making a mistake at high speeds (or even a pricey ticket)? It isn't that you are weighing speed versus being a good person, or that you are weighing your impatience of the cashier-line versus being a good person, it is that you are somehow completely disregarding the actual reasons why there's more to being a good person about making these decisions. Greed provides us an emotional recourse to downplay the self-evident detriments to our choices - by making us only consider the short-term benefits to ourselves instead of the entire picture. One who makes the choices that greed provides them will fail. The reason, I believe, why this is not always evident, is because we cannot define failure.

How many people die rich and alone? How many people are "successful" but unhappy?

"There comes a time, thief, when the jewels cease to sparkle, when the gold loses its luster, when the throne room becomes a prison, and all that is left is a father's love for his child. -King Osric, Conan the Barbarian, 1982

How many people find out what failure is too late, after they've already lost what they later find to be the real value in their lives? Our culture shields the meaning of failure from us, by inundating us with materialism. Is 'happiness' about who has the flashiest auto or the smartest cellphone? Or is it about whether we've made peace with the people in our life, whether we are proud of our accomplishments, or whether we've been good people? Once you are on the right track to knowing what it is you really want, morality simply becomes the most logical way of getting it. It is the economics of happiness.
kfc
Rob1_Billion
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5/27/2011 1:11:32 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/27/2011 12:38:56 PM, Nags wrote:


I can agree with Friedman without changing anything I've said here. Whether or not we choose to implement capitalism or not doesn't affect whether or not greed is healthy for the individual. I'm not going to attack capitalism at all in this thread, other than perhaps a comment or two about how our culture confuses us. You can swallow everything I have to say and still support capitalism in the fullest, simply by acknowledging the fact that people aren't smart enough to get it and we cannot assume that ehy will :D
kfc
belle
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5/27/2011 1:13:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
so greed is preferring your own interests to the interests of others now? in that case its impossible to avoid :P

and adding "excessively so" doesn't explain anything, since then you have to go on and distinguish which personal interests are legtitimate and which are not. i would be surprised if you could do it without drawing an arbitrary line based on your personal value judgments.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Rob1_Billion
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5/27/2011 1:32:24 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/27/2011 12:39:57 PM, belle wrote:
alright, say greed is the desire to get all that you can.

True.

...whether or not this is "good" in the greater scheme of things depends on whether or not you are willing to observe certain restrictions in your dealings with others while pursuing it.

This sentence has nothing to do with greed.

Also, your definition of "good" is left undefined. If you want to define it as efficacy or as net utility, then I will argue that point with you because I believe a person acting on greed will produce less utility for themselves as well as everyone else through choices based on greed. Again, not a knock on capitalism, as we can always question whether or not people are going to be smart enough to get this, and simply design the system to work for people who are stupid as well. I'm done attacking capitalism on this site, perhaps for good.

such that someone like ragnar would be "greedy" by starting a business, and not engaging in charity, but still respecting the rights of other people. whereas someone less scrupulous would lie cheat and steal to get every penny he could get his hands on. the second is obviously bad, but the first is not necessarily so. rob, is that not greed? or is failing to be charitable but producing a good product at a good price and making a sh*tton of profit off of it bad?

No, it is not greed. Your first sentence I will accept, about "getting all you can," but starting a business and not donating to charity is not directly greedy. It usually will be, incidentally, but if someone never makes a dime in the business then it's hardly greedy for them not to give to charity. Furthermore, there are other ways to give other than charity.

Greed isn't a general trait to ascribe to someone who isn't doing what you would expect to be charitable (i.e., giving to charity). If someone puts a tip jar or charity promotional jar in my face and I don't give, it doesn't mean I made a decision based on greed, because there can be other reasons why I don't happen to be willing or able to donate at that time. If I live my life as a selfless person, then I shouldn't need to be giving to charity to be charitable... there's also the problem of the situation being artificial - if anything, it is the person holding the jar who is exercising greed and I am simply not cooperating with it.
kfc
Rob1_Billion
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5/27/2011 1:36:18 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/27/2011 12:50:03 PM, brian_eggleston wrote:
I look at it this way:

There's nothing wrong with ambition or the accumulation of wealth – that's human nature and is what caused certain ethnic groups to become discontent as simple hunter gatherers - the advanced nations that most DDO members live in today are a result of the cumulative ambition of our ancestors.

I completely disagree. Human nature contains hatred and other things which are bad, and being "natural" doesn't excuse that. Who's to say that, if our acestors worked without greed or ambition, that we wouldn't be happier, smarter, or healthier? Maybe we'd even have more stuff!

However, greed implies the acquisition of a commodity merely for the sake of processing it, rather than needing it, and in the process of so doing depriving another person who might be in desperate need of that commodity.

Now that's got to be at least borderline immoral, hasn't it?

Yes.
kfc
Rob1_Billion
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5/27/2011 1:50:24 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/27/2011 1:13:11 PM, belle wrote:
so greed is preferring your own interests to the interests of others now? in that case its impossible to avoid :P

When you learned that your car doesn't consume the gasoline in it, but that the energy is actually retained in the form of heat and mechanical energy, you might have been inclined to say "in that case I guess cars can't run, because they can't actually consume the fuel :P" We all think that for a moment, actually, when we first learn this. But instead of giving up and insisting we are right to prove a point, we evolve new superior understandings to fit the evidence.
kfc
Rob1_Billion
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5/27/2011 1:53:19 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/27/2011 1:50:24 PM, Rob1_Billion wrote:
At 5/27/2011 1:13:11 PM, belle wrote:
so greed is preferring your own interests to the interests of others now? in that case its impossible to avoid :P

Besides, I never said you are "preferring your own interests to the interests of others," I merely pointed out that you are helping yourself more by not acting greedy than by acting greedy.
kfc
Rob1_Billion
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5/27/2011 1:55:10 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/27/2011 1:13:11 PM, belle wrote:

and adding "excessively so" doesn't explain anything, since then you have to go on and distinguish which personal interests are legtitimate and which are not. i would be surprised if you could do it without drawing an arbitrary line based on your personal value judgments.

Luxury versus necessity.
kfc
askbob
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5/27/2011 1:57:39 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/27/2011 12:50:03 PM, brian_eggleston wrote:
and in the process of so doing depriving another person who might be in desperate need of that commodity.

That's where the logic fails.
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Rob1_Billion
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5/27/2011 6:31:12 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/27/2011 1:57:39 PM, askbob wrote:
At 5/27/2011 12:50:03 PM, brian_eggleston wrote:
and in the process of so doing depriving another person who might be in desperate need of that commodity.

That's where the logic fails.

Could you be more specific about what you mean?
kfc
Greyparrot
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5/27/2011 6:37:22 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/27/2011 6:31:12 PM, Rob1_Billion wrote:
At 5/27/2011 1:57:39 PM, askbob wrote:
At 5/27/2011 12:50:03 PM, brian_eggleston wrote:
and in the process of so doing depriving another person who might be in desperate need of that commodity.

That's where the logic fails.

Could you be more specific about what you mean?

You can't process a good for someone and deprive him of it at the same time.
brian_eggleston
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5/28/2011 8:17:26 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/27/2011 6:31:12 PM, Rob1_Billion wrote:
At 5/27/2011 1:57:39 PM, askbob wrote:
At 5/27/2011 12:50:03 PM, brian_eggleston wrote:
and in the process of so doing depriving another person who might be in desperate need of that commodity.

That's where the logic fails.

Could you be more specific about what you mean?

Most of us are guilty of this in the West: we consume the vast majority of the world's finite natural resources, and do so in a decadent and wasteful manner, and this demand increases the global market value of commodities such as food and oil, and so economically deprives hundreds of millions of people in the developing world of access to these commodities.

We could drive more fuel-efficient cars (and walk and cycle more), eat more locally-produced sustainable organic foodstuffs, recycle more of our waste and reduce our consumption of energy in our homes, but most of us don't - we are greedy and don't care what impact our over-consumption has on others less fortunate than ourselves.
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PARADIGM_L0ST
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5/28/2011 8:45:17 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/27/2011 1:07:20 PM, Rob1_Billion wrote:
Greed: excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.:

But therein lies the million dollar question: What constitutes excessive or rapacious desire, and who arbitrates such a thing?
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Rob1_Billion
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5/28/2011 9:45:00 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/27/2011 6:37:22 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 5/27/2011 6:31:12 PM, Rob1_Billion wrote:
At 5/27/2011 1:57:39 PM, askbob wrote:
At 5/27/2011 12:50:03 PM, brian_eggleston wrote:
and in the process of so doing depriving another person who might be in desperate need of that commodity.

That's where the logic fails.

Could you be more specific about what you mean?

You can't process a good for someone and deprive him of it at the same time.

But I believe "process" was being used in the context of 'using' or 'consuming.' It sounds like you're using it as 'produce.' This particular inquiry is getting confusing; askbob will have to explain his point.
kfc
Rob1_Billion
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5/28/2011 10:03:21 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/28/2011 8:17:26 AM, brian_eggleston wrote:
At 5/27/2011 6:31:12 PM, Rob1_Billion wrote:
At 5/27/2011 1:57:39 PM, askbob wrote:
At 5/27/2011 12:50:03 PM, brian_eggleston wrote:
and in the process of so doing depriving another person who might be in desperate need of that commodity.

That's where the logic fails.

Could you be more specific about what you mean?

Most of us are guilty of this in the West: we consume the vast majority of the world's finite natural resources, and do so in a decadent and wasteful manner, and this demand increases the global market value of commodities such as food and oil, and so economically deprives hundreds of millions of people in the developing world of access to these commodities.

We could drive more fuel-efficient cars (and walk and cycle more), eat more locally-produced sustainable organic foodstuffs, recycle more of our waste and reduce our consumption of energy in our homes, but most of us don't - we are greedy and don't care what impact our over-consumption has on others less fortunate than ourselves.

This is all straight-forward, clear and logical, and I agree. However, just be sure to make the distinction between societal and personal greed. The former is vague and dubious (although as you point out the effects are real); while you and Michael Moore can talk boatloads about it, it begs the question of "OK, so what would you do to change it?" Going down this road simply leads the conversation into the economics forum; and we know how much of a stalemate that becomes. The Milton Friedman video, for example, shows how this path leads us to a battle over two glaring inefficacies with each side using charisma to show how the other is worse, with both sides doing a fine job of convincing us that we are abomidable and doomed.

The latter, personal greed, is specific and doesn't carry economic implications that cloud and politicize the argument. A person is faced with choices during the day, her greed provides options for her that she wouldn't have otherwise been able to justify without that emotion, and she acts selfishly, producing inefficacy. Society is worse off, she is worse off, and no one thinks to ask why or how this happened because our culture allows for it. Most people have not the energy to think about morality; "we get these rules to follow," and we are told that as long as we operate within these guidelines we are free to be as destructive to ourselves and others as we please. When we pass down rules of conduct on the people, we replace their good moral sense with imperfect (usually glaringly imperfect) and inadequate principles that can change with the direction of the wind. The tragedy is that we are hard-wired with perfection but we never discover it.
kfc
askbob
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5/28/2011 10:08:47 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/27/2011 6:31:12 PM, Rob1_Billion wrote:
At 5/27/2011 1:57:39 PM, askbob wrote:
At 5/27/2011 12:50:03 PM, brian_eggleston wrote:
and in the process of so doing depriving another person who might be in desperate need of that commodity.

That's where the logic fails.

Could you be more specific about what you mean?

Most basic resources that people may be in need of are not scare but are unlimited.
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kohai -If you're the owner, then do something useful like ip block him and get us away from juggle and on a dofferent host!
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Kohai - Maybe not, but that doesn't matter! You shoukd still listen to your community and quit being a tyrrant!
Me - i was being completely sarcastic
Kohai - then u misrepresented yourself by impersonating the owner—a violation of the tos
askbob
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5/28/2011 10:09:35 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/28/2011 8:17:26 AM, brian_eggleston wrote:
At 5/27/2011 6:31:12 PM, Rob1_Billion wrote:
At 5/27/2011 1:57:39 PM, askbob wrote:
At 5/27/2011 12:50:03 PM, brian_eggleston wrote:
and in the process of so doing depriving another person who might be in desperate need of that commodity.

That's where the logic fails.

Could you be more specific about what you mean?

Most of us are guilty of this in the West: we consume the vast majority of the world's finite natural resources, and do so in a decadent and wasteful manner, and this demand increases the global market value of commodities such as food and oil, and so economically deprives hundreds of millions of people in the developing world of access to these commodities.

Clarify for me how food is finite?
Me -Phil left the site in my charge. I have a recorded phone conversation to prove it.
kohai -If you're the owner, then do something useful like ip block him and get us away from juggle and on a dofferent host!
Me -haha you apparently don't know my history
Kohai - Maybe not, but that doesn't matter! You shoukd still listen to your community and quit being a tyrrant!
Me - i was being completely sarcastic
Kohai - then u misrepresented yourself by impersonating the owner—a violation of the tos
LaissezFaire
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5/28/2011 10:10:27 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 5/28/2011 10:08:47 AM, askbob wrote:
At 5/27/2011 6:31:12 PM, Rob1_Billion wrote:
At 5/27/2011 1:57:39 PM, askbob wrote:
At 5/27/2011 12:50:03 PM, brian_eggleston wrote:
and in the process of so doing depriving another person who might be in desperate need of that commodity.

That's where the logic fails.

Could you be more specific about what you mean?

Most basic resources that people may be in need of are not scare but are unlimited.

I don't think so. What resources are you referring to? Water, food, land, housing, and medicine, for example, are all scarce.
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: i didn't like [Obama]. he was the only black dude in moneygall yet he claimed to be home. obvious liar is obvious liar. i bet him and bin laden are bumfvcking right now.