Sunday, 7 September 2008

Greed is Good (Sep 08)

We had a lively and stimulating debate which seemed to be at its best when we were on more philosophical ground. From an initial position where we were sitting on the fence over the assertion “Greed is Good” we came to a conclusion that there is “good greed” (drive for change) and “bad greed” (self serving to the detriment of others). On the whole, there was more support for the positive aspects of greed (60%) than the negative (40%). However extremely pro-greed statements such as “Greed is nearly always good… It's only the losers who don't like it.” were opposed by the group.
Many in the group thought there was scope for more self-awareness “I want to make more good greed decisions” and the two most supported statements throughout the discussion were about intentions to broaden the debate:
Tomorrow I’m going to talk to my children about this
Tomorrow I’m going to reflect where can make a real positive difference outside of normal environment

Below are listed all those statements that the majority of the group agreed on.

The paradox of greed
· So hey we define greed negatively but reckon it has some positive force… funny
· Good for one can be bad for another
· Maybe we need to separate harmless greed from mindless greed
· Maybe we feel guilty about our own greed
· Very convenient to make greed a sin. It was a form of social control - the people with power and influence didn't want the rest trying to get it.
Good greed
The main themes were greed as a desire for more – driving progress
· I think greed, and ambition which is a form of greed, are fundamental human drivers
Greed can be good when it’s…
· a force for advancement
· acts an impetus for change. "I want more out of life". It got us out of the cave
· respects the limits of the other
·  a desire to create positive change
· energy for change, but needs to be balanced with caring about the rest of society
· generates optimism
Bad greed
Many comments focused on unfair distribution being a consequence of “bad” greed.
· I feel greed can also be used as a bad thing and drive people to do things that they would never normally do.
Greed can be bad when it makes people…
· sacrifice interpersonal relationships to get what you want
· leads to jealousy, has to do with the scarcity
· overcapacity: getting more than you need;
· wanting things just for the sake of it
So what can we do?
· look at where my own "greed" might be good greed or bad greed
· talk to my children about this
· be very aware of what I’m buying and what things I crave because someone else has them, make more influenced choices on my everyday life and ask my self is this good greed or bad. Try to ensure I make more good greed choices
· differentiate between greed and need

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