It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

When/How Did Greed Become a Virtue?

page: 1
7

log in

join
share:

posted on Oct, 31 2011 @ 05:35 PM
link   

From Merriam-Webster
Main Entry: greed Pronunciation: \ˈgrēd\ Function: noun Etymology: back-formation from greedy Date: 1609 : a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed.



Seven Deadly Sins: Avarice
Greed (Latin, avaritia), also known as avarice or covetousness, is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of excess. However, greed (as seen by the church) is applied to a very excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of wealth, status, and power. St. Thomas ore than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth.


In Hindi Theology:
lobh — greed, miserliness, narrow minded.

In Buddhism, (excessive) desire is the root of all suffering.

In most mythology you can find allegory of how the Gods punish those who are greedy and cause those who horde to lose their treasures.

In folklore, we vilify those who are characteristically greedy and celebrate those who show charity to others, even if it is through the theft of others horded wealth. (IE; Robin Hood)

We teach children to share, to be moderate, to be fair...(unless you are Tim 'Sharing-is-Socialism' Pawlenty)

But, in the modern era, somehow all that gets thrown aside. Literally, millennia of philosophical and moral thought is suddenly considered naive when we talk about economic philosophy.

At no time but now, anywhere in the world, has greed been considered a virtue...

...how did we as a people change?



posted on Oct, 31 2011 @ 05:42 PM
link   
It seems to be that greed as a "virtue" started during the Reagan years in the 1980s.



posted on Oct, 31 2011 @ 05:45 PM
link   
reply to post by madhatr137
 


Star and flag. I think it was around the same time we coined the expression "HE WHO DIES WITH THE MOST TOYS WINS." Who are these people? Even China is rethinking, and asking themselves these same types of questions.

After toddler is left to die, China disquieted

By itself, the video has sparked worldwide news reports, and within China it has led to a serious discussion about public values....

The state-run news agency, Xinhua, writes: "High moral standards were once triumphed as national pride in China where individuals known for selflessly helping others were adored by the public.

But in recent years, the perception of a decline of morals has become a hot topic as profit and materialism are perceived to be affecting society's values. www.cbsnews.com...



edit on 31-10-2011 by newcovenant because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 31 2011 @ 05:50 PM
link   

Originally posted by FissionSurplus
It seems to be that greed as a "virtue" started during the Reagan years in the 1980s.


Greed started with the "me,me,me,me hippie generation" Who wanted so badly to be part of the counter culture.



posted on Oct, 31 2011 @ 05:56 PM
link   
reply to post by madhatr137
 


It probably started with one of our distant modern ancestors contemplating on how much was truly enough. Figuring that no one could stop him because he was the cunning leader of the small tribe, he slowly, but surely coaxed his fellow brothers and sisters to give them their belongings because if they didn't, he predicted a disastrous event to fall upon them. Willingly, with no hesitation at all, they gave him all their jewelry, pottery and other belongings to prevent this horrible disaster. The leader of the tribe in all his lust for more taught his sons and daughters to use the same tactic on people, because in the face of adversity, a good majority of the people are weak minded.

Now only if I had a time machine to travel back in time to verify this story lol
Greed won't stop or change, unless we as individuals change. It's not an impossible task, but don't expect it to happen overnight!



posted on Oct, 31 2011 @ 06:02 PM
link   
reply to post by madhatr137
 


Why is the pursuit of money in excess any more objectionable than excessive pursuit of anything?

We're at new levels of obesity from people being excessive with their eating.

Anti-depressants are perscribed in the excessive pursuit of some chemical form of happiness

We have drugs for the most idiotic maladies - even drugs people take to make their eye lashes grow. Who takes many of these drugs and suppliments? People in pursuit of a condition free physical state, ignoring age.

We have a multi-billion dollar plastic surgery industry, with folks getting pre-teens nose jobs, etc in the excessive pursuit of some false sense of beauty. Nose jobs, boob jobs, butt jobs, lipo, botox, skin bleaching, all of it. Why? It used to be that someone with an absolutely terrible nose would get a nose job. Today, people get them to shave off 1/8 of an inch. Why?

Every day we learn of a new addiction, no longer are booze, drugs and gambling the addictions. We have porn, cell phone, internet surfing, woman's clothing, you name it, its an addiction that requires some form of counseling. What are those other than the pursuit of excess until it creates a "problem"

We have excessive use of television and video games, to the extent that kids have died playing them

Extreme sports are the preferred sports for some. From steel cage fighting with full on stomping on heads and kicking to the face to major sports with steriod fueled atheletes. It used to be that folks watched boxing - why bother when you can be watching someone kicking somebodys face in?

Jackass movies are massive sellers - extreme pursuit of the idiotic

Shows like Hoarders and Intervention focus on extreme behaviors as if they are meant to amuse or at minimum titilate.

Society has lost restraint. Greed involving money is no different.

Its the definition of something like greed where the problem lies. How much eating/obesity is gluttony? How much violence in a UFC fight is excessive? How many hours in front of the x-box is too much? How much time looking at porn is dysfunctional? How much money is too much?

It is not societies obligation to correct these ills. It is the responsibility of the individuals to correct these ills and it is nobody's right to place value judgements on others to the extent that their behavior is not directly impacting them.

Someone's desire to accumulate massive amounts of wealth does not impair your ability to accumulate a massive amount of wealth any more than when the gent eats his 100th hotdog in 10 minutes does not prevent you from having a hotdog, or 100 of them if you like.
edit on 31-10-2011 by dolphinfan because: (no reason given)

edit on 31-10-2011 by dolphinfan because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 31 2011 @ 06:03 PM
link   

Originally posted by Fitch303

Originally posted by FissionSurplus
It seems to be that greed as a "virtue" started during the Reagan years in the 1980s.


Greed started with the "me,me,me,me hippie generation" Who wanted so badly to be part of the counter culture.


When did hippies become obsessed with money? FissionSurplus is right the worst thing a president could do was tell the country greed is good.




posted on Oct, 31 2011 @ 06:17 PM
link   
reply to post by madhatr137
 


It started about the time wall street was created, and others started skimming from others work. They decided to make greed a virtue because greed keeps stock prices rising and them in business. We all know the thoughts on the modern business model. Every single year you must make more profit than the last, or you're "not doing well". That's a lie told to businesses, because when you fail to be greedy enough, they come and take your business using their "wall street" as a tool for economic warfare.



posted on Oct, 31 2011 @ 06:26 PM
link   
It became an official virtue when Hollywood gave us Gordon Gecko.

The 1980's sucked big time, looking back, it was the time we completely lost all ethics and morality, and now here we are, repenting at our leisure.

Cosmic...



posted on Oct, 31 2011 @ 06:37 PM
link   
ATS cracks me up sometimes.

Greed as virtue is a lot older than the GOP.


A cornerstone of Roman society was the mantra "greed is good". It was openly encouraged and considered a desirable personality trait in the measure of ones success.

Sorry, you cant blame this one on the republicans.


Basic human nature is not always as perfect as we would like to idealize.

I guess that could be one interpretation of the Christian biblical concept that " all are born into sin?"

edit on 31-10-2011 by Drunkenparrot because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 31 2011 @ 06:41 PM
link   

Originally posted by dolphinfan
reply to post by madhatr137
 


Why is the pursuit of money in excess any more objectionable than excessive pursuit of anything?

We're at new levels of obesity from people being excessive with their eating.

Anti-depressants are perscribed in the excessive pursuit of some chemical form of happiness

We have drugs for the most idiotic maladies - even drugs people take to make their eye lashes grow. Who takes many of these drugs and suppliments? People in pursuit of a condition free physical state, ignoring age.

We have a multi-billion dollar plastic surgery industry, with folks getting pre-teens nose jobs, etc in the excessive pursuit of some false sense of beauty. Nose jobs, boob jobs, butt jobs, lipo, botox, skin bleaching, all of it. Why? It used to be that someone with an absolutely terrible nose would get a nose job. Today, people get them to shave off 1/8 of an inch. Why?

Every day we learn of a new addiction, no longer are booze, drugs and gambling the addictions. We have porn, cell phone, internet surfing, woman's clothing, you name it, its an addiction that requires some form of counseling. What are those other than the pursuit of excess until it creates a "problem"

We have excessive use of television and video games, to the extent that kids have died playing them

Extreme sports are the preferred sports for some. From steel cage fighting with full on stomping on heads and kicking to the face to major sports with steriod fueled atheletes. It used to be that folks watched boxing - why bother when you can be watching someone kicking somebodys face in?

Jackass movies are massive sellers - extreme pursuit of the idiotic

Shows like Hoarders and Intervention focus on extreme behaviors as if they are meant to amuse or at minimum titilate.

Society has lost restraint. Greed involving money is no different.

Its the definition of something like greed where the problem lies. How much eating/obesity is gluttony? How much violence in a UFC fight is excessive? How many hours in front of the x-box is too much? How much time looking at porn is dysfunctional? How much money is too much?

It is not societies obligation to correct these ills. It is the responsibility of the individuals to correct these ills and it is nobody's right to place value judgements on others to the extent that their behavior is not directly impacting them.

Someone's desire to accumulate massive amounts of wealth does not impair your ability to accumulate a massive amount of wealth any more than when the gent eats his 100th hotdog in 10 minutes does not prevent you from having a hotdog, or 100 of them if you like.
edit on 31-10-2011 by dolphinfan because: (no reason given)

edit on 31-10-2011 by dolphinfan because: (no reason given)


Thank you for your post.

What I'm extremely uncomfortable with is the idea of judging "excess". Today, they say it is the 1%. When does it become me????



posted on Nov, 1 2011 @ 01:00 AM
link   
I dunno it may have came out as a side effect of the Capitalist "keeping up with the Joneses society" As was mentioned, around the early 80s, some authors, etc., say the "Me Generation" begin, children brought up with "you're the most attractive" to "you can be anything you want". The ideal is as follows; Without that ego you are nothing, greed just comes with it because greed is a way to the top. Morals, what morals? The best one wins. If you can't compete you're not doing it right. Such is life.
Exemplified more by MTV, reality TV, young teen pop stars and at it's point now of Youtube ...social sites, where sharing yourself can equal fame.



posted on Nov, 1 2011 @ 01:18 AM
link   
Greed has always been a human virtue (vice) since the invention of surplus agriculture - or the idea that someone was worried that there wouldn't be enough food, so he started hoarding it.

You can paint past cultures as being against greed, as being virtuous, as being religious all you want, but since the beginning of "progressive civilization" we have been greedy. Think Romans, think all monarchs, think conquistadors, think the Egyptians who were buried with gold to be taken with them to the afterlife. This really isn't a new phenomenon, because just like now, they told their children that greed was bad, but then practiced it as good, just like nowadays, as you mentioned, we teach our children to share their toys while practicing the actions of hoarding our things instead of sharing.

It's the reason religion has been painted as evil - people simply don't practice what they preach. As for economic theory, you make an interesting point that greed is considered good in economics, and not considered bad but practiced anyways. It stems from "the invisible hand" which in essence says "Be greedy and selfish and the world will work out fine." I honestly do not know how Adam Smith got away with that one, it's so blatantly false and I do not understand why anyone believes it. I guess we have all come to believe that our greediness is somehow righteous, and instead of trying to portray it as a bad thing, it's come to our realization that it's easier to simply portray it as good, since most people believe it is good and righteous.



posted on Nov, 1 2011 @ 06:59 AM
link   
I wanted to pop in and thank everyone who has responded, I honestly thought the thread would not get more than 2 responses before disappearing.

So, we are slowly starting to zero into an answer to the first question...one thing I am noticing is a kind of chalking it up to the other guy or "that is the way it has always been"...I don't necessarily disagree with either...but I'm for some reason thinking we should all be more selfreflective.

None the less, I will, hopefully, continue the dialectic by asking, "since we have an idea of how/when it changed, is the way we are now better than the way we could be if we reject greed as a virtue?"



posted on Nov, 1 2011 @ 12:10 PM
link   

Originally posted by IEtherianSoul9
reply to post by madhatr137
 


It probably started with one of our distant modern ancestors contemplating on how much was truly enough. Figuring that no one could stop him because he was the cunning leader of the small tribe, he slowly, but surely coaxed his fellow brothers and sisters to give them their belongings because if they didn't, he predicted a disastrous event to fall upon them. Willingly, with no hesitation at all, they gave him all their jewelry, pottery and other belongings to prevent this horrible disaster. The leader of the tribe in all his lust for more taught his sons and daughters to use the same tactic on people, because in the face of adversity, a good majority of the people are weak minded.

Now only if I had a time machine to travel back in time to verify this story lol
Greed won't stop or change, unless we as individuals change. It's not an impossible task, but don't expect it to happen overnight!

You should read Veblen's "Theory of the Leisure Class" to help tweak your train of thought.



posted on Nov, 1 2011 @ 01:44 PM
link   
Don't forget that Ayn Rand's books, Atlas Shrugged, and The Virtue of Selfishness, have helped tremendously in making greed something desirable. Almost all the wealthy businesspeople I know love her. If there ever was an Antichrist, Rand was it.



posted on Nov, 1 2011 @ 02:35 PM
link   
reply to post by sylvie
 


Perhaps the OWS crowd needs to take a page out of J.F. Kennedy's book:

"A rising tide lifts all boats"

This entire OWS mindset is limiting, selfish and presumes that free and open markets preclude people from being successful. When in fact what free markets do is preclude lazy people from being successful.

Success is not a zero-sum game. My success and yours are not mutually exclusive.

The OWS movement is profoundly negative which is why it will fail (already has failed). Movements are successful when founded on optimism, not negativity.




top topics



 
7

log in

join