LeoGlossary: Greed

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Greed is an insatiable desire for material gain or social value, such as status, or power. It is often associated with money, but it can also be applied to other things, such as food, possessions, or knowledge. Greed is typically seen as a negative trait, as it can lead to people behaving selfishly and unethically in order to get what they want.

There are many different factors that can contribute to greed, including:

  • Low self-esteem: People with low self-esteem may feel the need to accumulate material possessions or social status in order to feel good about themselves.
  • Fear of scarcity: People who are afraid of not having enough may be more likely to hoard resources or take advantage of others in order to get what they need.
  • Cultural influences: Some cultures may place a high value on material wealth or social status, which can lead to people feeling pressure to be more greedy in order to achieve these things.

Greed can have a number of negative consequences, both for the individual and for society as a whole. For example, greed can lead to:

  • Corruption: People who are greedy may be more likely to engage in corrupt behavior, such as bribery, fraud, or embezzlement, in order to get what they want.
  • Exploitation: Greedy people may exploit others, such as employees, customers, or the environment, in order to make more money.
  • Crime: Greed can lead to people committing crimes, such as theft, robbery, or assault, in order to get what they want.
  • Social inequality: Greed can lead to a widening gap between the rich and the poor, as greedy people accumulate more and more wealth for themselves.

It is important to note that not everyone who is wealthy or successful is greedy. There are many people who have achieved great things through hard work and determination, without being motivated by greed. However, greed is a real problem in society, and it can have a number of negative consequences.

Here are some examples of greed:

  • A corporate CEO who pays his employees low wages while pocketing millions of dollars for himself.
  • A politician who accepts bribes from special interests in exchange for favorable treatment.
  • A person who hoards food and other resources during a famine.
  • A company that dumps toxic waste into the environment in order to save money.
  • A gambler who continues to bet even when they are losing money.

Greed is a complex issue, and there is no easy solution.

Cultural Influence

Culture is full of situations where greed is lauded. The movies are filled with scenes that glamorize material wealth.

Nothing captured it more than Michael Douglas' character, Gordon Gecko, in the film Wall Street. In speaking before a room full of shareholders, he stated "Greed is good".

Wall Street films are very popular because it makes the fasted pace lifestyle seem appealing. Movies such as Margin Call, The Big Short, and The Wolf of Wall Street show off a way of life most can only imagine. While the main characters often end up broke and imprisoned, the lure still exists.

The mindset is for people to get into markets and strike it rich. Little consideration is given to risk, something that can always bite people. Some of the largest banks in the world were taken down by taken on too much risk without proper hedges being put in place. This caused the bankruptcy of firms such as Lehman Brothers.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps shows how greed can filter throughout the economy. The entire system was crazy over real estate. Loans were readily handed out since prices of the properties kept increasing. The banks were willing to do this since they knew there was an appetite for the paper on Wall Street, specifically the investment banks. They were packaging the loans into mortgage backed securities (MBS) and selling them to investors.

Susan Sarandon's character showed how greed can take over. She was a nurse by training who got herself in debt to the point where she had numerous properties foreclosed on here.


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