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Main Discussion Zone => General Religious Discussion => Topic started by: Astreja on April 30, 2013, 02:22:24 PM

Title: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Astreja on April 30, 2013, 02:22:24 PM
In this thread (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24709.0.html), we're currently having a knock-down-drag-out fight in which one of the participants insists that greed is responsible for the majority of the world's ills.  I'm going to take the opposing stance and point out the many benefits that I received because I decided not to be content with the absolute minimum.

This is what I managed to accomplish in the last 20 years or so, when I came to My senses and started putting My own needs at the top of the heap rather than being a long-suffering helpmeet to people who didn't appreciate what I was doing for them anyway:

TL;DR version:  Education, divorce, career opportunities, driving, big-@ss dragon sculpture, purple belt in Shotokan karate, playing music all over Southern Manitoba, and money -- More than enough to share or give away.

I think greed and selfishness get a bad rap because of a scarcity mentality -- The idea that somehow there isn't enough to go around, rather than lots for everyone.  I think the universe is more than big enough for the most grandiose dreams, and that it's better to pursue those dreams than play at being altruistic and resenting every moment.

Comments, please, and/or personal anecdotes on how greed has made *your* life better.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Nick on April 30, 2013, 02:31:46 PM
I wonder if the greed of the many multi millionaire preachers counts?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Astreja on April 30, 2013, 02:35:34 PM
I wonder if the greed of the many multi millionaire preachers counts?

Well, I can't help but think that their parishioners would enjoy a higher quality of life if the preachers encouraged them to invest their money in themselves rather than giving it to the church.  ;)
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Tonus on April 30, 2013, 02:58:28 PM
I recall a comment on a finance blog to the effect of "you know the best way to help the poor?  By not becoming one."  The statement, on its face, seems brash.  But I think the point was that if those with the means take care of themselves first, they are in a much better position to help anyone else who needs it.  I think that we have turned terms like greed and selfishness into pure black and white issues.  If you show any shred of selfishness or greed, then you cannot possibly be unselfish.  Selfishness and unselfishness are seen as very clear qualities that reflect what type of person we are.  Few people want to be described as "selfish" but most people would be flattered to be called "unselfish."

I think that its in our nature to be both, to varying degrees.  We seek out experiences that we will enjoy.  We are sympathetic and empathetic towards others.  We may occasionally put our own interests above those of another, and we may occasionally do the opposite.  Putting your time, efforts, and money towards bettering yourself may be selfish in the short term, but may allow you to be much more generous over the long term.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Nam on April 30, 2013, 03:19:45 PM
"If there weren't any rich people there wouldn't be any poor people." -- it's a metaphor.

-Nam
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: bertatberts on April 30, 2013, 05:02:37 PM
This seemed appropriate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RyvYSV41t8
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Astreja on April 30, 2013, 06:40:26 PM
This seemed appropriate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RyvYSV41t8

Very appropriate -- Life's too short to spend it doing things you don't want to do.

Ironically, today (April 30) is the Canadian tax-filing deadline.  If you go out to a restaurant tonight, you may notice one or more small clusters of visibly frazzled men and women -- Accountants and staff, trying to wind down after getting the last few client tax returns printed, signed and delivered to the Canada Revenue Agency.  I used to work for an accounting firm, so I was one of those people.  It was all too easy to get caught up in a sense of being needed by the clients, hopping from crisis to crisis and sacrificing evenings and weekends, all the while ignoring the fact that the person who needed you the most was you.  Acknowledging that, and resolving to fix the situation through whatever means necessary, was a life-changing experience.

...But I think the point was that if those with the means take care of themselves first, they are in a much better position to help anyone else who needs it...

...Putting your time, efforts, and money towards bettering yourself may be selfish in the short term, but may allow you to be much more generous over the long term.

Or to put it another way, "A lifeguard should know how to swim."



Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on April 30, 2013, 07:00:14 PM
I'm afraid I'll have to be the contrarian yet again, because I see nothing good in greed. Money is a social construct used mainly to get people to shut up and play along with the system. I see little that's meritorious in embracing this "shut up and play" philosophy voluntarily instead of coercively.

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I think greed and selfishness get a bad rap because of a scarcity mentality -- The idea that somehow there isn't enough to go around, rather than lots for everyone.

Well, I don't believe in scarcity either, but I do think you're right to a certain extent on that. On things that are plentiful, like sunlight or air, hoarders are an annoyance but not really an issue. But insofar as money, which is kept artificially scarce, then greed should naturally arouse people's ire. If we accept the premise of money (which I do, personally, although I do think our monetary system is little more than tyrannical), why should anyone receive more than their fair share? 

I think we need to stop obsessing about money and we need to start obsessing more about the things that really matter... our free time, our well-being, our rights as human beings. Then we could cooperate in creating a society adapted to human needs, instead of greed.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: magicmiles on April 30, 2013, 07:56:04 PM
our rights as human beings.

What are those, and how are they bestowed? And by who?

Aren't they social or human constructs just as much as money?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on April 30, 2013, 08:02:41 PM
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What are those,
Principles of ethics which pertain to the circumstances in which coercion may be used (in order to defend ourselves from something or to gain access to something).

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and how are they bestowed? And by who?
By the people who want them, either by protest or violence. No power elite gives away rights to its people willingly.

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Aren't they social or human constructs just as much as money?
No, they are the result of intuitions, which are part of human nature.

I find it interesting that this is the part of my post you objected to, a side point, instead of the gist of what I said... Your reply was totally off-topic. Very rude to Astreja, if you ask me...
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Astreja on April 30, 2013, 08:07:52 PM
Following up on Hierophant's comments about the artificial scarcity of money, I'd like to put forth the observation that the link has been broken between money and the labour value that it supposedly represents.  Two people can work with equal effort for an equal amount of time, and yet not receive equal compensation.

How do we fix this?  Can it be fixed?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on April 30, 2013, 08:26:14 PM
I like time-based currencies, based on the man-hour. Josiah Warren was successful in establishing time stores, which were entirely based on a time-based currency.

The basic idea is sound- the more you lend your time to society, the more you get... one hour is one hour is one hour. Although I do think people should also be compensated for their education, health care, and so on... either by making them free or by including their costs under people's wages.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: magicmiles on April 30, 2013, 08:41:11 PM

I find it interesting that this is the part of my post you objected to, a side point, instead of the gist of what I said... Your reply was totally off-topic. Very rude to Astreja, if you ask me...

Was not totally off-topic, and why do you describe my questions as objections instead of, oh, I don't know...questions?

And unlike you, Astreja knows me well enough to recognise if I am being rude.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on April 30, 2013, 08:45:42 PM
I am not making any personal statement, merely noting that your response was off-topic, no need to be miffed about it.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jaimehlers on April 30, 2013, 09:36:28 PM
One way I look at it is that you have to be selfish in order to be altruistic.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: ParkingPlaces on April 30, 2013, 09:43:01 PM
There is a big difference between wanting to have a decent life for yourself and wanting to have an excellent life for yourself at the expense of others.

I was once doing to work for a guy who was on the Forbes list of richest people (though towards the bottom as far as billionaires go) and I was fixing some problems on one of his vacation homes. His ranch manager had arranged the repairs, so the gentleman didn't know anything about the money part of my repairs. He was visiting his 50,000 square foot home nearby (which he did two weeks out of the year) and he wandered over to see how I was doing. He had no complaints about the work I was doing but he asked me how much I was charging. I told him $35 per hour. His response:

"Jesus Christ, you guys are going to nickel and dime me to death!"

Knowing what he was worth via Forbes, I calculated that I could indeed nickle and dime him to death at my hourly rate in a mere 9,700 years, if I could keep at it 24/7 for that long (really). So what was the source of his paranoia? Methinks it was the greed we are discussing. And Astreja, your success does not compare to the failure he was as a human, even as he succeeded in business.

Methinks we need to define greed a little better before we have heated discussions on the subject.

Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: magicmiles on April 30, 2013, 10:25:10 PM

Methinks we need to define greed a little better before we have heated discussions on the subject.

That seems sensible.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on April 30, 2013, 10:29:03 PM
ParkingPlaces, I'm fine with that. The issue, as you seem to describe it, is more about equal share versus hoarding. Because to me that is all that such people do, they unfairly hoard possessions and economic power, and waste resources that should be going towards rising the level of water, and by doing so, lifting all boats equally...

Right-wingers claim that they are responsible for their own wealth, when in fact they earned it on the backs of other people, as well as on the backs of all taxpayers, because the infrastructure benefits them more than it does other people.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Astreja on April 30, 2013, 10:30:12 PM
So what was the source of his paranoia? Methinks it was the greed we are discussing... Methinks we need to define greed a little better before we have heated discussions on the subject.

Based on your story, PP, I'm starting to think that there's an element of fear inherent in greed.  Some people make a few thousand dollars a year and are happy because they have more than enough for their needs.  Others have millions and are afraid to spend a cent of it lest their net worth go down instead of up.  (That ties in with Hierophant's "hoarding" qualifier, too.)

As for definitions, we do need to narrow things down a bit so that we can define the actual problem.  Not all material wealth is greed.  Not all greed concerns dollars and cents.  And unfortunately, as in the "Belief in God" thread, greed sometimes gets paired up with "minimalism"as its polar opposite.  One can have nice things without being greedy or exploitative about it, and one can be the undisputed king of the Über-Simplicity Minimalist Zen Spartan lifestyle and be a total rat-bastard.



Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: screwtape on May 01, 2013, 08:30:35 AM
"Jesus Christ, you guys are going to nickel and dime me to death!"

You should have stabbed him in the neck with whatever was handy.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Truth OT on May 01, 2013, 09:21:38 AM
I'm afraid I'll have to be the contrarian yet again, because I see nothing good in greed. Money is a social construct used mainly to get people to shut up and play along with the system. I see little that's meritorious in embracing this "shut up and play" philosophy voluntarily instead of coercively.
 
...............

I think we need to stop obsessing about money and we need to start obsessing more about the things that really matter... our free time, our well-being, our rights as human beings. Then we could cooperate in creating a society adapted to human needs, instead of greed.

In many ways I agree with Gordon Gecko, Greed is good. It gets a bad rap, but if we are honest and open minded about reality, we must admit that greed is but one of the tools used to make an individual's self interests and a societies lofty aspirations become realities.

The whole money is the root of all evil mentality is a farce in my opinion. Money has been painted as somehow being a tool of evil when in fact it is simply a means of allowing trade. The more of it one has, the more trading one can do, the more freedom one has, the more one can invest in bettering their health, etc. When a society or nation has a lot of it we tend to see that even the poor among that society's number lives substantially better than the poor in societies that have little money. Money is but a means to one's desired ends.

We tend to obsess about that which helps get us to where we want to be, so it's quite natural that many folks obsess about money. Greed is but a way of people expressing the desire to have more of what brings them happiness and oftentimes the pursuit of this 'more' benefits others.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on May 01, 2013, 05:28:33 PM
Well, as I said in the morality thread, I don't believe that self-interest has much to do with ethics. I think people who believe in self-interest as a code of ethics are simply mistaken. So any goals determined by self-interest are simply irrelevant.

Money is not a means of "allowing" trade, it's a means of "controlling" trade through a centralized money supply and central banks. Very different. There was trade millenia before the invention of money, and economies are on the whole healthier when they don't rely on monetary central planning.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Astreja on May 01, 2013, 10:40:55 PM
Thought I'd throw this into the mix:

Tonight on My way home I caught the tail end of Ideas, a show on CBC Radio.  They're doing a discussion on morality and social obligation, with another episode due next Wednesday night:  My Brother's - And My Sister's - Keeper (http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2013/05/01/my-brothers---and-my-sisters---keeper-part-1/).
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Irish on May 01, 2013, 11:01:05 PM
I'll chime in and voice my support for greed and selfishness.  I believe they are two words that have been taken down by society and made out to be "bad" words.  In a similar manner altruism has been lifted up into this god-like quality we're all supposed to strive for.  In all simplicity I'm an egoist. 

Greed and selfishness have so far got me a college degree and a spot in a professional school for my dream career simply because I want it for myself and not because I want it for someone else or someone wants it for me.  Greed makes me want to strive harder, farther, and longer simply because I want nice things for myself.  If people were honest with their self, greed would not be the demonized word it has become.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: dloubet on May 02, 2013, 01:05:22 AM
Self Interest is awesome! You just have to know what's in your best interest.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on May 02, 2013, 01:51:53 AM
Greed and selfishness have so far got me a college degree and a spot in a professional school for my dream career simply because I want it for myself and not because I want it for someone else or someone wants it for me.

No, you got them because of long-term planning. People who only think of themselves, like sociopaths, usually don't care about any sort of long-term planning, unless they are weakly sociopathic. Long-term planning is what's important, and the necessities of long-term planning lead to the necessity of ethics- treating other people well in order to prevent conflicts- which is altruism, not selfishness.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Anfauglir on May 02, 2013, 05:54:08 AM
The thing is, at every stage you have to weigh the short term against the long.

Example: my long-term plan might involve getting a degree.  In the UK, that's around £30,000 just for the tuition.  Before I start the course, I need to justify to myself why it is better to spend that 30k on me, than to give it to a homeless charity (for example).  How can I value their needs for food and shelter over me having a degree in 3 years time?  Opting for the degree is greedy and selfish, surely?

And yet.....if I had the degree, I could earn more, and - over time - be able to give MORE to the homeless than that £30k.  Probably - if I had a degree - I could afford to give more than £750 a year extra to charity over the rest of my life, which would just balance the £30k.  But unless I'm going to give significantly more than that, isn't it better to give them all the money right now?  The homeless guy today probably won't thank me for refusing him a bed today with the promise of probably a bed in 4 years time.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 02, 2013, 06:13:23 AM
I wonder if the greed of the many multi millionaire preachers counts?

It counts a lot.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on May 02, 2013, 06:19:49 AM
Opting for a degree instead of giving all your money to a homeless person is not selfish. In order to help others, you must be in a state of being able to help. If you are looking at this purely from a charity standpoint, having a degree will enable you to give far more money to charity in the long-term than giving away all your money now. Therefore, if you associate altruism with charity (which is incorrect, but I'm assuming that was the gist of your comment), the altruistic thing to do would be to get the degree.

Personally, I am not particularly interested in the "egoism v altruism" debate, because I think they are oversimplifications and obfuscations. The real issue is what ethical principles we should adopt, and why. Self-interest and selfishness are not ethical principle, therefore they are not even under the purview of such a debate at all. Making the debate "egoism v altruism" is just a way to slip self-interest under the radar, when it doesn't even belong there. Altruism is also far too vague a term to deserve much attention, I think.

To me the issue is whether greed is virtuous. My answer is no, for reasons already mentioned. The fact that greed is not always selfish does not change that.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 02, 2013, 07:04:20 AM
In this thread (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24709.0.html), we're currently having a knock-down-drag-out fight in which one of the participants insists that greed is responsible for the majority of the world's ills.  I'm going to take the opposing stance and point out the many benefits that I received because I decided not to be content with the absolute minimum.

This is what I managed to accomplish in the last 20 years or so, when I came to My senses and started putting My own needs at the top of the heap rather than being a long-suffering helpmeet to people who didn't appreciate what I was doing for them anyway:

  • It all started when I dropped a volunteer bookkeeping gig and turned down overtime at work.  Reclaimed enough free time to pursue a business certificate at a local college  and graduated with GPA of 4.3.
  • Using the knowledge from the Sales and Marketing courses at the college, made successful application into an IT program a couple of years later.  Salary went up considerably.
  • The IT job gave Me the financial means to get safely out of a bad marriage and save up for a deposit on a new house.
  • Took driver's lessons and bought a car, rather than sticking with bus or foot travel.  In addition to making it easy to bring home groceries and cat litter, this facilitated music lessons and karate classes and enabled Me to take jobs that required a car.  (I also don't think I would have built the 25-foot-long dragon sculpture in My front yard without access to a car, either -- Kind of hard to carry bags of concrete on the bus.)
  • After quitting My most recent IT job because of health issues, I found work as a medical transcriptionist.  This was a part-time gig through a temp agency.  I went looking for a second part-time job in the field.  This opened doors, and I ended up with a full-time permanent job with another large pay hike and fantastic benefits, and for which I gladly left the original temp job.
TL;DR version:  Education, divorce, career opportunities, driving, big-@ss dragon sculpture, purple belt in Shotokan karate, playing music all over Southern Manitoba, and money -- More than enough to share or give away.

I think greed and selfishness get a bad rap because of a scarcity mentality -- The idea that somehow there isn't enough to go around, rather than lots for everyone.  I think the universe is more than big enough for the most grandiose dreams, and that it's better to pursue those dreams than play at being altruistic and resenting every moment.

Comments, please, and/or personal anecdotes on how greed has made *your* life better.

Self preservation and greed are two different things goddess. You have not took more than you need. Do you praise greed at the gas pumps, grocery stores.  You don't have a problem with inhumane labor practices so corps. can profit 50 billion $ instead of 20. Or those people that have died from cancer because of fracking for gas and blasting off mountain tops that leaves communities water sources poisoned with carcinogens. You go ahead and praise greed.  Praise the greed in government whose only interest is big corps. that fund their campaigns, go ahead. That way when God belief defeats it you atheist can take no credit in bettering your world.

Tell all those children that have died from greed related pollutions how you praise greed. Do you praise murder too, rape, pediphilia? At least those monstrosity affects only a few, while greed affects us all.  Better yet go tell the ones that are still alive and fighting for their little precious lives what a friend you are to their murderer.

While you're praising greed tell those children in third world countries I've seen so many pictures of here how great greed is, I have a feeling they will disagree with you. Tell the families that have lost their homes because greedy corps found cheaper labor overseas, mostly women and children working in substandard conditions.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jdawg70 on May 02, 2013, 09:04:09 AM
Self preservation and greed are two different things goddess. You have not took more than you need. Do you praise greed at the gas pumps, grocery stores.  You don't have a problem with inhumane labor practices so corps. can profit 50 billion $ instead of 20. Or those people that have died from cancer because of fracking for gas and blasting off mountain tops that leaves communities water sources poisoned with carcinogens. You go ahead and praise greed.  Praise the greed in government whose only interest is big corps. that fund their campaigns, go ahead. That way when God belief defeats it you atheist can take no credit in bettering your world.
What are the differences between self-preservation and greed?  Is it strictly a difference in magnitude, or are there other distinguishing characteristics?
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Tell all those children that have died from greed related pollutions how you praise greed. Do you praise murder too, rape, pediphilia? At least those monstrosity affects only a few, while greed affects us all.  Better yet go tell the ones that are still alive and fighting for their little precious lives what a friend you are to their murderer.

While you're praising greed tell those children in third world countries I've seen so many pictures of here how great greed is, I have a feeling they will disagree with you. Tell the families that have lost their homes because greedy corps found cheaper labor overseas, mostly women and children working in substandard conditions.
After I tell the family that they can keep their home because the greedy corporation decided to not use the cheaper labor overseas, what do I tell the families that are now going to starve to death overseas because no one can get a job?  That the greedy Americans and Europeans want to horde all of the jobs?  Problems are not always so cut'n'dry as to have but one fundamental cause.

edit: fixed conjugation issues
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Astreja on May 02, 2013, 12:55:11 PM
Self preservation and greed are two different things goddess. You have not took more than you need.

Oh, yes I have!   I have a larder well stocked with spices.  I own more than one computer.  I have an E-book.  I buy chocolate bars on a regular basis.  I eat fast food.  I spend $30.00/hour on weekly music lessons with a private instructor.  I like to have a good bottle of whisky in the liquor cabinet.  These are not things that I "need" -- These are things that I want.

As for your ham-handed slander of My character, Junebug,  I'm tempted to outright sue you for literally everything you own for insinuating that I would be "a friend to a murderer."

You have 24 hours to post an unqualified apology in this thread.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Irish on May 02, 2013, 04:03:41 PM
Greed and selfishness have so far got me a college degree and a spot in a professional school for my dream career simply because I want it for myself and not because I want it for someone else or someone wants it for me.

No, you got them because of long-term planning.

Yeah, I got them by the selfish and long-term planning to better my life.  Some things in life take planning and concerted effort and it is responsible people that can do so.

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People who only think of themselves, like sociopaths, usually don't care about any sort of long-term planning, unless they are weakly sociopathic.

I disagree.  Responsible and reasonable individuals who seek to better their life through education or finding a better job must do it in a long-term plan.  It takes effort, reason, and planning to achieve things that a person wants out of life. 

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Long-term planning is what's important, and the necessities of long-term planning lead to the necessity of ethics- treating other people well in order to prevent conflicts- which is altruism, not selfishness.

Treating other people well is benevolence, not altruism, and a selfish person can be both selfish and benevolent.  Altruism is the sacrifice or devotion to others instead of yourself.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Irish on May 02, 2013, 04:50:28 PM
I have to respond.

[Calmly Irish]

You have not took more than you need.

She stated she has taken more than she needs and I cannot fault her for living her life the way she wants.  In fact I congratulate her.  Having ample luxuries in your life is not a fault or a vice nor is the effort it takes to achieve those things.

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Do you praise greed at the gas pumps, grocery stores.

I recognize the ideal that a company can charge me whatever price they want for their product.[1]  I also recognize, and so does the company, that I don't have to pay that company for their product.

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You don't have a problem with inhumane labor practices

Astreja never said that.  I'm sure she would have problems with inhumane labor practices and human rights violations.  Being selfish doesn't mean you're automatically an immoral brute.

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You don't have a problem with inhuman labor practices so corps. can profit 50 billion $ instead of 20.

If it's through inhumane labor practices then it's a problem.  If a company simply nets $30 billion in extra profit I call that good business.  It would be immoral to tell a company however large or small how much profit they can and cannot make.  Similarly it would be immoral to tell a man how much profit he can or cannot make from his job.

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Or those people that have died from cancer because of fracking for gas and blasting off mountain tops that leaves communities water sources poisoned with carcinogens.

Uhh... what?

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Do you praise murder too, rape, pediphilia?

This is one of those back-handed ad hominem thingies I smited you for.  A person who is selfish is just that: selfish.  It means they have high self-esteem for their self and does not mean they praise murder, rape, or pediphilia [sic].  Sheesh.

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Better yet go tell the ones that are still alive and fighting for their little precious lives what a friend you are to their murderer.

And this is one of those blatant ad hominem thingies I smited you for.

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Tell the families that have lost their homes because greedy corps found cheaper labor overseas, mostly women and children working in substandard conditions.

If it's a matter of sweat shops and inhumane conditions, yeah they're bad.  That's not an issue for me.  Finding cheaper labor for making your product is just good business, if it's of equal quality.  If you were a business person you would want to make the best product for the lowest cost.  If you could make the same product for less cost you would take it.  Why make Product A for 20x cost when you could make Product A for 10x cost?
 1. For the sake of it I'm ignoring anti-trust laws
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jaimehlers on May 02, 2013, 04:52:04 PM
Let me see if I can't illustrate this in a way junebug can understand.  She said (in another thread) that belief was not a bad thing, and I pointed out that it was also not a good thing.  Belief is a neutral thing - something that can be either good or bad depending on the nature of the believer.

Greed is much the same.  It is neither good nor bad in and of itself; it is neutral.  What effects it has, if any, depend on the character of the person exercising it.  So, Astreja, being basically good, does not do bad things in the name of greed.  Whereas a sleazy lawyer or a crooked politician or a drug dealer or whatever, do do bad things because of their greed.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: magicmiles on May 02, 2013, 05:09:32 PM
If it's a matter of sweat shops and inhumane conditions, yeah they're bad.  That's not an issue for me.  Finding cheaper labor for making your product is just good business, if it's of equal quality.  If you were a business person you would want to make the best product for the lowest cost.  If you could make the same product for less cost you would take it.  Why make Product A for 20x cost when you could make Product A for 10x cost?

I'd be interested in your thoughts on this piece:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/howardhusock/2013/05/02/the-bangladesh-fire-and-corporate-social-responsibility/
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Astreja on May 02, 2013, 05:36:02 PM
So, Astreja, being basically good, does not do bad things in the name of greed.

Thanks; I needed to hear that.  I'm still pretty upset about Junebug tossing a stinkbomb into the conversation.

On the subject of sweatshops and the tragedy in Bangladesh, I regularly shop at a retailer that carries one of the lines implicated in the tragedy.  I was never a fan of the cheap soft goods in that part of the store, but now I get the creeps just walking in close proximity to that stuff.

Interesting Forbes article, too -- My takeaway was something I hadn't previously expected would be a problem:  We can try for standards enforcement overseas,  and even subsidize safety and health upgrades, but at the end of the day we have to consider the possibility that the home government could deliberately impede our efforts in the name of global competitiveness.  Without a dependable, non-corrupt and transparent system of oversight, I don't think we're going to make major inroads on the sweatshop problem any time soon.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Irish on May 02, 2013, 05:39:52 PM
Let me see if I can't illustrate this in a way junebug can understand.  She said (in another thread) that belief was not a bad thing, and I pointed out that it was also not a good thing.  Belief is a neutral thing - something that can be either good or bad depending on the nature of the believer.

Greed is much the same.  It is neither good nor bad in and of itself; it is neutral.  What effects it has, if any, depend on the character of the person exercising it.  So, Astreja, being basically good, does not do bad things in the name of greed.  Whereas a sleazy lawyer or a crooked politician or a drug dealer or whatever, do do bad things because of their greed.

I completely agree.  Being selfish and looking after your own self-interest is not necessarily a bad thing.  It's what you find in your self-interest to be a good or bad thing.  If in the name of your self-interest you lie, cheat, steal, etc. it's immoral to do so; not by it being in your self-interest but what constitutes that self-interest.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on May 02, 2013, 06:13:47 PM
Irish, I wish there was a way to put people on ignore. Seriously, you're gonna defend sweatshop labor as an economic calculation? Seriously?

Thank you for being a great argument against greed... Which is just typical. I find that always the best argument against selfishness is the callousness of its followers (e.g. Randians, New Age nuts, "positive thinking" wonks, and of course religion).
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Irish on May 02, 2013, 06:24:17 PM
If it's a matter of sweat shops and inhumane conditions, yeah they're bad.  That's not an issue for me.  Finding cheaper labor for making your product is just good business, if it's of equal quality.  If you were a business person you would want to make the best product for the lowest cost.  If you could make the same product for less cost you would take it.  Why make Product A for 20x cost when you could make Product A for 10x cost?

I'd be interested in your thoughts on this piece:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/howardhusock/2013/05/02/the-bangladesh-fire-and-corporate-social-responsibility/

Sure.  Give me some time to read it.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Irish on May 02, 2013, 06:26:43 PM
Irish, I wish there was a way to put people on ignore. Seriously, you're gonna defend sweatshop labor as an economic calculation? Seriously?

When and where did I defend sweatshop labor?  I specifically said:

Quote
If it's a matter of sweat shops and inhumane conditions, yeah they're bad.

Doesn't really look like I'm supporting sweatshop labor, does it?

As far as the "economic calculation" goes it applies to any business to make the highest quality product for the lowest costs.  That statement doesn't endorse the company to mercilessly employ children in sweat shops to make their product.  It's just a statement of good business practices.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Jag on May 02, 2013, 07:00:05 PM
Irish, I wish there was a way to put people on ignore. Seriously, you're gonna defend sweatshop labor as an economic calculation? Seriously?

Thank you for being a great argument against greed... Which is just typical. I find that always the best argument against selfishness is the callousness of its followers (e.g. Randians, New Age nuts, "positive thinking" wonks, and of course religion).

I read the same post you did and got a completely different point out of it.

Irish explained only the business economics, using the examples provided by junebug. He didn't pull then out of thin air to make a callous point, he made a business economics point using the examples junebug used in the first place.

It wasn't a moral position, it was an economic observation, and a valid one.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on May 02, 2013, 09:21:54 PM
As far as the "economic calculation" goes it applies to any business to make the highest quality product for the lowest costs.  That statement doesn't endorse the company to mercilessly employ children in sweat shops to make their product.

The way to "make the highest quality product for the lowest costs" under neo-liberalism is to find the place in the world where you can produce the cheapest, and those places produce the cheapest because they have the worst labor laws. So your two statements directly contradict each other.

Greed kills. We just export the murder and maiming to TW countries. The fact that we are busy exporting our misery is the only reason why you and people like you on this thread can gloat about being "egoists." Hard to be an Ayn-Rand-thumping hyper-individualistic egoist when you're being worked like a dog, an outright labor slave, or being a TW farmer subjected to backbreaking labor so you can feed your family.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: kcrady on May 02, 2013, 09:25:03 PM
I'm not really sure I'd call the self-interested actions of posters here "greed."  Astreja taking a martial arts class doesn't seem to be the same sort of thing as a hedge fund operator pillaging people's pension funds and stashing the loot from multi-million dollar bonuses and stock options in the Caymans so they don't have to pay tax on it.  Astreja's examples mostly involve acquiring things she can use and enjoy, or things that enhance Her creative and personal potential in some way.  By their nature, those sorts of things will end up benefiting the people around Her anyway.  People who drive past Her house will see the giant dragon sculpture and receive the gift of its whimsy and beauty (Astreja: pics please? *puppy-dog eyes*).  The music classes may result in jam sessions with friends, or informal performances, or maybe even a musical career and global popularity for Her music.  Even if She only plays for Herself, She's still creating beauty.  Now consider a more extreme example than Astreja: Elon Musk.  Here's a guy with billions, who's using his money to build his own freaking space program!

I think that "greed-as-a-vice" emerges when the pursuit of "more" becomes less about self-improvement and doing cool things, and more about the competition for status and power.  The person who builds a hundred-bedroom mansion to impress the person who built a 90-bedroom mansion to impress them.  The person who wears a $2 million watch that doesn't look or tell time much better than a $200.00 Seiko, simply because it's a $2 million watch that inferior people can't afford.  The person who never gets to know their children because all their time goes into making more money, more money, more money.  The person who has millions or billions, and uses it to jigger the political process to concentrate yet more money and power into the hands of people like themselves.

Astreja's "greed" is mostly positive-sum.  My guess is that chances are pretty good that Her bottle of aged whiskey will be shared with a significant other and/or friends, simply because that's more fun than drinking alone.  Even if She does just keep it to Herself, no one else is hurt by it (I'm assuming She'll drink responsibly :) ).  Greed in pursuit of status and power on the other hand, is inherently zero-sum, or even negative-sum in the case of an Ebenezer Scrooge type whose obsession with wealth and power consumes them to the point that they'd actually be happier if they quit and joined a hippie commune.  A person can only enjoy superior status and power if other people are reduced in status and power relative to him/her.  If resources and energy are abundant, the status-competitor can only win if they can hoard enough to make them scarce for others.  If everyone can afford a solid-gold bathtub, the status-competitor doesn't win by having one.

I think greed and selfishness get a bad rap because of a scarcity mentality -- The idea that somehow there isn't enough to go around, rather than lots for everyone.  I think the universe is more than big enough for the most grandiose dreams, and that it's better to pursue those dreams than play at being altruistic and resenting every moment.

As much as I wish this was true, we don't have access to the universe.  In terms of practically-accessible resources and energy at scale, we are limited to those of one little planet.  The cheap, easily-accessible, high-EROEI[1] fossil fuels that made the lion's share of our current material abundance possible are starting to run short, along with other key resources like wild ocean fish, topsoil, and fresh water aquifers.  It's mathematically impossible to maintain permanent exponential economic growth on a finite planet.  So, I think it is for all practical intents and purposes certain that the problems of scarcity (not to mention climate change) will increase in the future.
 1. Energy Return On Energy Invested
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Astreja on May 02, 2013, 11:35:45 PM
People who drive past Her house will see the giant dragon sculpture and receive the gift of its whimsy and beauty (Astreja: pics please? *puppy-dog eyes*).

Ecce draco!
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Ra_ADAsG3HA/UYM8rXqQBCI/AAAAAAAAAn0/lxBGbFN-N_w/s800/Astreja%2520and%2520George.jpg)

Quote
The music classes may result in jam sessions with friends, or informal performances, or maybe even a musical career and global popularity for Her music.

Well, I'm getting there.  I regularly play 2nd or 3rd clarinet with several Winnipeg-based community concert bands (and keyboards for one of them as well), and we perform at festivals, seniors' homes and benefit concerts for various charities.

And the closest I ever get to drinking irresponsibly is PWI (Posting While Intoxicated).
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: kcrady on May 03, 2013, 12:12:23 AM
^That.  Is.  Awesome! 
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Anfauglir on May 03, 2013, 03:37:17 AM
Opting for a degree instead of giving all your money to a homeless person is not selfish......

I DID have a point when I started that post, but even before I got to the end I forgot where I was going with it - still can't remember!  It was something about a sliding scale between getting a degree entirely to help others, across to getting a degree entirely for yourself, but I can't recall now.

- - - - -

We've mentioned corporations and governments using "greed" to acheive greater profits at the expense of third world workers.  But by implication, that means almost everyone on the planet is likewise implicated.  Company A who makes sweatshirts at a huge profit off the backs of sweatshop workers will NOT continue to make those profits if everyone else says "nope - not buying from you".

Any yet, that doesn't happen - at least not usually in large enough numbers to make a difference.  A lot of the time, its because not enough people are prepared to say "I will pay twice the price for an ethically produced item".  Now if they are buying basic foodstuffs and nothing more, at the limits of their budget, then fine.  But a new sweatshirt?  There are vast amounts of clothing available in charity shops, or that we can trade second hand, but waaay too many people don't.  You don't NEED a sweatshirt that is new and in just the right colour.  A second hand one that's a different colour, with the logo of a sports team you don't care about, will keep you just as warm.

I would define "greed" as buying the new unnecessary item when you could pay less (and give away the excess) for an old one that doesn't quite tick all your taste buds.  But very few of us do.  None, I would guess, do it all the time (we all have PCs, I'm guessing - necessary?  Or something we could do without?)

Point being, we ALL have some level of greed, and we seem to have agreed that a "certain level" of greed is acceptable.  I'd be interested to know what the actual dollar value of that level is.  100 bedroom mansion - too greedy!  I live in a 4-bed house, where three rooms are slept in......too greedy?  Just a bit greedy?

It seems that the definition of "too greedy" tends too often to be "someone who has more than I do" (and heck, I've been guilty of that a time or three), which is why I would be interested to see if we can agree on a specific value.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on May 03, 2013, 04:19:48 AM
We've mentioned corporations and governments using "greed" to acheive greater profits at the expense of third world workers.  But by implication, that means almost everyone on the planet is likewise implicated.
That is correct. Everyone who lives in a Western society that benefits from neo-liberalism is implicated in this system of misery-exportation. You and I are living on the backs of other people's suffering.

Quote
Any yet, that doesn't happen - at least not usually in large enough numbers to make a difference.
You seem to be confusing responsibility with feeling responsible. Responsibility is a fact, feeling responsible is an emotional response which may or may not result from actual responsibility. Some people just don't care.

Quote
Point being, we ALL have some level of greed, and we seem to have agreed that a "certain level" of greed is acceptable.
No, I have never agreed to any such thing. I have stated that my position is that greed is wrong, regardless of its end result. More exactly, greed for material resources, which is what we usually understand as greed.

Some people have made the case that we are not greedy enough for non-material benefits (such as compassion and dignity), and that greed applied across the board would be extremely beneficial to all societies. But I don't think that's what we're talking about here. We are merely talking about wealth and my-car-must-be-bigger-than-yours syndrome. I see nothing beneficial about that.

Do you really think that the runaway consumption program we're on, capitalism, neo-liberalism, consumeurism, "economic growth," call it what you want, that's depleting our planet's resources, is a good thing? Come on now. We're hurtling towards a brick wall and you people are busy cheering for the color you want to pain the wagon.

People here seem to believe there is a difference between personal greed ("just looking out for number one!" as if that explained anything) and institutionalized greed. But the former fuels the latter. Without everyone's petty desire to own a car, the car industry wouldn't survive, etc etc.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 03, 2013, 06:40:15 AM
Self Interest is awesome! You just have to know what's in your best interest.

Is a strong successful society not in everybody's best interest? You know one w/o violence.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 03, 2013, 06:44:46 AM
Opting for a degree instead of giving all your money to a homeless person is not selfish. In order to help others, you must be in a state of being able to help. If you are looking at this purely from a charity standpoint, having a degree will enable you to give far more money to charity in the long-term than giving away all your money now. Therefore, if you associate altruism with charity (which is incorrect, but I'm assuming that was the gist of your comment), the altruistic thing to do would be to get the degree.

Personally, I am not particularly interested in the "egoism v altruism" debate, because I think they are oversimplifications and obfuscations. The real issue is what ethical principles we should adopt, and why. Self-interest and selfishness are not ethical principle, therefore they are not even under the purview of such a debate at all. Making the debate "egoism v altruism" is just a way to slip self-interest under the radar, when it doesn't even belong there. Altruism is also far too vague a term to deserve much attention, I think.

To me the issue is whether greed is virtuous. My answer is no, for reasons already mentioned. The fact that greed is not always selfish does not change that.

It also lessens your chances of becoming poverty stricken. 
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 03, 2013, 06:53:47 AM
Self preservation and greed are two different things goddess. You have not took more than you need.

Oh, yes I have!   I have a larder well stocked with spices.  I own more than one computer.  I have an E-book.  I buy chocolate bars on a regular basis.  I eat fast food.  I spend $30.00/hour on weekly music lessons with a private instructor.  I like to have a good bottle of whisky in the liquor cabinet.  These are not things that I "need" -- These are things that I want.

As for your ham-handed slander of My character, Junebug,  I'm tempted to outright sue you for literally everything you own for insinuating that I would be "a friend to a murderer."

You have 24 hours to post an unqualified apology in this thread.

Greed is a murderer I will not apologize.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Astreja on May 03, 2013, 08:01:16 AM
Greed is a murderer I will not apologize.

Reported for slander.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jdawg70 on May 03, 2013, 08:34:24 AM
I DID have a point when I started that post, but even before I got to the end I forgot where I was going with it - still can't remember!  It was something about a sliding scale between getting a degree entirely to help others, across to getting a degree entirely for yourself, but I can't recall now.

- - - - -

We've mentioned corporations and governments using "greed" to acheive greater profits at the expense of third world workers.  But by implication, that means almost everyone on the planet is likewise implicated.  Company A who makes sweatshirts at a huge profit off the backs of sweatshop workers will NOT continue to make those profits if everyone else says "nope - not buying from you".

Any yet, that doesn't happen - at least not usually in large enough numbers to make a difference.  A lot of the time, its because not enough people are prepared to say "I will pay twice the price for an ethically produced item".  Now if they are buying basic foodstuffs and nothing more, at the limits of their budget, then fine.  But a new sweatshirt?  There are vast amounts of clothing available in charity shops, or that we can trade second hand, but waaay too many people don't.  You don't NEED a sweatshirt that is new and in just the right colour.  A second hand one that's a different colour, with the logo of a sports team you don't care about, will keep you just as warm.

I would define "greed" as buying the new unnecessary item when you could pay less (and give away the excess) for an old one that doesn't quite tick all your taste buds.  But very few of us do.  None, I would guess, do it all the time (we all have PCs, I'm guessing - necessary?  Or something we could do without?)

Point being, we ALL have some level of greed, and we seem to have agreed that a "certain level" of greed is acceptable.  I'd be interested to know what the actual dollar value of that level is.  100 bedroom mansion - too greedy!  I live in a 4-bed house, where three rooms are slept in......too greedy?  Just a bit greedy?

It seems that the definition of "too greedy" tends too often to be "someone who has more than I do" (and heck, I've been guilty of that a time or three), which is why I would be interested to see if we can agree on a specific value.
Well, from that, I think a workable definition of the word 'greed' in this context could be:
The desire and/or acquisition of any potentially limited resource either without due consideration for consequences to others or in spite of negative consequences to others.

I propose that definition because from Astreja's original post, I didn't perceive anything that I would label as greed.  I think, by and large, people associate a negative connotation to greed, and it's because when they think of 'greed' they are thinking of something similar to what I defined.

Is that definition invalid or not useful in any way?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Jag on May 03, 2013, 08:37:32 AM
Greed is a murderer I will not apologize.

And this is why no conversation with you is getting anywhere. You mistake thinking you know what you're talking about with actually knowing what you are talking about. You confuse opinion with fact, constantly.

Seriously jb, either your reading comprehension sucks or you are prone to ridiculous presuppositions. And like it or not, you are badly lacking in critical thinking skills - that's probably not your fault, most people have to be taught to think critically, myself among them.

You leap to completely unfounded conclusions and hold to them, despite them being created from thin air. You made some appalling accusations against Astreja because you assumed ridiculous things to be truthful that she never said - YOU were out of line, not Astreja.

The fact that you likely don't even understand why is the real issue here. This has nothing to do with you being a believer among atheists, this is due to your own sloppy thinking.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jaimehlers on May 03, 2013, 08:44:18 AM
http://www.ecotopia.com/webpress/stupidity/ (http://www.ecotopia.com/webpress/stupidity/)

screwtape posted this a while back in another thread, I think it can contribute to this discussion.

I believe junebug is complaining about bandits (people who cause harm to others in order to help themselves) when she talks about greed.  However, it is not bandits who are the real problem.  It is stupid people.  A society of perfect bandits would result in a stagnant society, but the point is it would be stagnant, not destructive.  It is stupid people - those who do more harm to others than they gain benefit from, or do harm while gaining no benefit at all, or even harm themselves in the process - who are the true bane of society.

I'll use Astreja again as an example.  She is not stupid, so she has figured out ways to use her greed to benefit herself while minimizing or even eliminating the harm she does to others.  Compare that to a sweatshop owner who uses children as workers, who can potentially do great harm to them while not gaining even an equivalent benefit to the harm he does.  I would consider such a person to be at least somewhat stupid, because they are causing a lot of harm for a relatively paltry benefit.

It is not greed itself which junebug is complaining about.  It is stupid greed, because it causes more harm than the benefits it gives.  Intelligent greed, by comparison, is a good thing, because it maximizes benefits while minimizing harm, and it is that which Astreja is praising in this thread, I think.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Jag on May 03, 2013, 08:52:15 AM
Grow, raise. harvest, and/or produce your own food supply.
Harvest seeds (and critters if you consume meat) from nature to do the above.
Go everywhere on foot - unless you can provide a mechanical method of transportation that doesn't require the purchase of any material or a fuel source that cannot be produced by you alone.
Raise cotton or sheep (or similar) to produce fiber to spin into thread, to make into fabric to create your own clothing.
Grow and harvest lumber (or other material) to build your own shelter, again, seeded from nature, not a catalog, internet or store.

Anyone not doing all of the above, just to name a few, is contributing to the problem of greed as it's being defined and presented by junebug and Heirophant.

See how foolish this can get? Are you both hypocrites? I'm assuming you don't already do all the above, am I right?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Jag on May 03, 2013, 08:55:20 AM
It is not greed itself which junebug is complaining about.  It is stupid greed, because it causes more harm than the benefits it gives.

If she can ever learn to draw that distinction for herself, we may be able to have productive conversation with her. Her refusal to stop issuing blanket assertions without any qualifiers whatsoever is problematic.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Anfauglir on May 03, 2013, 08:56:56 AM
Well, from that, I think a workable definition of the word 'greed' in this context could be:
The desire and/or acquisition of any potentially limited resource either without due consideration for consequences to others or in spite of negative consequences to others.

I propose that definition because from Astreja's original post, I didn't perceive anything that I would label as greed.  I think, by and large, people associate a negative connotation to greed, and it's because when they think of 'greed' they are thinking of something similar to what I defined.

Is that definition invalid or not useful in any way?

Hmm.  It approaches it - but suppose I said that my wife was a limited resource?  There's only one of her, after all, and I can say pretty definitely that when I was courting her (to use the quaint expression), the last thing I was considering was whether I would upset anyone else if I "grabbed her for myself" (apologies for the expression!).  Was that greed on my part?  If so, then more praise greed!

Of course, partners on the whole may not be limited (and she'd quite rightly thump me for called her a "resource".....), but you see my point?

If we restricted it to "material possessions" that might work better.....but if I'm bidding on ebay for a limited edition collector's whatever......there's limited numbers of those, and I can't recall ever stopping bidding just in case the other guy wants it for his dying child, or whatever.  So am I "greedy" in that situation as well?

Restricting the definition to "more than you NEED" is problematical as well, as I've said.  We NEED very little.

I'm just saying that its hard to define "greed".  We all pretty much know what it means, but it can be surprisingly hard to put into words, at least in my opinion.  Maybe I'm just greedy though?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jdawg70 on May 03, 2013, 09:16:48 AM
Well, from that, I think a workable definition of the word 'greed' in this context could be:
The desire and/or acquisition of any potentially limited resource either without due consideration for consequences to others or in spite of negative consequences to others.

I propose that definition because from Astreja's original post, I didn't perceive anything that I would label as greed.  I think, by and large, people associate a negative connotation to greed, and it's because when they think of 'greed' they are thinking of something similar to what I defined.

Is that definition invalid or not useful in any way?

Hmm.  It approaches it - but suppose I said that my wife was a limited resource?  There's only one of her, after all, and I can say pretty definitely that when I was courting her (to use the quaint expression), the last thing I was considering was whether I would upset anyone else if I "grabbed her for myself" (apologies for the expression!).  Was that greed on my part?  If so, then more praise greed!
Put like that, then with this above definition, I think you're right that your courtship could have been considered greedy.  The weakness of my proposed definition in this case is seems to be a result of the 'due consideration' and 'negative consequences to others' clause.  Those are both poorly defined and lead necessarily to subjective interpretation.
Quote
Of course, partners on the whole may not be limited (and she'd quite rightly thump me for called her a "resource".....), but you see my point?

If we restricted it to "material possessions" that might work better.....but if I'm bidding on ebay for a limited edition collector's whatever......there's limited numbers of those, and I can't recall ever stopping bidding just in case the other guy wants it for his dying child, or whatever.  So am I "greedy" in that situation as well?
I think modifying the definition to incorporate something to the effect of 'reasonable due diligence' would make this case less ambiguous.  I'm unconvinced that would help reduce the ambiguity of 'greed' in your first point though.  I'll have to think that one through more.
Quote
Restricting the definition to "more than you NEED" is problematical as well, as I've said.  We NEED very little.

I'm just saying that its hard to define "greed".  We all pretty much know what it means, but it can be surprisingly hard to put into words, at least in my opinion.  Maybe I'm just greedy though?
Agreed - a proper definition of 'greed', like any other wholesale word intended to describe some aspect of human behavior, is elusive.  And restricting it to 'more than you need' suffers from the same ambiguity as the word 'need' has.  'Need' is an insufficient metric to make a categorical evaluation of 'greed' vs. 'not greed'.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 03, 2013, 09:17:01 AM
Greed is a murderer I will not apologize.

Reported for slander.

You praise greed it is not slander. You did not say that the greed that causes so much pain and suffering was exempt of your praise and until you do you are embracing a monster.  I have watched picture after picture of dead children stroll across my screen, so yes I'm quite disturbed when someones praises the very cause of those unnecessary tragedies.

You tell me that you don't praise greed and I'll take it back.

Greed is a murderer I will not apologize.

And this is why no conversation with you is getting anywhere. You mistake thinking you know what you're talking about with actually knowing what you are talking about. You confuse opinion with fact, constantly.

Seriously jb, either your reading comprehension sucks or you are prone to ridiculous presuppositions. And like it or not, you are badly lacking in critical thinking skills - that's probably not your fault, most people have to be taught to think critically, myself among them.

You leap to completely unfounded conclusions and hold to them, despite them being created from thin air. You made some appalling accusations against Astreja because you assumed ridiculous things to be truthful that she never said - YOU were out of line, not Astreja.

The fact that you likely don't even understand why is the real issue here. This has nothing to do with you being a believer among atheists, this is due to your own sloppy thinking.

No the facts are there you people just won't look at them. My thinking skills work just fine. You can not praise little greed w/o praising "big" greed unless you distinguish the two.  No distinction was made.

Believe it or not Jag I scored the highest on reading comprehension, score= mastered!  Astre can play the "devil's advocate" but don't be so whiny when people get in your face about it.  I just wanted to show how terrible it sounds to say "I Praise Greed."  That statement means a lot more than just her own personal experience it's a widespread epidemic that kills.

Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Jag on May 03, 2013, 09:21:12 AM
^^^And with that, I rest my case.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 03, 2013, 09:35:04 AM
Grow, raise. harvest, and/or produce your own food supply.
Harvest seeds (and critters if you consume meat) from nature to do the above.
Go everywhere on foot - unless you can provide a mechanical method of transportation that doesn't require the purchase of any material or a fuel source that cannot be produced by you alone.
Raise cotton or sheep (or similar) to produce fiber to spin into thread, to make into fabric to create your own clothing.
Grow and harvest lumber (or other material) to build your own shelter, again, seeded from nature, not a catalog, internet or store.

Anyone not doing all of the above, just to name a few, is contributing to the problem of greed as it's being defined and presented by junebug and Heirophant.

See how foolish this can get? Are you both hypocrites? I'm assuming you don't already do all the above, am I right?

Isn't it like that video MM posted? We were all brought up to participate in the game. Handing down generation after generation, etc.. I want to hand down something better to mine.  We inherited this lifestyle and try to be productive citizens as we were taught.  I had no idea what I was cooperating with. 

I don't think we need to go to that extreme, I'm happy for people that make successful lives for themselves, but somewhere somehow you have to realise that w/o others there is no success.

Where greed really gets ugly is when politicians take money and pass laws that are not in the best interest of "we the people."  That is why it's so bad right now. It is interfering with democracy.

Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Graybeard on May 03, 2013, 09:43:10 AM
Where greed really gets ugly is when politicians take money and pass laws that are not in the best interest of "we the people."  That is why it's so bad right now. It is interfering with democracy.
You seem to be very vague here about "best interests" Do you mean, "my personal interests"? And "we the people" (i.e. the Tea Party) were defeated at the last presidential election so, the majority of the people were quite happy.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Graybeard on May 03, 2013, 09:51:53 AM
The mods have had a complaint about accusations of murder. However, I note the tone of this post was set in the first post:
Quote
In this thread, we're currently having a knock-down-drag-out fight in which one of the participants insists that greed is responsible for the majority of the world's ills.  I'm going to take the opposing stance and point out the many benefits that I received because I decided not to be content with the absolute minimum.

I judge that the “knock-down-drag-out fight” has continued in this thread and that everyone is aware of that.

I note also that Astrja says, “going to take the opposing stance” I think she must mean “going to take the an opposing stance as she does not seem to be complaining that unlimited greed never hurt anyone ever, at all.

Rather than jump up and down about who murdered whom, I suggest we forget the accusations, reassess and calm down a little, perhaps to the level of a "knock-down-drag-out fight" : )

Many thanks GB Mod.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Jag on May 03, 2013, 10:08:17 AM
Where greed really gets ugly is when politicians take money and pass laws that are not in the best interest of "we the people."  That is why it's so bad right now. It is interfering with democracy.

Ok, jb, keep doing what you just did in this post. You clarified your original position to more accurately identify the point you are trying to make. With that tiny little correction, you have now done what we have been asking you to do from the very beginning - SAY what you MEAN, and be willing to clarify or adapt your position when challenged about it's accuracy.

You've been making sweeping generalizations for weeks and refusing to alter your words to more accurately explain your actual opinion - this is the basis of every dispute you're currently involved in, to some extent.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jaimehlers on May 03, 2013, 10:10:47 AM
You praise greed it is not slander. You did not say that the greed that causes so much pain and suffering was exempt of your praise and until you do you are embracing a monster.  I have watched picture after picture of dead children stroll across my screen, so yes I'm quite disturbed when someones praises the very cause of those unnecessary tragedies.

You tell me that you don't praise greed and I'll take it back.
Get off of your high horse already.  Things like greed and belief are not black and white, good and bad.  They simply are.  It's what people do with them that matters, not simply their mere existence.

Do we say that a knife or gun is a murderer, or do we say that the person using it is the murderer?  By claiming that "greed is a murderer", you're absolving the people who actually act on their greed in stupid, harmful ways of responsibility for their actions.

Quote from: junebug72
No the facts are there you people just won't look at them. My thinking skills work just fine. You can not praise little greed w/o praising "big" greed unless you distinguish the two.  No distinction was made.
Astreja's very post made that distinction.  Your mistake was in assuming that if she was praising some forms of greed, she must necessarily be praising all forms of it.  Because of that assumption, you made an accusation which was uncalled for, to say the very least.

Quote from: junebug72
Believe it or not Jag I scored the highest on reading comprehension, score= mastered!  Astre can play the "devil's advocate" but don't be so whiny when people get in your face about it.  I just wanted to show how terrible it sounds to say "I Praise Greed."  That statement means a lot more than just her own personal experience it's a widespread epidemic that kills.
She wasn't playing a devil's advocate.  She was pointing out that greed is not necessarily bad, just as you were pointing out in the other thread that belief was not necessarily bad.  And you totally missed it.  You were too busy lecturing her about how bad she was for daring to point out that there are positive ways to use greed to notice that you made a donkey of yourself doing so, because you jumped to conclusions.  Not even particularly sensible conclusions, just "how dare you say anything good about greed without excluding every form of it which I think is bad!"

Greed is not an epidemic.  It is not a disease.  It is simply an impulse that drives people to do things.  And like every other impulse, it's what a person does with it that matters, not the mere fact that they have it or act on it.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Astreja on May 03, 2013, 10:16:10 AM
I have watched picture after picture of dead children stroll across my screen...

Strolling across your screen?  What Linux distribution are you running on your computer, Junebug?

Because, y'know, it would be somewhat morally conflicting to be running Microsoft Windows and contributing to the wealth of Bill Gates... Even though he contributes billions of dollars to worthy causes worldwide.   ;)

And, of course, greed has to be a black-or-white issue, because colours and shades of grey are just some nasty myth that someone made up to confuse us.  Either we're living out of a used cardboard box with one set of clothes (washed with ecologically-sound soap, of course) and eating a steady diet of rice and beans and oatmeal, or we're The Enemy.

Rather than jump up and down about who murdered whom, I suggest we forget the accusations, reassess and calm down a little, perhaps to the level of a "knock-down-drag-out fight" : )

Right; I'm on it.

Although I now have the wedding scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail stuck in My head...  ;D
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jdawg70 on May 03, 2013, 03:49:40 PM
Strolling across your screen?  What Linux distribution are you running on your computer, Junebug?
I imagine dead.kid.linux would not be a terribly popular distro.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: shnozzola on May 03, 2013, 04:22:03 PM
Hierophant,
   I am assuming this is what you are referring to-
Quote
Neo-liberalism includes:
1.   THE RULE OF THE MARKET. Liberating "free" enterprise or private enterprise from any bonds imposed by the government (the state) no matter how much social damage this causes. Greater openness to international trade and investment, as in NAFTA. Reduce wages by de-unionizing workers and eliminating workers' rights that had been won over many years of struggle. No more price controls. All in all, total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services. To convince us this is good for us, they say "an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth, which will ultimately benefit everyone." It's like Reagan's "supply-side" and "trickle-down" economics -- but somehow the wealth didn't trickle down very much.
2.   CUTTING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES like education and health care. REDUCING THE SAFETY-NET FOR THE POOR, and even maintenance of roads, bridges, water supply -- again in the name of reducing government's role. Of course, they don't oppose government subsidies and tax benefits for business.
3.   DEREGULATION. Reduce government regulation of everything that could diminsh profits, including protecting the environmentand safety on the job.
4.   PRIVATIZATION. Sell state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. This includes banks, key industries, railroads, toll highways, electricity, schools, hospitals and even fresh water. Although usually done in the name of greater efficiency, which is often needed, privatization has mainly had the effect of concentrating wealth even more in a few hands and making the public pay even more for its needs.
5.   ELIMINATING THE CONCEPT OF "THE PUBLIC GOOD" or "COMMUNITY" and replacing it with "individual responsibility." Pressuring the poorest people in a society to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social security all by themselves -- then blaming them, if they fail, as "lazy."

If that is what you are referring to, it sounds very "Reagonomic" to me, and I do not like it.  In fact, it sounds closer to Grover Norquist's utopia then anything liberal.   I am not too smart about economics, but it is interesting to me.     I do support the basic idea of the rule of market, but not to include social damage, the above type of privatization,  or deregulation.   I believe the center is a better place to be.  For example, I do not consider my desire to own a car as being petty.  I think I need the car.  But yours is a good voice to consider.

Do you think society prospers and survives in the long term by fighting our evolutionary survival mentality?

      I always think of walking into a forest, and noticing what plants (trees, mosses,  underbrush, etc. )  survive and /or thrive without any assistance or intervention .  That is a very natural way of long term existence. Capitalism of the forest, if you will.

Do you feel your own lifestyle is at odds with the argument you are presenting?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jaimehlers on May 03, 2013, 04:34:26 PM
Hoo boy...

http://www.newsofinterest.tv/neocon_globalist/neocon_neoliberal.php (http://www.newsofinterest.tv/neocon_globalist/neocon_neoliberal.php)

No wonder that economic roundup sounded suspiciously neoconservative to me.  And no wonder Republicans and Democrats have started to seem like clones of each other.  They're both following this "neocon globalist" philosophy; neoconservatism is basically military in outlook, and neoliberalism is basically economic in outlook, but they have the same goals.

At least, assuming the site I linked is accurate.  What they're saying makes sense, but I'm leery of taking it as gospel.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: shnozzola on May 03, 2013, 05:12:13 PM
Just seeing Paul Wolfowitz scares me.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on May 03, 2013, 05:49:20 PM
By neo-liberalism I am referring partially to what you listed, yes. This is what the global neo-liberal cabal (IMF, World Bank, US Government) try to impose on other countries (usually under the pretense of "loans"), and their own: the end result is always death and disaster. Millions of people around the world are thrown into poverty because their safety net has been disintegrated, and many people die.

The exportation of misery is another aspect of neo-liberalism. Finding countries where labour laws are few or non-existent, and milking the people for all they're worth, then moving on. Of course, both aspects work together: first you wreck a country's economy, then you exploit it.

Another aspect of neo-liberalism is the support of dictators and tyrannical actions on a global scale, including kidnapping and torture. I don't want to be accused of being a conspiracy theorist or something, but The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein is a good book to read on this topic if you don't know anything about these aspects.

Again, and I know people don't want to listen to what I'm saying about this, greed at a personal level is just a reflection of these policies at a world level. We live in a world of greed, and the consequence is widespread misery and death. It is believed (and I don't know to what extent this has been proven or not) that pollution is the #1 cause of death in the world. Another is suicides in sweatshops. This is just one example. Of course you people don't care as long as you get your car made and your computer made, even if it uses coerced labor or even slave labor. Your Microsoft mouse was made by these people (http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/04/17/article-1266643-092AF3A2000005DC-426_634x777.jpg). They are so exhausted that they sleep right on the assembly line. And you come on here and gloat that your greed is great. Of course it is easy to gloat about greed when you're not living like an animal.

Stop talking as if your greed doesn't affect anyone or anything else! What the fuck is it gonna take for you people to start listening to me? What? Should I start a juggling act? Or are you going to keep ignoring the consequences of your actions regardless?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jaimehlers on May 03, 2013, 06:05:29 PM
That's where you're wrong, Hierophant.  Greed at a personal level is not a reflection of those policies at a world level.

For example, I'm greedy about sweets (and to a lesser degree, food).  I eat too much food in general and eat far too much junk food and candy.  That doesn't mean that I would let my greed for them run rampant if I were in a position of power.  You know why?  Because I'm not stupid.  I don't make the mistake of assuming that what I want is the be-all end-all of existence.  And that means that I can discipline my greed to an acceptable level.

You don't seem to understand that.  From what I've seen, you're missing the distinction between the kind of stupid, destructive greed that you're complaining about, and the kind of intelligent, benevolent greed that improves things for people.  And worse, you don't seem to care that there is a difference - as far as you're concerned, greed is greed is greed.

Maybe instead of breathing fire about this and scorching anyone who doesn't agree with you, you should take the time to review your facts and present them calmly.  Who would you be more likely to listen to, someone who laid out the facts in a rational manner and stayed calm throughout, or someone who ranted and screamed at you because you didn't agree with them?  You're coming across as the second right now.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on May 03, 2013, 06:32:51 PM
For example, I'm greedy about sweets (and to a lesser degree, food).  I eat too much food in general and eat far too much junk food and candy.  That doesn't mean that I would let my greed for them run rampant if I were in a position of power.
When did I say anything about what you'd do in a position of power? That's completely irrelevant to the topic. For all I know, you are an angel in human form. So what? You are still part of a system of greed that exploits the marginalized in your society and people in the Third World to give you the lifestyle you live.

Quote
You don't seem to understand that.  From what I've seen, you're missing the distinction between the kind of stupid, destructive greed that you're complaining about, and the kind of intelligent, benevolent greed that improves things for people.
Because there is no such thing as "benevolent greed." Greed is the desire to accumulate resources beyond one's fair share. By definition greed means taking resources away from least fortunate or marginalized people. It may use intelligence in doing so, but it is not in itself intelligent. It is an unintelligent process which, on a world scale, is hurtling us towards the depletion of the planet's resources.

Quote
Maybe instead of breathing fire about this and scorching anyone who doesn't agree with you, you should take the time to review your facts and present them calmly.
I have presented my case calmly. I have explained to you why your personal greed, your lifestyle, is hurting us on a global scale (although it particularly hurts some people, it also hurts all of us), but you people aren't listening. You just act as if the world stops at your nose.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jaimehlers on May 03, 2013, 07:17:23 PM
When did I say anything about what you'd do in a position of power? That's completely irrelevant to the topic. For all I know, you are an angel in human form. So what? You are still part of a system of greed that exploits the marginalized in your society and people in the Third World to give you the lifestyle you live.
That's pretty well what you implied by saying, "greed at a personal level is a reflection of these policies at the world level".  You may not have intended it like that, but that's pretty much how it comes across.  Yes, the system is based on greed.  So what?  Not everything in this economic system is built on the exploitation of the marginalized dregs of society.  There is much that's good about it, and you're dismissing all of it as "greed".

Quote from: Hierophant
Because there is no such thing as "benevolent greed." Greed is the desire to accumulate resources beyond one's fair share. By definition greed means taking resources away from least fortunate or marginalized people. It may use intelligence in doing so, but it is not in itself intelligent. It is an unintelligent process which, on a world scale, is hurtling us towards the depletion of the planet's resources.
Actually, greed is not defined as taking resources away from those who are marginalized (that may be your definition, but you can't expect other people to just accept your redefinition of a word).  It's defined as a selfish desire for more than what you need.  But who defines what a person's need is?  I suppose you could define 'need' based on survival, but that excludes almost everything.  And as far as claiming that there's no such thing as benevolent greed, I have to disagree.  I don't think you can possibly have benevolence without selfishness, and that means that in order to be benevolent, you have to also be selfish.  And selfishness is greed - it's the desire for more than what you need, "me first and most".

Quote from: Hierophant
I have presented my case calmly. I have explained to you why your personal greed, your lifestyle, is hurting us on a global scale (although it particularly hurts some people, it also hurts all of us), but you people aren't listening. You just act as if the world stops at your nose.
If saying, "Stop talking as if your greed doesn't affect anyone or anything else! What the fuck is it gonna take for you people to start listening to me? What? Should I start a juggling act? Or are you going to keep ignoring the consequences of your actions regardless?" in bold text is your idea of being calm, I'd hate to see you upset.

By the way, where do you live?  Because its a little outrageous for you to lecture everyone here about lifestyles and such and how bad they are, when you most probably have a similar lifestyle.  For example, you clearly have regular Internet access, with all that implies.  You might come across a little more honestly if you didn't act like you weren't a part of the very problems you're complaining about.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Graybeard on May 03, 2013, 07:21:11 PM
I have presented my case calmly. I have explained to you why your personal greed, your lifestyle, is hurting us on a global scale (although it particularly hurts some people, it also hurts all of us), but you people aren't listening. You just act as if the world stops at your nose.

I think we have to be a little pragmatic and look at the wider picture. First of all the wealth of the world is finite and the distribution has, since the beginning of time, been uneven. I think we can deduce that a part of human nature is to want things; regardless of how much you have, you want things. We can’t escape this, the empirical evidence stares us in the face.

To protest about greed (which, it has been pointed out, is more-or-less indefinable) is to protest about the weather.

Someone once observed that if all the wealth of the world were distributed evenly, within a year it would be back to the same position as before.

I’m sure that nobody is suggesting that we could all live on $5 a day. Getting used to that would kill 30% of the world within a year and most of the deaths would be in the West. If we are worried about death by starvation and exposure, are we worried who it is or is it a principle? And how does a lack of wanting things help the total – it would seem to be a zero sum game.

Not to put too fine a point on it, some societies are far more advanced than others, and the causes of poverty are more linked to primitive and corrupt societies devoid of education, welfare, infrastructure, and honesty.

Today we are privileged to see ascendant economies in Brazil, China, India, Mongolia and have the chance to compare them with North and South Korea. We begin to have an idea as to why it is that some populations starve and others feed fillet steak to their dogs.

It is as if countries progress at different rates – there are places still in the Stone-Age whilst we are passing beyond the Space-Age. Take a place like Afghanistan – it is existing in a virtual 12th century. If we accept this, then there is little or nothing we can do to drag them through 8 centuries and turn them into a prosperous society; societal evolution will have to take its blind course.

Imagine that you are beyond Bill Gates wealthy. Where’s your money? It is invested. What are the investments doing? They should be creating more wealth. Now one way or another those investments are going to provide money for someone else. Or you could donate it, or get taxed on it. The actual percentages don’t matter because money is no good unless you spend it.

We are not awful people, we are not causing the deaths of millions, our consumption (on average) affects most people positively – the majority win.

Christianity preaches that this is a shit world filled with badness. They do this to make death seem appealing. To some it is, but again, it is a zero-sum game. The truth is that the world is the world and nature cares nothing for anything that is on it.

Our behaviour is just what it should be, otherwise it would be different. Unfortunately, like all creatures that consume, eventually we humans will die in our own waste and through lack of food and water, and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

As I said, "To protest about greed (which, it has been pointed out, is more-or-less indefinable) is to protest about the weather."
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on May 03, 2013, 07:36:56 PM
Quote
That's pretty well what you implied by saying, "greed at a personal level is a reflection of these policies at the world level".  You may not have intended it like that, but that's pretty much how it comes across.  Yes, the system is based on greed.  So what?
Then you are admitting that the disaster we're imposing on the world is based on greed.

Quote
Not everything in this economic system is built on the exploitation of the marginalized dregs of society.  There is much that's good about it, and you're dismissing all of it as "greed".
Yes, but the parts that are good about it, are the parts fighting the greed that is inherent in it!

Quote
Actually, greed is not defined as taking resources away from those who are marginalized (that may be your definition, but you can't expect other people to just accept your redefinition of a word).  It's defined as a selfish desire for more than what you need.
You just repeated the same thing. Taking more than you need does imply taking it away from the marginalized. Who else is it going to be taken from?

Quote
I don't think you can possibly have benevolence without selfishness
There is nothing benevolent about selfishness. And greed is not necessarily selfish, as I proved previously. But greed is still bad.

Quote
By the way, where do you live?  Because its a little outrageous for you to lecture everyone here about lifestyles and such and how bad they are, when you most probably have a similar lifestyle.  For example, you clearly have regular Internet access, with all that implies.  You might come across a little more honestly if you didn't act like you weren't a part of the very problems you're complaining about.
I am a part of the problem! When did I say otherwise? Instead of making these snide little comments, why don't you start acknowledging the scope of the problem you're ignoring?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on May 03, 2013, 07:38:42 PM
Quote
As I said, "To protest about greed (which, it has been pointed out, is more-or-less indefinable) is to protest about the weather."
Stop trying to ignore your responsibility by trying to portray doing evil as inevitable. We can decide to act otherwise. We can decide to act responsibly towards ourselves and our community, if we want to. But you people don't want to. So you try to wriggle out of it.

Maybe I should go to Atheism+ instead. They are pretty dumb, but at least they don't ignore the rest of the world beyond petty arguments about divine ontology.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: shnozzola on May 03, 2013, 07:42:08 PM
H,
            Try changing this:

I have presented my case calmly. I have explained to you why your personal greed, your lifestyle, is hurting us on a global scale (although it particularly hurts some people, it also hurts all of us), but you people aren't listening. You just act as if the world stops at your nose.

           To this:

I have presented my case calmly. I have explained why our personal greed, our lifestyle, is hurting us on a global scale (although it particularly hurts some people, it also hurts all of us), but we all need to listen. We all just act as if the world stops at our noses.

 and we will understand your position easier.   ;)
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Jag on May 03, 2013, 07:44:33 PM
You seem to be mistaking this website and its members for a political movement.

I'm can't speak for anyone else, but my political activism (related to atheism or otherwise) and my participation here are separate activities.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on May 03, 2013, 10:08:34 PM
Why is me saying greed is bad a "political movement" but all the people here saying greed is good is not a "political movement"? Is it because I am a minority position and therefore must be rejected out of hand?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Jag on May 03, 2013, 10:41:22 PM
Why are you so determined to take offense?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jaimehlers on May 03, 2013, 11:06:22 PM
Why is me saying greed is bad a "political movement" but all the people here saying greed is good is not a "political movement"? Is it because I am a minority position and therefore must be rejected out of hand?
No, it's because you're making a mountain out of a molehill - trying to act like everyone here should be politically motivated on this subject because you are.  And not just that, but the way you're doing it is really grating.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Azdgari on May 03, 2013, 11:24:02 PM
Heirophant, have you considered that greed might be, in your terms, an ethical intuition?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on May 04, 2013, 03:22:50 AM
I never asked anyone to be politically motivated, I am asking that you don't ignore the facts and don't reduce everything to your own personal sphere. Your actions have an impact on the greater world. That's not a political doctrine, that's a fact. That you refuse to accept it and therefore must repeatedly paint it as a partisan belief is your problem, not mine.

You find my attempt at conveying this "grating." So what? I am not singing you a song or writing a novel for your consumption, so how is this relevant to anything? I cannot see that as anything but an attempt at poisoning the well.

Your arguing strategy is fallacious and inflammatory. Its sole goal is to divert away from the point and to impute me personal flaws that make what I say irrelevant. That I am politically biased, and therefore should not be listened to. But everyone is politically biased, so by that standard, what you say is equally worthless.

The fact is that ever since I started posting on this forum I have been targeted by personal attacks. But I am not an intellectual coward and I will not back down just because you try to bully me into backing down.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 04, 2013, 05:30:16 AM
Self preservation and greed are two different things goddess. You have not took more than you need.

Oh, yes I have!   I have a larder well stocked with spices.  I own more than one computer.  I have an E-book.  I buy chocolate bars on a regular basis.  I eat fast food.  I spend $30.00/hour on weekly music lessons with a private instructor.  I like to have a good bottle of whisky in the liquor cabinet.  These are not things that I "need" -- These are things that I want.

As for your ham-handed slander of My character, Junebug,  I'm tempted to outright sue you for literally everything you own for insinuating that I would be "a friend to a murderer."

You have 24 hours to post an unqualified apology in this thread.

You know I would have given you an apology if you hadn't of threatened me with legal action. I don't usually go off on people like that.  All I could see was those cancer ridden children taken too soon because of greed.  I should not have responded with so much emotion and I am sorry for that.  I really do hope you can forgive me and sue me because I don't want anyone to think I'm just saying I'm sorry because I don't want to be sued but because I'm genuinely sorry for making a horses a$$ out of myself.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 04, 2013, 06:55:04 AM
Do you guys think that the political system,(American), that is supposed to protect "we the people" from individual greed is broken. Politicians are owned.  They have been bought and paid for.  They can not be trusted and we've been living to comfortably to complain.  It is infringing upon our democracy and our right to clean air and water.  They give big corps. tax breaks to create American jobs and they send them elsewhere. I don't want people in other countries to be unemployed, but I do think you should have your own affairs in order to properly help another country to develop.  I just want the greed out of politics so they can objectively make decisions that benefit all our society not just the top 2%.

I mentioned a Dr. Richard Wolfe in another post.  He is an economist that says capitalism doesn't work. He made a compelling argument against it but I don't know that his cure is possible.  I went to his website and asked some questions; I did not get a response.  He says socialism is the cure, don't know about that. I think we're too far into it to turn back now. Surely just a few regulations here and there and we could be back on the right track.

I do believe for anything to change we have to stand together and consider what's best for society and our individual lives.

I am still not sure I agree that self preservation and greed are one in the same but I do see how you can.  It is technically defined the way it has been interpreted here. I propose we give the monster I'm talking about a new name, any suggestions?  We could call them greedaholics.  I do believe some people are addicted to greed and I believe it has something to do with ego and self esteem. I bet most billionaires have a low self esteem they replace with power.  W/o their money they would not feel confidence or self worth.  That book I live by "The Four Agreements", points that out. I didn't make it up.  Wait it might have been, "Co-Dependment No More", I don't know it was one of many self help books I've read.  It made sense to me.


Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jaimehlers on May 04, 2013, 08:49:40 AM
I never asked anyone to be politically motivated, I am asking that you don't ignore the facts and don't reduce everything to your own personal sphere. Your actions have an impact on the greater world. That's not a political doctrine, that's a fact. That you refuse to accept it and therefore must repeatedly paint it as a partisan belief is your problem, not mine.
Yeah, and you know...how much again?...about what I do in my personal life?  This is the point that I'm driving at.  You're making unwarranted assumptions about how other people here act and think based on responses to a post that was directed at junebug's monochromatic opinion about greed.  And as a result, you irritate other people so much that they aren't likely to give what you say much credence - which ends up reinforcing the bad assumptions you made.

Quote from: Hierophant
You find my attempt at conveying this "grating." So what? I am not singing you a song or writing a novel for your consumption, so how is this relevant to anything? I cannot see that as anything but an attempt at poisoning the well.
You're trying to convince people of something, yes?  So how do you expect to actually convince them with this kind of behavior?  Just because you're giving your opinion away for free doesn't mean that other people are going to accept it, especially when you're acting in a pretty abrasive manner as you communicate it.  If you want people to actually listen to you, you have to make at least some effort to make them want to listen.  So far, you're not doing very good on that score.

Quote from: Hierophant
Your arguing strategy is fallacious and inflammatory. Its sole goal is to divert away from the point and to impute me personal flaws that make what I say irrelevant. That I am politically biased, and therefore should not be listened to. But everyone is politically biased, so by that standard, what you say is equally worthless.
You're reading far too much into what I'm writing if you think I'm saying any of that.  All I'm trying to get across is that you aren't going to be very successful at getting people to listen to your opinions while you're busy haranguing them and grating on them.

Quote from: Hierophant
The fact is that ever since I started posting on this forum I have been targeted by personal attacks. But I am not an intellectual coward and I will not back down just because you try to bully me into backing down.
I haven't been trying to bully you or use personal attacks on you.  Indeed, I'm trying to help you get your position across constructively, in a way that people are likely to listen to.  You need to start exercising more tact; so far, I haven't really seen much of that, or even much of an effort to try to be.

But I have to ask - if you have been targeted by personal attacks, why haven't you been reporting them to moderators?  Seems to me that they would take exception to people using personal attacks as an attempt to dodge the actual meat of the argument.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jaimehlers on May 04, 2013, 08:57:42 AM
Do you guys think that the political system,(American), that is supposed to protect "we the people" from individual greed is broken. Politicians are owned.  They have been bought and paid for.  They can not be trusted and we've been living to comfortably to complain.  It is infringing upon our democracy and our right to clean air and water.  They give big corps. tax breaks to create American jobs and they send them elsewhere. I don't want people in other countries to be unemployed, but I do think you should have your own affairs in order to properly help another country to develop.  I just want the greed out of politics so they can objectively make decisions that benefit all our society not just the top 2%.
I don't think the system itself is broken, I think the problem is that many politicians subscribe to neoconservative/neoliberal beliefs which result in enshrining greed and political gain no matter what it costs.  It's a self-perpetuating problem, too, since as politicians continue to enshrine greed, the people who run for office will tend to be more greedy to start with.

Quote from: junebug72
I mentioned a Dr. Richard Wolfe in another post.  He is an economist that says capitalism doesn't work. He made a compelling argument against it but I don't know that his cure is possible.  I went to his website and asked some questions; I did not get a response.  He says socialism is the cure, don't know about that. I think we're too far into it to turn back now. Surely just a few regulations here and there and we could be back on the right track.
There is no 'cure', at least not in the sense that he means.  It's like entropy - we're stuck with it, no matter what, all we can do is try to minimize the impact it will have on us.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Graybeard on May 04, 2013, 10:39:36 AM
Do you guys think that the political system,(American), that is supposed to protect "we the people"
Could you define who you mean by "we the people"? Thanks.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Astreja on May 04, 2013, 12:48:57 PM
I should not have responded with so much emotion and I am sorry for that.  I really do hope you can forgive me and sue me because I don't want anyone to think I'm just saying I'm sorry because I don't want to be sued but because I'm genuinely sorry for making a horses a$$ out of myself.

I accept your apology, Junebug; and no, I won't sue you.   Please be careful with words, because they pack an incredible amount of power and often do have real-world consequences if they negatively impact someone's reputation or livelihood.  That's why I try to remember to use the "preview" button before I submit posts on forums, because My first drafts can sometimes be unfit for polite company.

And there's no need to tone down the intense emotions that you feel on behalf of the many people suffering on this planet.  In fact, there's power there too -- Power that can change the world for the better if you learn how to focus it and direct it to positive actions.  Trust that you can make a difference, and do something.  Anything.  Any good, no matter how small, is better than none.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Hierophant on May 04, 2013, 06:13:18 PM
I don't see why moderators would have any interest in stopping you ignoring the facts, esp since they probably agree with you. Maybe you're right and there's no point in me trying to tell you people anything. So far my success rate at doing this on this forum has been zero. You people are truly unredeemable... It's like talking to a brick wall.

Well, I gave it my best try. Have fun in the echo chamber.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Azdgari on May 04, 2013, 07:19:28 PM
I don't see why moderators would have any interest in stopping you ignoring the facts, esp since they probably agree with you. ...

Jaime was suggesting you report him (and whoever else, I'd be included in this I guess) for making personal attacks when you think they're making personal attacks.

He did not suggest you report people for ignoring facts.  Why not respond to what was actually written?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Anfauglir on May 05, 2013, 03:20:56 AM
I have watched picture after picture of dead children stroll across my screen, so yes I'm quite disturbed when someones praises the very cause of those unnecessary tragedies.

I'm sure you can understand then how I feel when you praise a god who has decided on a system where he will do nothing to save them.

You say "if we weren't greedy, and took action, those children would live - therefore its our fault".
I say "if your god wasn't aloof, and took action, those children would live - therefore its god's fault".

Ultimately, I entirely agree that specific actions (or inactions) have an effect on others.  But unlike you, I do not absolve any individual - god or man - of blame if they have the ability to make change.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 05, 2013, 06:23:21 AM
Where greed really gets ugly is when politicians take money and pass laws that are not in the best interest of "we the people."  That is why it's so bad right now. It is interfering with democracy.
You seem to be very vague here about "best interests" Do you mean, "my personal interests"? And "we the people" (i.e. the Tea Party) were defeated at the last presidential election so, the majority of the people were quite happy.

Get off my character GB. That is not vague. If I had meant "my personal interests" that's what I would have typed.  I'm talking about "our" right to clean air, water and protection against irresponsible greed. To keep things fair for everybody.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 05, 2013, 06:28:12 AM
Do you guys think that the political system,(American), that is supposed to protect "we the people"
Could you define who you mean by "we the people"? Thanks.

Are you American? It's the people protected under the Constitution.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Graybeard on May 05, 2013, 06:31:33 AM
Get off my character GB.

I was unaware that I was "on" your character.

Quote
That is not vague.

It is to me. The majority of the people are either rich or poor, Democrat or Republican, Chirstian or something else. They all have their own ideas, just like you have yours. I still don't know who you mean by "we the people".

If you had just said "people" I would have understood... but you didn't. You chose a slogan of a political faction and you must have intended to do that because you say that if you mean a thing you will type it.

Quote
If I had meant "my personal interests" that's what I would have typed.  I'm talking about "our" right to clean air, water and protection against irresponsible greed. To keep things fair for everybody.

Fine. There are laws about polluted water. If someone is being greedy, how do you stop them? What sort of laws do you want? How do you want to stop personal enterprise and freedom?

You seem to see problems but no solutions. Do you have any solutions?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 05, 2013, 06:48:30 AM
That's where you're wrong, Hierophant.  Greed at a personal level is not a reflection of those policies at a world level.

For example, I'm greedy about sweets (and to a lesser degree, food).  I eat too much food in general and eat far too much junk food and candy.  That doesn't mean that I would let my greed for them run rampant if I were in a position of power.  You know why?  Because I'm not stupid.  I don't make the mistake of assuming that what I want is the be-all end-all of existence.  And that means that I can discipline my greed to an acceptable level.

You don't seem to understand that.  From what I've seen, you're missing the distinction between the kind of stupid, destructive greed that you're complaining about, and the kind of intelligent, benevolent greed that improves things for people.  And worse, you don't seem to care that there is a difference - as far as you're concerned, greed is greed is greed.

Maybe instead of breathing fire about this and scorching anyone who doesn't agree with you, you should take the time to review your facts and present them calmly.  Who would you be more likely to listen to, someone who laid out the facts in a rational manner and stayed calm throughout, or someone who ranted and screamed at you because you didn't agree with them?  You're coming across as the second right now.

What I got from that was we are pawns in a system designed to mislead people to believe that we all have equal rights to own a home, a car, have some kids and retire from a good job that appreciates your years of dedicated performance. That by participating in that system we are part of the problem.  The truth is the odds are not stacked the same, people of modest means do not have the same opportunities as their counterpart. Just like another poster said, capitalism only works when you have a lot of poor people to make it work.  That is just terrible.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 05, 2013, 07:00:36 AM
Get off my character GB.

I was unaware that I was "on" your character.

Quote
That is not vague.

It is to me. The majority of the people are either rich or poor, Democrat or Republican, Chirstian or something else. They all have their own ideas, just like you have yours. I still don't know who you mean by "we the people".

If you had just said "people" I would have understood... but you didn't. You chose a slogan of a political faction and you must have intended to do that because you say that if you mean a thing you will type it.

Quote
If I had meant "my personal interests" that's what I would have typed.  I'm talking about "our" right to clean air, water and protection against irresponsible greed. To keep things fair for everybody.

Fine. There are laws about polluted water. If someone is being greedy, how do you stop them? What sort of laws do you want? How do you want to stop personal enterprise and freedom?

You seem to see problems but no solutions. Do you have any solutions?

Yea I have an idea, people coming together in massive numbers to demand change. When it happens I'm going to be there, are you?  Let's save them starving babies GB!!! What do ya say?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jaimehlers on May 05, 2013, 07:01:20 AM
The fact is that ever since I started posting on this forum I have been targeted by personal attacks.

But I have to ask - if you have been targeted by personal attacks, why haven't you been reporting them to moderators?  Seems to me that they would take exception to people using personal attacks as an attempt to dodge the actual meat of the argument.

I don't see why moderators would have any interest in stopping you ignoring the facts, esp since they probably agree with you.

Quoting the relevant parts of the conversation and bolding for emphasis.  It seems to me that you just shifted the goalposts rather radically when I suggested that you report people to moderators.  Before that, you were supposedly being targeted by personal attacks, afterwards, it was about people "ignoring the facts".  Care to explain yourself?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: jaimehlers on May 05, 2013, 08:12:23 AM
What I got from that was we are pawns in a system designed to mislead people to believe that we all have equal rights to own a home, a car, have some kids and retire from a good job that appreciates your years of dedicated performance. That by participating in that system we are part of the problem.  The truth is the odds are not stacked the same, people of modest means do not have the same opportunities as their counterpart. Just like another poster said, capitalism only works when you have a lot of poor people to make it work.  That is just terrible.
I don't agree.  Capitalism is not a system designed to mislead people into believing that they all have the same rights; it is not a system built on the backs of a lot of poor people.  The latter, especially, sounds a lot more like feudalism, which did in fact have a lot of poor people (peasants, peons, servants, slaves) who were kept impoverished by those in power.  Indeed, in most feudal societies, the people on the bottom were deliberately kept impoverished.  Take feudal Japan, for example.  On top, you had the shogun - the de facto ruler of the country.  Below him you had numerous daimyo, essentially clan leaders, and below them, the bushi (noblemen).  Below them, you had the various social classes (samurai, merchants, craftsmen, and peasants), who were far more numerous than the ones set on top of them, and had far less power to actually affect things.

There were literally dozens of peasant rebellions during the Tokugawa shogunate alone.  Virtually all of them happened because the peasants were effectively being abused - for example, charged such high taxes that they couldn't get enough food to eat (never mind buying stuff), or not given relief from taxes during bad years.  And they did this knowing full well that they would be executed for daring to rebel, even if that 'rebellion' was simply leaving their homes without permission and going to complain to the daimyo.  They never hoped to actually change the system to something a bit more equitable, either, because they knew it was impossible.

To paraphrase Churchill, "(capitalism) is the worst economic system in existence - except for all the others that have been tried before".  There are lots of flaws with capitalism - debt peonage being a major one, and there's plenty of others - but it allows for social mobility.  People may not have equal buying power, but they can save up money to buy things and improve their lot.  What other economic system has ever done that?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Graybeard on May 05, 2013, 04:27:22 PM
Yea I have an idea, people coming together in massive numbers to demand change. When it happens I'm going to be there, are you?  Let's save them starving babies GB!!! What do ya say?

Well, I say, let's hear the ideas about this "change" before I get behind them. If it means my walking everywhere, living in an unheated mud hut, washing in a river and eating leaves, I'm not going to be there.

If, on the other hand, it means that my life won't change but babies don't starve, then I'll be up there with a banner. (What about fat people - I mean they could starve for a bit, couldn't they? Surely anyone who is fat is "greedy" by definition.)

Is there some cut-off point that indicates how many/much of whatever stuff we can have without being "greedy"? Because I'd like to run through a check-list. I've got 3 electric drills but I think I need them all - I could possibly do without the Makita one as it doesn't have a hammer-action.

If you get secondhand stuff, does that count as greed? Or does the greed relate to the person who had it before?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Tonus on May 07, 2013, 02:49:53 PM
Do you guys think that the political system,(American), that is supposed to protect "we the people" from individual greed is broken.

Greed doesn't play into it as much as it may seem.  I think our biggest problem in the USA is that we don't teach people about finances and economics.  We've been taught to consume with no real thought about how to save and invest and plan for the future.  We have politicized the issue as well.  You are either a lazy leech draining the productive members of society, or a wealthy leech draining the productive members of society.  You are either helpless and need more and more taxpayer dollars, or you are hopeless and need a swift kick in the ass to get you motivated.

We are greedy, I think that's an essential part of our nature, and it's an evolutionary mechanism.  Only the most selfish organisms survive long enough to mate and propagate the species.  We have progressed to a point where we can consider the possible harm that being selfish can do.  But greed is still, IMO, a deeply-ingrained part of our psyche.  What I think we should do is use both of those factors to our advantage.  Teach people how to build wealth-- let their greed help them instead of harm them.  Once they have built wealth, the desire to show that we are not selfish will prompt most of them to be generous with that wealth.

Keeping people ignorant about finances and economics is what keeps the vast majority either treading water or barely scraping by while a relative few build enormous wealth and enjoy a level of luxury that we cannot imagine.  We talk about wealth distribution, but the best way to do that would be to give everyone the knowledge to build and manage wealth.  Self-interest is the most powerful motivator, IMO.  We just need to point it in the right direction.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: magicmiles on May 07, 2013, 06:13:44 PM
Just a general observation. I personally have a tendency to get so overwhelmed by the complexity of an issue like 'how much is too much' that I end up not identifying and eliminating aspects of my life that really need it.

Another way of putting it, I sometimes get too lost in the many shades of grey to recognise the black and white when I see it.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Anfauglir on May 08, 2013, 03:04:57 AM
Yea I have an idea, people coming together in massive numbers to demand change. When it happens I'm going to be there, are you?  Let's save them starving babies GB!!! What do ya say?

Well, I say, let's hear the ideas about this "change" before I get behind them. If it means my walking everywhere, living in an unheated mud hut, washing in a river and eating leaves, I'm not going to be there.

I quite agree - let's hear what the changes are going to be first.  Not so much the mud huts thing, but everything else - and an analysis of any knock-on effects that would occur.

For example: companies are required to donate 10% of their pre-tax profits to food programs in the third world.  Sounds super, yes?  Easy solution, everything fixed!

Well, famine may be fixed, but what else has happened?


So yeah - I want to hear a whole lot about this "change" before I raise my banner high and join the back of the march.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Jag on May 08, 2013, 08:49:52 AM
Yea I have an idea, people coming together in massive numbers to demand change. When it happens I'm going to be there, are you?  Let's save them starving babies GB!!! What do ya say?

Well, what are you waiting for? Some of us are already doing that and we could certainly benefit from more participation to reach these massive numbers. Quit waiting for everyone else to get involved and get yourself involved now to help make the changes you're complaining about. You are as much a part of the problem as any other American, so what are you waiting for?

There are countless organization in need of support, whether that comes in the form of donated dollars or donated time. If you can't add to the dollars, add to the hours. This isn't rocket science, it just requires people to care enough to take action - talking doesn't amount to results, only action will.

If everyone waits for "massive numbers", nothing will change - are you organizing anything to reach massive numbers of people? No? Then find a group that already exists and go help them change the world. Again, I don't care what you believe, I care what you do.

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Jag on May 08, 2013, 09:07:59 AM
Just a general observation. I personally have a tendency to get so overwhelmed by the complexity of an issue like 'how much is too much' that I end up not identifying and eliminating aspects of my life that really need it.

Another way of putting it, I sometimes get too lost in the many shades of grey to recognise the black and white when I see it.

To borrow a phrase from jb - THAT is human nature.

I think I told you that my oldest brother has lived in Australia for ... wow, it must be about 25 years now. He first went for 6 months, then came back to the States long enough to sell pretty much everything and go back for 3 years. It became permanent, but one observation he's made several times over the years that really stands out is the difference between American consumption and what he sees elsewhere. According to him, Americans in general have a strange approach to purchasing - we think in terms of cost as opposed to value. From his perspective, remembering that he grew up here, we've learned to accept cheap and disposable over more costly but more durable. It irritates him to no end, but it's difficult to tell if that's because he's pretty frugal by nature or if it's reflective of how different the consumer values appear to him now that he doesn't live here. He also claims that culturally, we're conditioned to confuse "more" with "better" and have discarded the idea of "enough" entirely.

Living here myself, it's hard to know how accurate his opinion is - I don't have enough exposure to cultures outside the US to know how much truth is in that perception, but it seems like a reasonable conclusion. Any thoughts mm?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Astreja on May 08, 2013, 01:16:08 PM
He also claims that culturally, we're conditioned to confuse "more" with "better" and have discarded the idea of "enough" entirely.

I think the "not enough" culture and the craving for quantity over quality may be closely tied to the cloud of advertising propaganda that is prevalent in many cultures, not just in North America.  Have there been any studies that compared individuals' perceptions about consumption and possessions with their media diets?  (In other words, are people who watch prime-time TV more likely to feel deprived of "the good life" than someone who just occasionally turns on the car radio or glances at a newspaper?)
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Astreja on May 08, 2013, 01:19:28 PM
If everyone waits for "massive numbers", nothing will change...

Not only that -- Ever tried organizing "massive numbers"?  More often than not, it ends in tears.  Small groups of independently empowered people are just more effective on the ground.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Jag on May 08, 2013, 02:00:24 PM
He also claims that culturally, we're conditioned to confuse "more" with "better" and have discarded the idea of "enough" entirely.

I think the "not enough" culture and the craving for quantity over quality may be closely tied to the cloud of advertising propaganda that is prevalent in many cultures, not just in North America.  Have there been any studies that compared individuals' perceptions about consumption and possessions with their media diets?  (In other words, are people who watch prime-time TV more likely to feel deprived of "the good life" than someone who just occasionally turns on the car radio or glances at a newspaper?)

There have, actually. I'll find a few and link them for you - as soon as I'm done prepping for and taking the final in my Psychology and the Media class today. Good timing huh?

If everyone waits for "massive numbers", nothing will change...

Not only that -- Ever tried organizing "massive numbers"?  More often than not, it ends in tears.  Small groups of independently empowered people are just more effective on the ground.

I completely agree with you. Grassroots level movements tend to result in the most lasting and pervasive changes, and by definition the movement toward change starts small. The effectiveness is the result of gaining adherents or supporters, not the other way around.

I'm somewhat analytical about which organizations I get involved with - I heavily favor those that go after the causes, and am less inclined to participate much with the ones that address the symptoms. Hoping not to offend anyone, but Feed my Starving Children gets a little of my support, while I continue looking for a local group that does something to address the problem in a more sustainable way. Kiva International is among my favorites, because attacking the root of the problem they set out to help solve is exactly what they do.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 11, 2013, 07:37:11 AM
I should not have responded with so much emotion and I am sorry for that.  I really do hope you can forgive me and sue me because I don't want anyone to think I'm just saying I'm sorry because I don't want to be sued but because I'm genuinely sorry for making a horses a$$ out of myself.

I accept your apology, Junebug; and no, I won't sue you.   Please be careful with words, because they pack an incredible amount of power and often do have real-world consequences if they negatively impact someone's reputation or livelihood.  That's why I try to remember to use the "preview" button before I submit posts on forums, because My first drafts can sometimes be unfit for polite company.

And there's no need to tone down the intense emotions that you feel on behalf of the many people suffering on this planet.  In fact, there's power there too -- Power that can change the world for the better if you learn how to focus it and direct it to positive actions.  Trust that you can make a difference, and do something.  Anything.  Any good, no matter how small, is better than none.

Thanks for accepting my apology.

That's the same point I tried to make about words.  It is my life's challenge to be "impeccable with my word".  I'll have to admit I was pretty sore from the attacks on my character from my thread, but that's no excuse. 

I see your point and the story I posted on "Believing...", points out the benefits of greed to the individual but points out the harm to society.  Greed is just like any other self pleasure it is up to the individual to control it.  That's where things get tricky.  You don't want government involvement  but I don't see any other way. When individual greed harms society what do you do about it?  How do you fairly deal with it?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 11, 2013, 07:42:59 AM
Do you guys think that the political system,(American), that is supposed to protect "we the people"
Could you define who you mean by "we the people"? Thanks.

The people protected under the Constitution of the United States of America.

Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: The Gawd on May 11, 2013, 08:32:15 AM
Do you guys think that the political system,(American), that is supposed to protect "we the people"
Could you define who you mean by "we the people"? Thanks.

The people protected under the Constitution of the United States of America.
I do see the American government as a greedy organization that causes a lot of bad in the world due to its greed, specifically. I can agree with you on that.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: junebug72 on May 11, 2013, 09:09:07 AM
Do you guys think that the political system,(American), that is supposed to protect "we the people" from individual greed is broken.

Greed doesn't play into it as much as it may seem.  I think our biggest problem in the USA is that we don't teach people about finances and economics.  We've been taught to consume with no real thought about how to save and invest and plan for the future.  We have politicized the issue as well.  You are either a lazy leech draining the productive members of society, or a wealthy leech draining the productive members of society.  You are either helpless and need more and more taxpayer dollars, or you are hopeless and need a swift kick in the ass to get you motivated.

We are greedy, I think that's an essential part of our nature, and it's an evolutionary mechanism.  Only the most selfish organisms survive long enough to mate and propagate the species.  We have progressed to a point where we can consider the possible harm that being selfish can do.  But greed is still, IMO, a deeply-ingrained part of our psyche.  What I think we should do is use both of those factors to our advantage.  Teach people how to build wealth-- let their greed help them instead of harm them.  Once they have built wealth, the desire to show that we are not selfish will prompt most of them to be generous with that wealth.

Keeping people ignorant about finances and economics is what keeps the vast majority either treading water or barely scraping by while a relative few build enormous wealth and enjoy a level of luxury that we cannot imagine.  We talk about wealth distribution, but the best way to do that would be to give everyone the knowledge to build and manage wealth.  Self-interest is the most powerful motivator, IMO.  We just need to point it in the right direction.

Then who is going to work for minimum wage, that is the backbone of capitalism and how people get so filthy rich.  It is also impossible to have nice things, save money and all that good stuff making minimum wages.  The minimum wage should be calculated by adding the cost of the American Dream which is around $3000.00@ month in NC and the employers annual income.  The min. wage in NC is $7.50@ hr that's $1200.00@ month. Not to mention those jobs suck real bad.  For companies that can afford to pay better and don't that harms society.  Companies like Wal- mart, Fast Food Ind..

I think you're right our educational system does need improvements. That's what seems odd to me.  While the filthy rich were getting richer our schools got poorer, especially in poor communities.  Then that's something mom and dad should teach their kids but there's a lot of moms and dads that don't know it to teach it.  That's why I say the odds are not the same.  For many the odds are against them the day they are conceived.  How is that a fair society?


I do see the American government as a greedy organization that causes a lot of bad in the world due to its greed, specifically. I can agree with you on that.

Thanks Gawd that means a lot to me.  My partner and I were just discussing this last night and we both decided we feel so helpless.  You have to focus on what's good in your life but you can not ignore what's going on around you either. 

I would like to add to Tonus's idea to also educate in politics.  I mean these people are given a lot of power and control and I think they make it hard on purpose; to keep the poor, uneducated tired worn out workers out of it.  There are so many areas in need of improvements it's hard to know where to start.  In a country as large and advanced as ours I don't see any reason we can't address them all!!!  The hard part is getting people to agree!!!
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Jag on May 11, 2013, 09:49:34 AM
Much better, junebug, these are specific things we can discuss. Which one would you prefer? I'll start with more on education:

I'm of the belief that improving our educational system, a complete overhaul in fact, would be the most important step for future generations. I'm not convinced it should be the first one though - those changes would take a couple of decades to manifest fully and we don't have time to waste. It can't be the only step, it has to happen in concert with other changes directed at altering the behavior of people already out of school - the adults are far more guilty than the children and we have more power to make a difference.

I don't like the idea of more government involvement, but certain standards have to be set, and overseen to ensure that every child who gets an education is learning the same basic principles and skills. I'm not at all sure of how to go about  seeing that home school curriculum adhere to this though. Maybe we need to tackle public schools first, then worry about how to deal with homeschoolers.

Critical thinking is no longer part of the typical school curriculum, and it has cost this nation beyond measure. The entire foundation of Civics/Social Studies has been twisted into very superficial coverage of our rights and entitlements, with little if any attention being paid to our collective responsibilities. The job of American citizens, our role of participants in government, has been downplayed to the point that people seem to forget that we the people are the ones with the power.  Our individual and collective focus is on "me" not "we" - that needs to change.

Harpy out.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Anfauglir on May 11, 2013, 09:51:26 AM
Yea I have an idea, people coming together in massive numbers to demand change. When it happens I'm going to be there, are you?  Let's save them starving babies GB!!! What do ya say?

Well, I say, let's hear the ideas about this "change" before I get behind them. If it means my walking everywhere, living in an unheated mud hut, washing in a river and eating leaves, I'm not going to be there.

I quite agree - let's hear what the changes are going to be first.  Not so much the mud huts thing, but everything else - and an analysis of any knock-on effects that would occur.

Planning on detailing these changes you are after Junebug?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Anfauglir on May 11, 2013, 10:02:24 AM
The minimum wage should be calculated by adding the cost of the American Dream which is around $3000.00@ month in NC and the employers annual income.  The min. wage in NC is $7.50@ hr that's $1200.00@ month.

Okay - that's a specific.  Raise the minimum wage by 150%.

How many small businesses will that put out of business?
How will companies react to the inflated wage bill?  Will they cut dividends (with the resultant effect on pension portfolios) or will they raise prices to compensate?

Because if we're just wishing, without analysing the consequences, then I vote for a minimum wage of $4000 a month.  Why be tight and restrict it to $3k?
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Jag on May 11, 2013, 10:53:38 AM
junebug, what exactly are you referring to with the phrase "the cost of the American Dream"? I'm kind of assuming home ownership? If so, keep in mind that home ownership is not a right, it's a privilege and a responsibility. Not everyone is suited to it, or in pursuit of it, and that's more than okay, that's exactly as it must be.

Angfauglir raises a yet another important point - the consequences to all parties must be considered. There are at least* two "laws" that need to be remembered whenever one wants to implement a sweeping change - the 80/20 rule (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle) and the law of unintended consequences (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unintended_consequences), Pay particular attention to the third bullet point in the unintended consequences link - that one is exactly what I'm talking about.                             

In the days before the Republican party was the party of family values, they used to bill themselves as the pro-business party. It was hugely successful for them too - they presented themselves as the party of business, and the American public, being poorly trained in critical thinking, mistook that to mean that they were the party of business in general, as opposed to the party of business owners. In order to effect change, their stance needs to be remembered - they will always, always, always legislate in favor of business owners, not employees. The minimum wage could be tweaked, but you have to consider the implications too.

And this is not to say that Republicans are bad people, nor that Democrats are better. They have different approaches to the same problems, but it's hard to treat it like much more than political theater, as they rarely take action to alter the status quo (defined as: The existing state of affairs, esp. regarding social or political issues: "they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo". Google dictionary (https://www.google.com/#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=status+quo+definition&oq=status+quo&gs_l=hp.1.2.0j0i20j0l2.0.0.1.546.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0..0.0...0.0...1c..12.psy-ab.J6RDzOkG3z0&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.46340616,d.aWc&fp=48b7a4a8a5d0078b&biw=1440&bih=797)).

*Edited to add: at least
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Astreja on May 11, 2013, 11:40:21 PM
Greed is just like any other self pleasure it is up to the individual to control it.  That's where things get tricky.  You don't want government involvement  but I don't see any other way. When individual greed harms society what do you do about it?  How do you fairly deal with it?

That is a tricky problem, JB.  One can only go so far with that old saw "Vote with your wallet," and a small number of people boycotting a product or service may not be enough to make an impact.  (It does, however, free up resources that one can spend in a more positive way, such as donating to a charity or making purchases at a local business, or paying down personal debt.)

Depending on the circumstances, change may come quickly, slowly or not at all.  Governments tend to be reactive rather than proactive, and it can take a long time to stir up enough interest in the halls of power to get results on an issue.  Changes at the local level are more likely to be successful than at the national level, IMO.  A good first step would be a crash course in civics.  Become versed in what authority and scope your local municipality or state actually has, to see if something you want to do is within their jurisdiction.   Start with a single local problem -- For example, a lack of affordable housing in a certain neighbourhood, or a shortage of some product that could be produced locally.  Brainstorm with like-minded people and be prepared to do a lot of number crunching, then get your best ideas into the form of a simple, positively-worded proposal.  By "positive" I mean making something new and exciting happen, rather than trying to get a law passed to prohibit something.

(You may even be able to appeal to the vanity of a company with deep pockets and friends in high places, and get financing for something that's good for the community and good for someone's business reputation.  Cynical, I know, but far stranger things have happened.)
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Tonus on May 15, 2013, 02:14:53 PM
Then who is going to work for minimum wage, that is the backbone of capitalism and how people get so filthy rich.

If people understood how compounding works, particularly over long enough time frames, plenty of people would work for minimum wage.  They would rightly see it as a step on the way to a better job and better wages, or as a way to earn some money until a better opportunity became available.  Fewer of them would be trapped in the "hand to mouth" cycle that keeps them working at miserable, low-paying jobs for years.  And this would have the effect of increasing wages, since a mobile workforce with the freedom to be picky means that employers would need a better incentive than "it beats starving" to keep workers in line.

I've made a good living for myself and am likely to be able to comfortably retire early, and this is in spite of the fact that for nearly all of my life I was pretty clueless regarding finances.  I did go after opportunities and took advantage of a lucky break or two.  But if I'd known at 18 what I know now?  I'd have stayed at New York Life Insurance in 1988 and build a nest egg that would've seen me retired by now.  Google "Andrew Hallam" to see how it's done.
Title: Re: In Praise of Greed
Post by: Irish on May 19, 2013, 11:22:28 PM
Well I've been away for some time and I come back and...

Jesus tits this turned to a clusterfuck.  Oh well.