Greed Not So Good
A (rhetorical?) question by Norman H. at the PsyArt list:
I've been fascinated by the ingenuities in this discussion of "greed is good." Do we really need to provide explanations from depth psychology for one of the seven deadly sins that has been around since the year dot? Or are we trying to condemn something we disapprove of morally by labeling it pathological? What is so odd about wanting more of something we find gratifying like more money or a Caribbean island or two Maseratis?
Perhaps the notion that "Greed is good" (whether we adhere to this motto or we reject it) points to a fundamental ambivalence or paradox in human beings. We are the greedy primate-- the one that will burn down the forest, or the planet, to make more place for himself. That is, in itself, a course bent towards self-destruction, all the faster the faster growth gets, e.g. through globalized financial systems. So, greed is good, if at all, in the short term. Greed is part of human nature, and capitalism run amok is a logical product both of human sociality, of our symbolic abilities (e.g. to create paper money and national debt), and of our built-in greed as a species. But there may be greed built on greed. Greed shining like a Maserati, or like a mirror outshining the neighbours' greed, shows human nature all too clearly, and we don't like what we see in that mirror.
So, if greed's pathological, the pathology runs deeper than it seems. A deep-seated pathology which is another name for human nature.