Webster's  says, "the unseemly acquisition of wealth, material, power".   Greed is often the most overused and little understood adjective describing what we least like in rich and powerful people.   "Thou shall not be greedy." The greedy banker; the greedy little SOB. It's as pejorative as other epithets relating to race, gender and national origins. But “the greedy” may be maligned; maybe it can not live down to its detractors.   

 Let's look for a more benign view. If greed is the unseemly acquisition of wealth and riches, then what is unseemly? If the normal acquisition of power and wealth is justifiable then where are the boundaries that make a banker an understanding community member and in the next instance, an unspeakable robber baron? Today’s prosecutors of wealth are either guilt ridden rich people or the practicians of power through the purchase of the elector/receiver class.  They have by their persecutions attempted to define wealth in Marxists terms. The definition of greed as unseemly could reach from the singular accumulation of money by hard work to the often maligned and so called malevolent and malignant inheritance of wealth by death and thus their heirs. 

Today, hard work is unseemly or at least hard work that is generously rewarded is attacked as such.  And inheritance is down-right sinful. Is wealth only greedy if you lack the guilt that should rightly come from such compensation? Why is the desire of the parents to pass on the fruits of their labor to their children, for their use as they see fit, the business of government? Why should the government through its power of taxation destroy the will and value of the deceased by its greedy desire to redistribute the wealth of one class to the idle participants of another?   Worse yet it is the greedy accumulation  of power derived from the confiscation of wealth from one class so as to acquire power.

 Definitions however, change as the historical perspective evolves. Where would the modern world be with out greed? Say cavemen had looked at fire as a greedy acquisition of luxury or a wooly mammoth skin or the books of a modern press or the medicine that makes cures of scourges. Was the cure for polio a luxury or was the hard work and its rewards the act of greedy people? Can blame for all the ills of the modern world be laid at the steps of white explorers because we do not have a written history of other travelling races? Is all progress evil? Could advancements in quality be achieved without regressions? Plastics are both good and evil and the good and evil it does also comes from the "greedy" exploration of oil. Do people by their nature strive to new heights without some form or function of wealth and reward?   Is greed- striving for success- improvement, progress with profit? Or is all profit; thus greed?

What those that want all from us believe that greed is … "wanting or taking all that one can get with no thought of what others need."

    There are those today who by their politics eager to demonize the progress of spirit and capital.

"Level the playing field, not by bringing up the bottom but by slicing off the top".

This decapitation of the wealthy found support in Pre- Revolutionary Russia.  If that cannot be accomplished by "education" and the rewritten histories of successful accomplishments, then tax the life out of the succeeders and promote the whiners of the world. Did not the history of Russia and the Eastern Countries prove the fallacy of that "inevitability"? Socialism did lead to a level pitch, the problem was that the oligarchy was on one level and the masses another.     

Judge greed not by the numbers of rich but the wealth of the poor. In comparison our poor would be the Third World's affluent. We compensate our poor to the extent that entry level jobs become "beneath my dignity". Why should they work if by not, they can acquire minimum subsistence? They trivialize honest labor until a whole generation of youth sees labor as less than necessary for their well being. They associate in gangs that rob the working people and then are immortalized as heroes and products of the "greedy" accumulators, rent lords, and industrial conglomerate warlords. The taxpayers of America are forced by high and confiscatory demands of a government whose clients are begging for more benefits, to work to support those whose dignity is insulted. Where is the insult and where is the dignity?   

  All honest work is admirable and those that cheapen the value of compensation for perspiration become the root cause of demoralization of our youth. They bond in criminal associations to find purpose and companionship. The fall of labor unions and the rise of gangs may well be related. But the government should praise energy and practice the positive power of work to our youth and not the proper method for filing for assistance.

Feed the poor. Give succor to the helpless. Save the children for our future. But teach a man to fish and he eats; give it to him and he asks for more.  Let's make people "greedy" for the benefits of labor and generous with our aid to those who truly cannot help themselves.


Kent M. Herrick



Kent M. Herrick, Editor in Chief, 2012


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