Left Blog

Today’s left ideology made here.

Greed and its fixes

Summaries and links to 3 essays on Greed –

 

GREED

An essay concerning the origins, nature, extent and morality of this destructive force in free market economies. Definitions. Paradoxes and omissions in Adam Smith’s original theory permit – encourage – greed without restraint so that in a very large society over two centuries  it has become an undemocratic force creating  precipitous inequalities; divisions in this  society  now approach a kind of wealth apartheid, and our values are quite unlike Smith’s:  this is an immensely wealthy society but it is not a humane society.  Wealth and poverty are connected, in fact recent sociological theory shows our institutions routinely design inequality in, but this connection is largely avoided in texts  and in the media, as is the notion that greed is a moral wrong. Problems created by greed cannot be solved by technology.  We are also distracted by environmental rhetoric, arguments that scarcities and human suffering follow from abuse of our ecology. Rather, these scarcities are the result of what people do to people. This focus opens practical solutions More

 

GREED II

 This is not the first time the nation has produced dramatic economic inequalities. What are very wealthy people like? The everyday world of work vs. values of democracy. How assumption of self-interest leads to fear in the workplace. Freedom, the illusion of  freedom, coercion. Exploitation. Credit cards. Meritocracy. Sociopaths. Corporations and the economic justification for the damage they do. Historically we are emerging from an era with no clear ideology, but an era in which materialism and business has expanded  powerfully and internationally, and out of the vacuum two old, discredited ideologies, laissez-faire and Social Darwinism appear to be rising again in modern guise. These ideologies are still flawed; the first (contained in modern Libertarianism) vigorously promotes freedom but ignores justice and is indifferent toward democracy. The second is supported by science, is disinterested in humane values and accommodates exploitation as part of the nature of things. The search for a modern economic theory closer to reality. Is this a society of individuals rationally maximizing happiness? Andrews’s view: at least among the disadvantaged, it is a political economy of hope and fear More

 

GREED III

Cheating and corruption widespread and widely accepted today. Mandeville’s theory, inspiration for Adam Smith, argued crime and corruption are good for the economy.  Is a society ever under control? Ferguson’s theory: societies cannot be steered; but greed and love of luxury always predict national decline. Malthus’s essay, with contempt. Inspiration for Darwin, it established the suffering of the poor as a good. The modern disappearance of the common good:  Ayn Rand in our crosshairs. She vigorously campaigned for selfishness and for the demolition of the common good, and her ideology  saturates modern policy making. Materialism: research establishes its threat to family values and to the individual. The zero-sum debate. An American theory explaining how the wealthy enrich themselves at the expense of the poor: Henry George explained how progress produces poverty. Recent research shows that social inequality kills. In cities or nations with marked social inequality, there is less happiness, more violence, shorter life expectancies. The discovery of a class living sub-poverty. The rich now retreating into gated communities More

 

 

 

 

6 Comments »

  1. The “Ten Commandments” from the liberal left. That’s a perversion if ever there was perversion.

    Comment by Anonymous | November 11, 2008 | Reply

  2. How do Christians explain all of this stuff going on in our “economy”?

    Comment by oemissions | March 19, 2009 | Reply

  3. I haven’t read “The Wealth of Nations”, I tried but couldn’t stick with it. But from what I did read, I found it to be a treatise on how greed works. In the same way I believe that neo-con economics and the associated politics is simply the politics of greed; and greed is one of the classic seven deadly sins. As a Christian I believe we are all connected and society is the manifestation of that connection. We form societies because we recognize that connection and because survival is easier when we work together. Ayn Rand and others who advocate acting only from selfish interest reject that connection. They talk about living outside of society, but most of what they are depending on in their lives was built by society. John Donne (Meditation XVII) wrote that “No man is an island…”

    Until we all recognize that we are connected to each other and to God, we will continue to have this conflict between those who are prepared to take what doesn’t belong to them and those who aren’t.

    Comment by BrianF | March 19, 2009 | Reply

  4. Ok hold on! Greed is a completely subjective concept. Just because you call someone greedy, that doesn’t make it true with a clap of thunder, etched in stone. In any sale between two individuals, the buyer could call the seller greedy for charging what he thinks is too much. The seller can call the buyer greedy for not wanting to pay what it’s worth. Completely subjective.

    If you care to read Ayn Rand, you’ll find she makes some great points. One of which is that society doesn’t own the creative endeavors of an individual in that society. The individual should completely own the derivatives of his or her life. Anything less is slavery.

    Oh and BrianF, Rand never talks about living outside of society. You need to realize that everything produced in our society comes from selfish action. Science and technology have only advanced through selfish action. Selflessness and sacrifice sound like virtues, but they just don’t produce anything.

    Comment by venta | April 13, 2009 | Reply

  5. I don’t know why Myspace thought it would be smart marketing to put a link to this blog on my homepage, but, here I am. the caption under the ad reads: “After you read this, they’ll be one less of them and one more of us.”

    So I’ve read, and I didn’t have any great enlightening experience. Same old left vs. right gobbledygook if you ask me. You people are just one more drop in an ocean of people with political opinions. Get over yourselves.

    Comment by Anonymous | April 26, 2009 | Reply

  6. I found this site using google.com And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

    Sorry for offtopic

    Comment by Mokthithswimi | November 6, 2009 | Reply


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