September 2007

I noticed in your atheist rights and responsibilities, you list “Don’t be greedy”. I would argue that being greedy is not morally incorrect. In fact, I would argue that greed is a natural and society improving human process.

Laissez-faire capitalism is a system in which individuals produce goods and services that they trade with one another based on mutual consent, not on the use of force or fraud.

Ayn Rand emphasized that businessmen at their best will first and foremost love their work and the challenge of creating products and services that earn them profits. If that’s greed, it s to be praised! Rand also singled out for condemnation businessmen who seek money by any means, including fraud, or government handouts and special favors. If that s greed, it’s to be damned!

This passage (to me) clearly states why greed is good. There is both a moral and immoral way to use greed to be “successfully” in life.

One may be greedy and wish to have as much money as possible. In achieving this, he creates a life saving device which will never break, wear out and costs only a few dollars. Everyone buys one and the man reaches his goal.

Conversely, another man may be greedy and wish to have as much money as possible. In achieving this, he defrauds his customers into giving their bank account information and steals as much money as possible. He achieves his goal as well.

While achieving the same outcome, the means by which they were achieved is vastly different. Most people would call the first man a hero and the second, a crook, though both were greedy.

My point is that if we all lived morally (who’s morals is another argument) greed could be seen as a natural and society improving human process. An atheistic society does not have to reject greed as evil (Rands philosophy is clearly atheistic while honoring greed), but, more simply, it should reject the moral systems in which greed is used immorally.

**For simplicities sake (it is now 4:30am), portions of my passage where copy/pasted from [freerepublic.com URL]

In the context of my Rights and Responsibilities page, I consider greed to be striving for personal gain without consideration of moral consequences. Running a rival out of business by selling a better product is fine. Running a rival out of business by spreading malicious rumors is not.

By the way, I’m posting your note to my blog with a bit of hesitation. As a great believer in copyright preservation, it worries me that parts of your message might have been copied from a source to which you do not have rights. However, I can’t tell where your text ends and the copied text begins and I consider your message worth sharing, so I’m going ahead and putting it up. (But, to those readers whose notes I’ve skipped because they were not original, don’t take this as setting a precedent).

Posted on September 12, 2007 at 9:01 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Criticism

One Response

Subscribe to comments via RSS

  1. Written by crickets
    on September 14, 2010 at 11:36 am
    Reply · Permalink

    I doubt it anyone will ever read this comment 3 years after the post, but I feel like making it anyway

    ” greed is a natural and society improving human process.”

    “One may be greedy and wish to have as much money as possible. In achieving this, he creates a life saving device which will never break, wear out and costs only a few dollars. Everyone buys one and the man reaches his goal.”

    I hope everyone is familiar with the concept of mutually beneficial trade… I don’t beleive that entering into a fair and mutually beneficial arrangement can be characterized as “greedy”.

    as long as neither party is being short-changed, or otherwise paying for more than he gets, where is the greed?

Subscribe to comments via RSS

Leave a Reply