Is Accumulating Wealth Moral?


There’s nothing wrong with trying to accumulate wealth.*

Q1 Analysis

This statement may violate Q1 if you believe that people with wealth have a responsibility to use that wealth in certain ways (by giving to charity, charging their customers less, or paying higher taxes, for example).

Q2 Analysis

This may be a Q2 violation if you consider anyone who is wealthy to be "greedy" or resent those who accumulate wealth that otherwise might have been yours.


Is accumulating wealth moral? That depends on your opinion on a number of items. For example:

When discussing this topic, it is very important to distance yourself from your personal situation as much as possible. It’s easy to fall into the trap of condemning wealth accumulation because you yourself are not wealthy, or defending wealth accumulation because you are wealthy (or hope to be).

In which of these situations (if any) would it be moral to accumulate wealth? Are any of them foolish but not immoral?

*For the purposes of examining this statement, let’s define "greed" as the act of accumulating wealth regardless of the cost (social or moral). Greed by this definition is clearly a Q2 violation, so we’ll assume that the desire to accumulate wealth in this statement does not endorse greedy behavior.

You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at and See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.

Posted on September 17, 2010 at 10:33 am by ideclare · Permalink
In: 2Q

3 Responses

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  1. Written by donK
    on September 21, 2010 at 9:33 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Greed is not a Q2 violation, neither is murder for that mater, as long as you do not condemn others for thinking or behaving the same way. It would be a Q1 violation if you felt guilty for your actions, implying a contradiction in belief. However a psychopath could be consistent with the Q2 system if he believes that murder is OK and that it is alright for others to murder as well.

    I’m not arguing for an external source of morality but the Q2 system, being introspective, fails if the individual accepts his behavior and expects the same of others. The Golden Rule, in its many variations, isn’t much better from “Do unto others as you would have done to you”, regardless of how others would have you do to them to “Do to others as they do to you”, as long as they hit you first. The Wiccans

  2. Written by donK
    on September 21, 2010 at 9:39 am
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    The Wiccans have it better with “If it harm no one do as you will” or something to that effect. It fosters a tolerant, if not cooperative, society. Which to my mind is preferable to a theocracy.

  3. Written by crickets
    on October 1, 2010 at 7:21 am
    Reply · Permalink

    @ donk

    the 2Q system, imho, doesn’t really condemn or condone behavior so much as the reasoning used to justify or evaluate it. a sociopath doesn’t really need to justify or evaluate his behavior… so I suppose you’re right.

    I don’t think, however, that a moral systems failure to apply to a sociopathic individual can be considered a damning flaw… after all, amorality is kind of how sociopathy is defined.

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