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Greed - The Necessary Deadly Sin

Submitted by Joel on Thu, 06/27/2019 - 08:33

Here we are at the second to last entry in this series. And while I am ranking the deadly sins from best to worst, this is an odd one, because I think it's a necessary evil, but still incredibly destructive. 

Wait, a NECESSARY sin? How exactly does that work?

Imagine what our society would be like if people weren't greedy. For that matter, if all living things weren't greedy. No longer would it be "survival of the fittest", but "can't we all just get along?" There would be no evolution. There would be no striving to get ahead. Everything that makes living things better, including humans, would be gone without greed. 

What about altruism? If everyone was trying to help each other, wouldn't the entire community benefit?

To be clear, I'm not saying that greed is good, like some 80's movie villain/hero. I'm saying it's NECESSARY. Altruism is necessary, too. We need benevolence in our society. But we need a balance. Too much benevolence and society can't really function. When everyone keeps saying, "No, I insist, YOU go first!" no one gets through the door. Similarly, too much greed is also destructive to civilization as people keep pushing to be first like crabs in a bucket. But any Black Friday video will demonstrate where we are in the greed/benevolence spectrum. Which is why it's so far down on my list. 

Greed gives us efficiency in society. It moves us forward. We have to have a bit of selfishness and ambition to spur creativity and technology. But when it goes too far, we get unnecessary pain and suffering. We get wasted food and garbage islands. Greed gives us pollution and war and terrible edits to movies because the studio thinks it will 'play better'. Most of the ills of society can be linked either directly or indirectly to greed. 

I think we recognize that greed is an important motivator, but we've allowed it to go way, WAY too far. Our society's greed is hurting us far more than helping us right now as we are stagnating as a community because we aren't willing to help anyone anymore. Everything is about money above all, it seems, and we shed tears when we hear about personal sacrifice because it's just so rare. Greed is ripping us apart and if we can't get it under control, it will destroy our whole world.

Yikes! If that's how you feel about greed, I can't wait to see what you have to say about the seventh sin!

You'll have to wait for next week's entry for that. Until then, what do you think about greed? Is it a necessary evil? Are we too far off balance in our society? Chime in!