Greed Has Never Been Better

A few weeks ago, I received a reader response mildly chastising me for taking on what he referred to as a “greed is good” tone in an article I wrote about Mongolian oil exploration. To those of you who are not instantly reminded of where this phrase comes from, let me jog your memory: Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.                                                                                                                                         Gordon Gekko, Wall Street (1987) Now, I know what you’re probably thinking right now… How dare this financial publisher, this self-proclaimed provider of financial advice and sound investing possibly be advocating more of the same behavior that landed this nation, and most of the developed world, into a financial disaster the likes of which only my grandparents’ generation can remember first-hand? Well, let me be the first to tell you that I’m not advocating irresponsibility or the blind quest for the bottom dollar. That’s the exact opposite of what I’m doing. Greed, you see — the kind that Mr. Gekko spoke about 23 years ago, and the kind that is now being credited with sowing the seeds of global economic calamity — is actually the only thing that will ever pull us out of this death spiral. The desire for more than is required for basic survival has driven human endeavor up to this point. The constant quest for more, for better, for quicker, faster, and more potent satisfaction has been the impetus behind all human greatness. And contrary to what my detractors will go to their grave screaming, it’s not greed, but the lack of greed; the lack of personal ambition; the increased reliance on credit in place of productivity; the increased appetite for saturated fat over muscle-building protein, that has landed us in this mess. If all of us had been working, laboring, greedily searching out opportunities and carrying them through to fruition instead of sitting around and waiting for the next wave of success to land on our heads as it did when our parents and grandparents passed it off to us… We would be growing now — not declining. I grew up in a working class family, went to public school, and had …

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Greed Has Never Been Better

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