Greed is the desire for an abundant amount of wealth and possessions. A desire for things a person may not necessarily need and a desire that often leads to a sacrificing of ones morals for their goal to be achieved. However, this term can be contested in the sense that what is a simple desire for a large amount of something and when does that desire turn into a desire for excess or greed? This definition is important because is dictates whether we look at someone as really being greedy or just wanting to be successful. This viewpoint is especially prevalent in capitalistic societies like the United States where almost everyone is driven by or at least for money. One example of greed would be the actions taken by former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos who took tax money from her impoverished country and used it to throw expensive parties, buy a yacht, and collect thousands of pairs of shoes. Her reason for her excessive shoe and clothes collection was that she had to change clothes a lot (ABC News Online).
Obviously, that is not a valid reason. This example is definitely one of greed because she intentionally went beyond her clothing needs and didn’t follow the moral guidelines of trying to do what is best for her country that she should have attempted as a person of political power. Bill Gates is another figure some people may view as greedy just because he is a multi-billionaire who has in most senses monopolized a market. Being rich is not always product of greed though. He became rich by producing software(Windows) that made peoples lives easier by saving them time and money.
This leads to the main difference in the ways Imelda Marcos and Bill Gates became wealthy and in essence the main distinction between what is greed and what isn’t. Imelda Marcos used the power of government to obtain money from Philippians who were forced to pay taxes. Bill Gates made his money from people who chose to spend their money on his computer software. If he uses the money he makes off that product in a bad way though, say to bulldoze a unique wildlife area to build a mansion for himself, then he can be regarded as not being greedy in the way he makes money but being greedy in the way he chooses to use it. Fortunately, Bill Gates has been kind with a lot of his money by providing computers to schools in need all over the United States.
As you have read, determining what is greed and what is not can be difficult. In my opinion, greed is the desire for a surplus of wealth and possessions without considering the consequences of this desire, even if they may be harmful to others. It is the path someone takes to wealth and possessions that determines most whether they are greedy. We should not pass the judgement that all those who are rich are greedy because many of those who are rich have become so by improving society, and if improving society is a result of greed then we should all strive to be greedy. Bibliography : “GREED with John Stossel” ABC News.
3 February 1998. Online. Available: (29 November 1998).