Friday, November 25, 2011

May the greed be with you

And also with you.

Being that today is black Friday, and I've been reading AdBusters for the last decade, and there's an occupy movement happening, I decided to think on greed a bit today.  I am a fucking concern troll.  That said, let's see the definition
excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.
Shit.  That's not very helpful.  How about excessive
going beyond the usual, necessary, or proper limit or degree; characterized by excess: excessive charges; excessive criticism.
 Well piss.  It seems that we're going to end up on a loop of looking up subjective labels.  And... I'll be damned: that's the problem.  There's nothing inherently wrong/bad with/about greed.  There's not.  The real problem is with propaganda.  If I say:
I want to squeeze every ounce of money out of my employees, working them to death.  To do this I will lobby against the minimum wage under the banner of worker freedom.  I will work to convince people that the 40 hour work week is oppressive -- they could work more if only I didn't have to pay them more -- and should be abolished.  I will forgo basic safety precautions, as they are expensive.. and everyone knows they shouldn't put a stroller on an escalator, why do I need to spend the $50 to put a sign there anyhow?
 and call it anything other than greed, I am lying.  It is true that the definition is subjective - that excessive is "in the eye of the beholder".    But this subjectivity is being used against all of us.  The "Reasonable Person" has been killed (by Mammon himself, no doubt), and we've let everyone get away with it.  I think it is specifically because "greed is not inherently bad" that we forget that it is also not inherently good.  Because of this, we find ourselves allowing our conservative friends/enemies/whatevers to escape us when we don't say:
...perhaps Laffer was originally right, but how is cutting taxes on the rich while maintaining tax levels, or increasing them on the middle class and poor not an example of wealthy greed?
Right.  That's fucking right.  It's the same answer I give to "well, if you don't believe in God, what reason do you have to live"?  I say "any reason to live has no bearing on the existence of God".

But anyhow, we've got to stop allowing people to say that "big corporations are not greedy, they're just doing what they do", and the like.  While greed is not inherently bad/evil, neither is infanticide (it sounds pretty fucking lame that I would say that, but ontology is pretty brutal).  I think we can all agree that infanticide is unacceptable, can't we agree that at least SOME greed is also unacceptable?


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