Progressive Revival

Greed ranks third on the seven deadly sins, But only some of the time.  Nancy Folbre opens her revealing column called Sin Cycle with this reminder;

In Oliver Stone’s classic film “Wall Street,” a charismatic capitalist named Gordon Gekko proclaims, “Greed is right. Greed works.” Libertarians influenced by Ayn Rand make similar pronouncements. Other conservatives occasionally indulge. In 1986, the New York Times columnist William Safire published a sincere “Ode to Greed.”

Americans have an on again off again relationship to greed. In good times, greed is good, and if greed is mentioned it is to praise it’s power as fuel for capitalism.  In bad times, greed is bad and approached with studied surprise that it might be the cause of problems.   Check out this chart listing the times that the NY Times mentions greed – pretty much always in bust times:

A challenge to William Safire, and Ayn Rand suporters – try for a little conistancy.   Where is the benefit of greed from the perspective of today’s crisis?  Is the greed of no holds barred free market captialism that so many conservative Christians and their Repbulican politicians cheerlead still good?  Answer –  greed is bad. It is a sin all the time. The end.


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