Greed - Vital to Human Welfare Essay

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Greed - Vital to Human Welfare

What's the noblest of human motivations? Some might be tempted to answer: charity, love of one's neighbor or, in modern, politically correct language: giving something back to the community. In my book, these are indeed noble motivations, but they pale in comparison to a much more potent motivation for human action. For me the noblest of human motivations is greed. I don't mean theft, fraud, tricks, or misrepresentation. By greed I mean people being only or mostly concerned with getting the most they can for themselves and not necessarily concerned about the welfare of others. Social consternation might cause one to cringe at the suggestion that greed might possibly be seen as a noble motivation.
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The reason Texas cattle ranchers and Idaho potato farmers make those sacrifice is that they love themselves. They want more for themselves. In a word, they are greedy!

But that is the miracle of the market. Through serving the wants of one's fellow man, one acquires more for himself. That is precisely what Adam Smith meant when he said, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantage." Adam Smith added, "By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of society more effectively than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good." One might pause here for a moment and ask: How much beef and potatoes would New Yorkers enjoy if it all depended on human love, charity and kindness? I'd be worried about New Yorkers.

Greed or if you like "enlightened self-interest", promotes other wonderful outcomes. It's nice that present generations conserve on scarce resources in order to make those resources available to future generations. Owners of buildings make sacrifices of current consumption, and spend resources on maintenance that extends the useful life of
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