Class War in America: the Book
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The War Against
Greed is always in the news. The activists and advocates of this world are guaranteed to hit the greed button any time certain subjects come up: chief executive officer compensation, for example. Or threats to the rain forest. Or lowering the tax rate on capital gains.…
It is worth recalling that greed (a.k.a. avarice) is at bottom a religious concept. It is one of the seven deadly sins, a package that seems to have originated in Christian monasticism in the Middle East, and was brought to the Western world around A.D. 400, apparently by Roman monks. In the medieval Church all seven sins were deemed especially wicked and all required special penitence. Nobody is demanding penitence today.…
Face it: Self-interest is a universal human trait, a near-defining characteristic of Homo sapiens.… But if everybody is greedy (defined as “self-interested”) then how can greed be the explanatory variable that accounts for business success? …“greed.” Let’s deep-six the damned word.
—Dan Seligman, “Out, out, damned word!” Forbes, March 9, 1998, 88-92.
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