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Greed is the Greater Good: Why Avarice is a Virtue

Updated on January 25, 2017

Productiveness before Charity

Mr. Jones Takes the Podium
Mr. Jones Takes the Podium | Source

The Triumvirate of Greed

The trio of businessmen who in their careers amassed huge fortunes by employing their rationality and independence, Paul Tudor Jones, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs, did so because each man was greedy. These men inspired their business partners and subordinates to achieve more and flourish.

60 Minutes showed footage of Jones as once a young, energetic trader who got fired up by each transaction. Then they portrayed him as a Robin Hood figure that gives billions away to the poor. His own charitable organization modeled after the Prince of Thieves has issued more than $1 billion. But what about the hundreds of millions of lives that he improved by implementing trading instruments to start or further the growth of companies? While Jones may help potentially thousands and maybe a few million people through his offerings, the real honorable action that he displayed was his business acumen and sound judgment. That's how he garnered billions and what has sustained him. This dichotomy demonstrates the manner in which society views the prosperous, wealthy individual. It is okay for business people to make their money just so that they give it away.

The Meaning of "Greater Good"

Bill Gates received the same treatment from the CBS news program. He visited villages in Africa in hopes of eliminating malaria and polio, and then they cut to the domineering software magnate of the 1980's and 90's who pushed for perfection in the workplace. Steve Jobs did not participate in philanthropy. His virtue was not in relinquishing his riches, but instead illuminating the fact that one who creates wealth and keeps it is the best thing one could do. Now, while it is not evil to give of yourself, it should be done out of benevolence not guilt. And that is what Gates and Jones have failed to do. With each man's respective charitable organization, what is revealed is the moral code which demands that one sacrifice: selflessness. Where greed lays out the foundation for excellence and an individual pursuing goals, selflessness demands that one must renounce his values and expect nothing in return. Although Gates and Jones give billions of dollars, they still appear to enjoy their altruistic actions. Jones covers mainly the American front while Gates reaches out to the world, especially Africa. Jones would be looked at as more selfish because his Robin Hood Foundation is centered on helping others in the United States in New York City. But Gates, even though the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is headquartered in Seattle, is closer to giving nirvana by placing his efforts on another continent. Somehow, these men have forged in the minds of the world that you can be ambitious, relentless, and determined in forming a business but you must also contribute to some “greater good.” What does that mean, anyway? The collection of individuals reaping the benefits of some philanthropist who seeks to belittle his fiscal accomplishments and prize contributions is what is meant by that phrase. Yet it is incorrect.

Jones' View of Capitalism and Greed

Bill Gates Personifies Greed

Mr. Gates in lecture mode
Mr. Gates in lecture mode | Source

Greed at the Movies

The greater good is greed. Although the classic film Wall Street (1987) portrays a villain uttering the phrase “greed is good” it ought to be reserved for the virtuous men and women who devise new products and services which people value. Greed is what allows the most downtrodden low life to aspire for more in his life. Greed introduces the spirit of industry and presents a vision for intelligent, focused individuals to attain a life that they deserve. Greed is about justice. It says that whatever you make in this life is yours to keep only. To hand someone some money or devote your time to a cause is purely peripheral. What makes a person truly good is his capacity to engage with the world and craft it in the shape of his own vision.

Gates and Jobs in Discussion

A Greedy Life

What is more than pernicious is the notion that because Steve Jobs shunned philanthropy then that is why he was “cursed” with cancer and didn’t have as many billions as Bill Gates. As atrocious as this line of thinking is, it is important to point out how mysticism is at the root of such wicked thoughts. Only a malicious and malevolent mind could concoct such a construct. Jobs developed cancer not as a curse but as a physical malady. His zest for life, inventiveness, and understanding of the world around him ought to be remembered, not the fact that he succumbed to a disease.

Though he may not have had Gates’ dollars, he still had enough billions to retain for himself and his family. This is in no way saying that Jobs was not as productive or less creative that Gates. Actually, Jobs encouraged more innovation and improvements at Apple and shined brightly as a wizard of modern technology. His influence far outweighed his money. Jobs instituted a culture of achievers, contemplating and then executing on the problems and solutions, respectively, of his day. His greed emboldened him to risk epic failure and come out on top as a winner.

It is in each of these men’s formative years in business which generated their billions. If it had not been for their avaricious nature, companies may have not been able to launch, Windows would have only been a figment in some programmer’s mind, and the iPhone would have never seen fruition. As they drove for ever greater performance and results from the people around them, they fostered an environment which primed the best workers to go further and reach higher.

A Different Speaker

Steve Jobs in thought
Steve Jobs in thought | Source


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