Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gordon Gekko's Greed is Good

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.

Greed is good. I talked about this in and I'll talk about it here as well, because it's just that good! Greed as a way of thinking is not to be seen as something inherently evil. Although this runs counter to the new circular (or encyclical I'm not too familiar with what was released) from the Vatican retaining greed as one of the 14 (yes 14) deadly sins. In any case, Greed as one of the Deadly Sins should be seen as more in line with the word Avarice, or as puts it "an insatiable greed for riches".

Yes, Greed or Avarice is still greed at its' very root. However, greed as i mentioned in should be seen as a means to an end, that is a means of generating employment and at the same time satisfying needs and wants. In short, what I would like is for greed to be controlled.

The main difference, I would like to think, is between greed in its "good" sense and in its "bad" sense. In its good sense greed can be used to employ so many people and affect so many lives for the better. An example would be to actually employ fair trade practices. Instead of exploiting situations and people, we could still engage in profitable business but with a social conscience. This has been a thrust in recent times with Corporate Social Responsibility. It should be beyond dole-outs but an actual intent of the enterprise to retain its main purpose of being a profitable business and marry it with a second purpose as an agent of positive social change. This is corporation being greedy and at the same time changing, socially and economically, its means to profit for the better.

The bad sense is when it runs unbridled in the business. If the corporation, or the board of directors, engages in practices meant to achieve a quick-buck goal then chances are it will run counter to the CSR approach. Case in point is Gekko's corporate raiding and most of the Leveraged Buy-Out firms approach of corporate raiding. These practices are engineered to make money without actual production. This results in paper profits. No actual good is caused to the consumers, employees, stockholders and the corporation itself. It generates fast profits but nothing sustainable. It would be good to acquire, turn-around and then sell a business as it begins to generate sustainable profits. Unbridled greed could be seen in Madoff's practices, when people start ignoring danger signs of the venture being beyond the acceptable risk level then there's greed. If all they seek is a quick return without establishing anything sustainable for themselves and for their principals or stockholders then that might be an indicator.

Greed should be a means of guiding our efforts to an end-goal, profits. Greed, however should be controlled so as to prevent it from acting as blinders from the bigger picture. A business is not built on numbers, it is built on people by people.


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  5. Oh ayan pano mo ginawa yan???