"Greed is Good!"
This was a good slogan to get people interested in John Stossel's recent speech. But three words are not enough to express complex ideas. So what ideas lie behind this catchy slogan?
This slogan was popularized by the 1987 movie Wall Street. But this movie was an attack on capitalism, which portrays a character advocating a distorted version of free market economics before committing white collar crimes.
The truth is that greed has good effects in the free market. It has good effects because in the free market, people who want more for themselves cannot rob, steal, or cheat. Thus they must convince people to give them money by providing them with valuable goods and services. Both sides benefit, since value is subjective and people value goods differently.
Greed has terrible effects in an unfree market. Specifically, government greed is destructive because government can take people's money by force. This greed can bankrupt a country.
Greed isn't good by itself. But greed will exist no matter what economic system a nation has. the free market is the system that best channels it to constructive purposes.