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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A New Definition of Greed (Wealth, Middle Class, and Poor)

Some thoughts about a post A New Definition of Greed over on ATS. (that post alone is definitely worth looking at from a moral and economic standpoint) To summarize, greed should no longer be considered "the excessive desire to keep what you earn", but rather a new definition is provided that makes better sense, in the sense that all scams stem from greed, yet all honest business is non-greedy: Greed - The desire to take the fruit of other people's labor without having to work for it.

I define "wealthy" in a mathematical sense, which is making more money than you spend (which is actually the old definition of greed). I define "poor" as spending more money than you make. You're middle class if you make an equal amount of money as you are spending. The desire to make more money than you spend, ergo to be wealthy, is good IMO.

...note - If you are wealthy and you have the desire to give back, there are two ways of doing it. First, you can open or expand a business and pay more people to work for you, which usually brings in even more abundance if done properly, if it's not a loss leader or a "charitable loss investment" then it's a wise business investment. Second, you can donate your excess money to a charity. Third, the government can take it from you (possibly against your will depending on how you voted) and then implement probable loss leaders or donate to a charity of their own (or help the politician get reelected by paying the lobbyists), which does employ or help people some of the time, but of course is likely to be a much less wise investment than you would have made yourself.

The main challenge of the rich is to convince people that they are wiser than the government. Are they? It's a case by case basis. (note - The government, by these standards, falls into the objectively poor and foolish category because the debt is growing at an expanding rate, consequently most rich people are thereby wiser than the government with their own money.)

This is not a political definition of wealthy or poor, but rather a numerical analysis of it. If the time rate of change of your bank account is positive then you are wealthy. Perhaps we can even look at concavity, if that curve is concave up and the t-roc is positive then you are wealthy and wise. If the curve is concave up and the t-roc is negative then you are poor yet wise...etc. Concave down = foolish, no concavity = inflection point or line.

A moral point here is that it all works assuming people are honest about their contributions to progress instead of becoming greedy and scamming others out of their dues. Another thing to think about is that people shouldn't take a loan if they can't pay it plus the interest back. Greed typically leads to debt, which thereby ultimately leads to enslavement. There is no such thing as a free lunch in nature. (I might revise this last paragraph later on, there is more to add here since it is not thought out rigorously enough yet)