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What is the Objectivist definition of greed?

Is it wanting the unearned? I have found nothing in the lexicon.

asked May 01 '11 at 21:22

capitalistswine's gravatar image

capitalistswine ♦

edited May 02 '11 at 07:41

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

Greed is an anti concept, a smear tactic and a package deal. The word assumes that self interest is wrong. Then it packages it will the violation of another's rights to gain unearned values. Ask yourself this question: Can one be 'greedy' without violating a right?

(May 01 '11 at 23:37) dreadrocksean dreadrocksean's gravatar image

the essence of greed is an unmitigated desire. It does not specify a particular content, just a specific intensity towards that content, whatever it may be. Greed for wealth, greed for women, greed for the unearned, etc...

(May 02 '11 at 00:34) Fareed Fareed's gravatar image

You assume the current definition of 'greed'. An irrational desire is actually - unselfish. The modern understanding of the word 'greed' is synonymous with the word 'selfish' and is the derogatory version of it. Like 'fag' is to 'gay', 'spic' is to 'mexican'. It simply means - 'selfish and I think it evil' - packaged into one.

(May 09 '11 at 10:25) dreadrocksean dreadrocksean's gravatar image
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According to my dictionary, greed is defined as: "intense and selfish desire for something, esp. wealth, power, or food". Of course, by itself, this definition has no negative meaning; it's just as possible to be rationally greedy for something as irrationally greedy for it. However, it's become common to attach a negative connotation to it, just as is common with "selfish".

While I don't think there's an official Objectivist definition for "greed", one can infer from how Ayn Rand used it that she did not accept the negative connotations attached to the word. Indeed, chapter 2 of section 2 in Atlas Shrugged was entitled: "The Utopia of Greed". There are many examples of the looters using the word in the pejorative sense (e.g., James Taggart says: "Ellis Wyatt is a greedy bastard who's after nothing by money"), but there are also a number of examples where she makes it clear that her protagonists reject that definition (e.g., Dagny's first dinner in the valley has several references).

answered May 02 '11 at 12:29

Andrew%20Miner's gravatar image

Andrew Miner ♦

edited May 21 '11 at 02:26

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Asked: May 01 '11 at 21:22

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Last updated: May 21 '11 at 02:26