The theory that greed is what makes our economy function efficiently makes no sense given the reality we see every day. We should all realize the following.
I discussed the Michael Douglas character Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street on my Politics Done Right show on KPFT recently. While many like to refer to Gekko as the prototypical successful capitalist, it is necessary to reevaluate what these guys do.
Remember the greed speech he gave? Here it is in its entirety.
Teldar Paper, Mr. Cromwell, Teldar Paper has 33 different vice presidents each earning over 200 thousand dollars a year. Now, I have spent the last two months analyzing what all these guys do, and I still can’t figure it out. One thing I do know is that our paper company lost 110 million dollars last year, and I’ll bet that half of that was spent in all the paperwork going back and forth between all these vice presidents. The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be survival of theThe Business Ethics Blog
unfittest. Well, in my book you either do it right or you get eliminated. In the last seven deals that I’ve been involved with, there were 2.5 million stockholders who have made a pretax profit of 12 billion dollars. Thank you. I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them! 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.
The most important thing in that entire speech isn't that greed is good. It is how in line greed is with the absence of producing anything of value. Here he admits he made 12 billion dollars just shuffling companies and paper like pawns. Too often we treat these guys as makers when in fact they are the takers.
Here is my rant on this reality on my show. It is only two and half minutes long and is worth a listen.
Tell me what you think and please share.