Gordon Gecko is now out of prison and back in your local theater and more vocal than ever before. He has become famous for declaring that “greed is good.” He’s right. He’s dead right.
For a number of years I have written about “free enterprise,” its origin and its true nature. Contrary to historical accounts, it is not a choice and never has been. And more so, greed is its most critical component.
I remember being taught in college that Free Enterprise was some kind of economic choice, a choice that we Americans were very proud of having made. We claim to have mastered it and promoted it to the rest of the world. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If free enterprise is not a choice then what is it? Well, it does exist. It’s in all of our lives yet we have never chosen it and never will. It was just there. I say Free Enterprise is a fundamental law of nature. There are three aspects of human nature that qualify it as a law of nature. They are always present as is Free Enterprise itself.
The first aspect is that we humans love to collect things. The second aspect is that we like to have more things than our fellow humans. The third aspect is our innate desire to have some if not all of the things that other humans have.
Given that, we humans have two choices. We go to war and take their things. Or, those more civilized of us, exchange some of our things for some of their things. Hopefully, over time, we do less of the former and more of the latter.
This innate urge to gather things is clearly defined by Webster in five words. “A strong desire for more”. If you look up the definition of greed, these are the words you will find. It may well be that greed is the force that is the cause for the existence of free enterprise. By the way, I do not consider any of this bad. It simply is the way it is. Being aware of it is an access to working with it.
I have also noticed that greed is not distributed equally. Most of us have just the right amount to keep free enterprise operating smoothly. There are those who seem to have too much greed and those who don’t seem to have enough. Those with not enough are declared dysfunctional and just don’t seem to contribute to society. They are simply lost. Those who have an overabundance are also dysfunctional and are often, but not always, sent to prison.
What is to be learned here? If we are indeed thrust into this game called Free Enterprise, then learn the game, learn to play it and learn to enjoy it. Ultimately, we have no choice.
I have been a big fan of Michael Douglas from “Streets of San Francisco” to “Wall Street.” God speed Michael, we need you back up there on the big screen.
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