Greed and the philosophy of wealth

Greed and the philosophy of wealth
Greed and the philosophy of wealth

It’s common wisdom that most things in life are best in moderation. Most of us agree that owning property is okay but are hard-pressed to say why or when it has gone too far. Greed dominates your life if the pursuit of wealth is a higher priority than charity, kindness, and solidarity with others.

John Locke and the Philosophy of Property

John Locke argued that one can hold any property if it meets the following three criteria:

  1. It can be used before it spoils (e.g., we don’t have huge stores of food that just rots).
  2. It leaves “good and enough” for everyone else (e.g., one person cannot own all the land in a country).
  3. The property must come from your own work and effort

Too much greed

  • The desire to do good, to work hard, and to succeed is admirable parts of the human condition, but when they are taken to excess, they turn into greed
  • We’re so fixated on our current day-to-day condition, that we lose sight of how much we really have

Greed über alles

  • Greed is when we are loath to spend our money and devote all of our waking lives to accumulating more and more at the expense of our relationships
  • This is when greed replaces our common sense of compassion
  • Property and wealth become virtues greater than charity, kindness, and solidarity