“Greed is good”

by Ashok Nayar

“Greed is good”. We all know who said it. If you don’t, go watch the movie “Wall Street”. Your life will change. Mine did. Gordon Gekko had it right. Greed is good. And while greed has a negative connotation, the concept behind greed, or the pursuit of wealth is a positive one.

Greed drives productivity. It’s a fact. The cycle goes as follows: Greed/Motivation—–>Innovation——>Productivity. Productivity is the driver behind any capitalistic society. It creates efficiency and leads to even more innovation. When people ask me why do rich people work, I laugh. The standard answer to a question like that is that they are working for the love of work, and not for the pursuit of wealth. I find that to be a load of crap. While they may not be truly working to acquire more wealth, they understand this cycle. If we all became millionaires, and decided that was “enough”, where does innovation come from? Why would we be motivated to create? Innovation comes to a standstill, productivity drops, and society fails.

I won’t deny that greed can lead to unethical decisions. This is inevitable for both weak and corrupt individuals. But if we assume that the majority of the world is not weak or corrupt, then greed, motivation, and the desire to succeed will only lead to the structuring of a more efficient society. And those who are smart enough to see the unethical decisions will ultimately lead to failure will only do the opposite anyways.

When it comes down to it, you have to decide what is important to you in life. If it’s family, do the family thing. If it’s music, do the music thing. But if it’s money, or the desire to create wealth, you better be greedy. And while I suggest you don’t follow Gordon Gekko’s exact footsteps (he ended up in jail), I’d say you should put yourself in situations that allow you to stay hungry. Because otherwise someone hungrier than you will do it better.