About greed and its alternative motivation

Professor Williams provides insight into basic economics in discussing Greed and the Greater Good. ‘Greed’ is one of those loaded terms tossed around as a means to impugn capitalism or the US as in CNBS’s show American Greed. As with many of these concepts, looking at the alternative or finding an honest reference can qualify the negativities.

How about the criticism that businesses are just in it for money and profits? That’s supposed to be an anti-business slam but upon simple examination, it reflects gross stupidity or misunderstanding. … Compare our level of satisfaction with the services of those “in it just for the money and profits” to those in it to serve the public as opposed to earning profits [like public education]. … You can bet the rent money that if Wal-Mart and other businesses had the power to take our money by force, they would be less interested and willing to please us….. In the market, when a firm fails to please its customers and fails to earn a profit, it goes bankrupt, making those resources available to another that might do better. That’s unless government steps in to bail it out. … The ruthlessness of the market discipline, which forces firms to please customers and thereby earn profits, goes a long way toward explaining hostility toward free market capitalism.

It would be something if government was run on the basis of an optional purchase. Scary thought. But that is the essence of the federalism originally envisioned in the formation of the United States.

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