I watched the movie Wall Street last night. I hadn't seen it in awhile so I really enjoyed it.
Of course, one of the most famous parts of the movie is when Gordon Gekko makes the argument that greed is good. Is greed good? Gordon Gekko answers his own question with a strong yes. He says that greed is what leads people to make things, build companies, strive to do and get more.
My answer is no. To say greed is good and that it is the basis of our economy is similar to saying that over eating is good and that it is the basis of human life. Things done in excessive amounts are usually negative. Yes, we can strive for things and protect/further our self interests, but greed is when we take those attempts too far.
Capitalsim and the market are great on many levels. However, the excesses of the market (including the greed of the participants) is why we need capitalism to be balanced with the justice of democracy.
My favorite part of the movie was at the end when the regulators come in and arrest the lead characters. Just when you thought they were getting away with the manipulation of the market, the role of justice comes in to put an end to their excessive acts based on their personal greed.
Greed is not good. It is taking something that is good and going too far with it. Sometimes the greed of people is moderated by themselves or by others. Sometimes we need government regulations to keep greed in check. Stopping greed does not mean we are stopping the market or capitalism. It means we are stopping the excesses of the market. These excesses threaten to weaken the acceptability and legitimacy of the market system. Stopping greed is good for the market and the capitalistic system.