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Mr. Greenspan, in his interview towards the end of the cnbc special, “House of Cards” made a statement about attempting to legislate against greed and how it wouldn’t work. He is wrong.

There is a reason that we legislate against murder, even though murder continues to be committed despite those laws. Greed in some forms is such a destructive and selfish, self-serving mechanism at tremendously catastrophic costs to others, not only to individuals but also as a society, that to an extent we have and we do legislate against those destructive forms, pathways, choices, decisions and behaviors.

At many times in our history, it has worked to stem the undermining tide of effects that overly pervasive and unbridled greed can have on the equality of opportunities for all and against the strength of economic, social and collective foundations of prosperity.

Neither murder nor greed can be fully thwarted by legislation, nor by agreement of all, nor by directing every choice of every individual. None of these stop fully the choices of some to engage in those follies to the expense of us all. However, our entire society does not have to be brought down simply and swiftly because we chose to do nothing and let greed (or murder or perverse sexual passions or ignoring rules of the road when it suits anyone) choose for all of us.

Mr. Greenspan is wrong. We all believe in a free market economy just as he claims that he does. Greed is not a driver of the free market superseding all else. And, it shouldn’t be given the rein to take over as the dominant force in driving the markets and the free market economies anywhere because it is destabilizing, it is inherently unstable by virtue of bad choices that it manipulates and keeps hidden, it is destructive to massive sectors of the economy and to the people that economy serves and it ever walks the line of criminal behavior wandering aimlessly across that line on a regular basis.

Healthy prosperous free market economies are driven by many passions in their measure but greed is not given a front seat. To build strong economic foundations, the basic principles of a free market economy include:

  • necessity,
  • value,
  • wonder,
  • equality of opportunity to participate,
  • reasonable guidelines and regulations that are equitably applied to all,
  • appropriate channels of distribution and open access to the marketplace,
  • interested buyers with available funds for purchase and access to the marketplace,
  • honesty,
  • genuineness,
  • products and services of value,
  • integrity,
  • decency,
  • timely need or demand for whatever the commodities offered
  • and coordinated fair business practices and methods.

Nowhere in this list does greed takeover the show and run it to the exclusion of all else. That is what doesn’t work.

– cricketdiane, 02-16-09