Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

September 18, 2008

Thoughts on "The Culture of Greed"

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 6:29 pm

That was a phrase Obama used some time ago, long before the culture of greed threatened the imminent destruction of the economy. We are now learning what it means in practice that market capitalism is “the worst system in the world except all the others”. I’ve never been able to understand how conservatives reconcile belief in “values” with their exaltation of the amoral values of “the market”.

At least on this point history seems to be behind Balzac when he wrote “Behind every great fortune is a great crime.” And if it’s not a crime it’s a contemptible materialism. Conservatives are supposed to be anti-materialist; after all, marxism is materialism. And yet materialism is contemptible as a way of viewing and living life–and the very heart of the market system.

Perhaps its time for both parties and their supporters to stop for a moment and re consider their values. Exessive wealth is not a sign of health, it’s a sign of sickness and disgrace. After you’ve set up your children’s trust funds (fair enough), excessive wealth should not be illegal, but it should be shameful when a billion people on earth live in the daily torment of near stavation.

I think this is what Obama meant by “the culture of greed”, the way we actually admire and celebrate the “values” of the rich which are now so repellantly on parade.



  1. Veblen, Marcuse, Spengler, Midas: greed saps a man of everything but itself

    Comment by charlie finch — September 18, 2008 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

  2. If that money isn’t stuffed in a mattress or buried in the backyard, but instead invested in some constructive way, which is the norm for the vast majority of wealthy people, then it becomes an enabling conduit which employs and supports individuals and families, and becomes the creative juice which multiplies geometrically in a myriad of ways for the benefit of the entire society. The “imminent destruction of the economy”? Along with “global warming”? Well, I try to keep an open mind, but I’ve had enough smug left-wing demagoguery here, so long…

    Comment by Barry Poladsky (Perfected Democrat) — September 19, 2008 @ 12:02 am | Reply

  3. […] speaking of “if only things were more like the late ’60s” . . […]

    Pingback by Virtual Memories » Rated C for Cretinous — September 19, 2008 @ 5:03 am | Reply

  4. What Obama meant by the culture of greed was everyone with more money than him. And especially those opposed to giving theirs all to him.
    I noticed BHO didn’t waste much time making himself wealthy in government.
    As a mans thoughts are, there also will his heart be.

    Comment by WR Jonas — September 20, 2008 @ 1:41 pm | Reply

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