Greed is Good

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Karl Polanyi has described “The Great Transformation” which took place in Europe when traditional society was replaced by the market society. This change operated in many dimensions and had many harmful effects. Newspaper articles listed below trace some the effects of this great transformation. An academic article provides a longer and more detailed summary. of Polanyi’s views: The Rise and Fall of Market Economies. A conference presentation on the topic, powerpoint and audio, is available at: Crisis in Capitalism-Causes and Consequences

The Pursuit of Wealth: Religious wars led to emergence of secular thinking in Europe. This eventually lead to the pursuit of wealth becoming a virtue, when it had been considered a vice. The harmful effects of this change are discussed in this article.

Markets Versus Society: Polanyi has described the great transformation that took place as Markets became central to the functioning of society. Many things beyond price became commodities for sale. This has caused huge amounts of damage to humans, societies and environment.

The Pursuit of Profits: How greed became socially acceptable, and how corporate greed has caused great harm to mankind.

Can money buy happiness? At national level, there seems to be no correlation between economic growth (or riches) and happiness in the long run.

The Value of Human Lives:  The idea that the value of human lives can be measured in money was shocking when first proposed by Hume. Now it has become a commonplace. Some of the harmful effects of this idea are described in this essay.

Social Revolutions: This article shows how philosophy and ideology of selfishness and hedonism, the pursuit of pleasure, at expense of society and social obligations, was spread throughout USA, and from there to the rest of the world.

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