My Take on Greed


Lately, I've been thinking about greed. In our capitalist system, it does a lot of good by prodding us to become successful financially. But it can also do a lot of harm. People break laws under the influence of greed -- or they do only what's best for themselves, at the expense of everyone else.

Want some examples? Out of greed, mortgage bankers made home loans to people with poor credit histories, then immediately sold the loans. Now when borrowers default, it's somebody else's problem.

Out of greed, Wall Street's investment bankers packaged the same loans in ways that earned the securities undeserved investment-grade ratings, then sold them to eager clients. As those securities are now downgraded to junk, they become pretty close to worthless.

Four of the five biggest firms on the Street -- Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley -- recently took losses in the tens of billions of dollars for subprime skeletons in their own closets.

Comment: Another example of greed: embezzlement to murder to suicide

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