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Greed vs greed, what is your brand?

Greed vs. greed

For the umpteenth millionth time, I read someone scolding business owners and investors in general about their innate greed. Seems the only reason they started their business or invested their capital was to make money — wait for it — for themselves. The bastards.

What they fail to understand is that all greed isn’t equal.

What these yahoos fail to fathom is that their greed for producers’ money isn’t the same, nor does it have the same consequences as does a business owner’s or investor’s greed for profits. The reason is that the taker’s greed merely transfers wealth, almost always via some level of force, from one person/business to them. However, when a business’s greed is rewarded with more and more profits, new wealth is created.

This new wealth is then channeled back into the business which produces more profits. These increased profits are then used to expand the business. Why? Cuz the miserable business owning bastard wants even more profits. He then uses his expanded business and increased profits to hire more employees.

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And there it is. The wealth is then spread to the new employees who now have a job. Who’re now payin’ taxes. Who’re now buying things like cars and houses.

See, there’s a huge difference between the ignorant taker whose greed is for the producer’s money. He merely ‘transfers’ wealth. Nothing is created. To the extent he was monetarily enriched, the producer’s bank account was reduced. To the extent the producer’s bank account was reduced, the producer’s drive to expand his business, EARN more profits, and HIRE more employees, is stymied.

Let’s compare Taker Nations to Producer Nations

Ever seen a shot of Korea at night, north and south, via satellite? It’s an awesomely instructive illustration of both kinds of greed. North Korea is virtually blacked out, except for the Palace, which is lit up like a Christmas tree. In a Taker Nation, it’s always the elites who get the goodies, while everyone else scuttles around in the dark.

Meanwhile, South Korea looks like one giant Disneyland on a clear summer Saturday night. One lives on the greed for profits which creates new wealth for everyone willing to pull their own weight. The other foolishly plays the zero sum game, until everybody ends up with — again, wait for it — zero.

Problem is, history shows us there are basically two kinds of takers. Thugs, who simply don’t care, they’re gonna take the other guy’s stuff, regardless. The other is simply ignorant of the completely predictable consequences of their actions. They see a goose layin’ golden eggs, and they want ‘their share’. So they take it. Pretty soon the owners of all those geese begin to disappear.

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This is why North Korea is dark unless the sun is out. It’s why Cuba is the way it is. It’s why East Germany was so poor, while across from the Thug Taker’s Wall, West Germany was thriving. The golden geese pretty much fled to West Germany as they could. Since the thugs were thrown out, ALL of Germany became producers. Wealth was created and the the poverty and hunger of East Germany was cast upon the trash heap of history.

So yeah, I have greed for profits. Are you greedy for my profits? Or are you greedy for your own?

Do you prefer the brand leading to wealth creation? Or are you doomed to eventually live in darkness?

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Written By

Jeff Brown specializes in real estate investment for retirement, has practiced real estate for over 40 years and is a veteran of over 200 tax deferred exchanges, many multi-state. Brown is a second generation broker and works daily with the third generation. With CCIM training and decades of hands on experience, Brown's expertise is highly sought after, some of which he shares on his real estate investing blog.



  1. Karen Highland

    January 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Thanks for echoing many business owner's sentiments. This is Capitalism…Controlled Greed. It has worked for hundred of years.

  2. Ruthmarie

    January 23, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Trouble is – its not WORKING FOLKS. This isn't controlled greed. This isn't healthy greed. This is out of control greed where money is hoarded at the top and little of it makes it into the hands of employees – upon whose backs the business is built. This is robber-baron territory and if it continues you we are going to have an out and out revolution on our hands. This has been a growing trend since the late 1980s. It destroyed my former field so that almost everyone with advanced degrees abandoned their work because it had become a life of poverty. Nothing but a high-tech sweat shop with less than $10/hour for people with doctorates for God's sake.

    My Grandfather was a CEO – he NEVER behaved the way these modern moguls are behaving. If there was a problem, HIS take home was cut first. Firing employees was the court of last resort, not the first thing on the list. It meant slower growth, but healthier growth. The company responded to the needs of CONSUMERS not investors and board members first. He never forgot that in he worked for the customers who bought his product. What we have now has nothing to do with what consumers want or need, it has nothing to do with treating human capital wisely and respectfully. Its a total and utter disgrace.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting a healthy profit. I strive for the same thing as well. However, most of our corporate moguls better resemble the thugs you deride than they do truly productive people who are actually producing something of value. These thugs live off the sweat and toil of millions of Americans and they are no better than dictators because they CONTROL OUR GOVERNMENT. They wouldn't hesitate to throw 99% of the population into an abyss similar to that of North Korea so long as it kept them fat and happy.

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