Saturday, March 10, 2012

Greed is good. Hunger is better.

We have all the heard the famous "greed is good" speech from the film Wall Street:

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.

Apart perhaps from Ayn Randians, this speech doesn't sit well with most people; mainly because the word greed is used. The word greed upsets the left for obvious reasons, but even many capitalism-friendly, free market boosting Republicans aren't comfortable with it. After all, greed is one of the seven deadly sins, and many of these folks profess some type of religion.

But consider how much different the reaction would be if the word greed was replaced with hunger.

Hunger is right, hunger works. Hunger clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Hunger for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.

Hunger is good conveys effectively the same message as greed is good. The constant hunger for MORE. The hunger for money, love, knowledge, etc. Free market sloganeers would be all over it:

"Hunger for success is what drives the entrepreneurial spirit!"

"The private sector has that hunger those public sector bureaucrats lack!"

"Thank goodness for the hunger of Steve Jobs!" (is there any conversation he's not involved in?)

"Hunger is good" wouldn't be a guilty pleasure at all. Even your typical dime-store commie (there are no dime-stores under communism) would cheer the "hunger for knowledge" part.

I guess what I'm saying is what's in a word? As usual...A LOT. Because if it weren't for the scandalous nature of the word greed, the speech wouldn't have raised so many eyebrows in the first place.

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