greed-is-good

Fracketeering: Life in a capitalist sci-fi horror story

Fracking is the perfect metaphor for the service-charge, extraction oriented economy: “suck up a sky’s worth of valuable gas through a massive crack pipe, then pack up and lumber off to fracture and steal someone else’s underground treasure.”

Ian Martin is incandescent on the financialized casino economy and the greed-is-good, all-the-market-will-bear ethic that says the you can tell that someone is doing something good if they’re doing well.


Read the rest…

anonymous asked:

i haven't really heard much of soul punk, so which songs have the most patrick moaning sounds??? v important

GREED + ALLIE ARE GOOD PLACES TO START….ENJOY THE MOANS

Greed Is Good: A 300-Year History of a Dangerous Idea

Among MBA students, few words provoke greater consternation than “greed.” Wonder aloud in a classroom whether some practice might fairly be described as greedy, and students don’t know whether to stick up for the Invisible Hand or seek absolution. Most, by turns, do a little of both.

Such reactions shouldn’t be surprising. Greed has always been the hobgoblin of capitalism, the mischief it makes a canker on the faith of capitalists. These students’ troubled consciences are not the result of doubts about the efficacy of free markets, but of the centuries of moral reform that was required to make those markets as free as they are.

We sometimes forget that the pursuit of commercial self-interest was largely reviled until just a few centuries ago. “A man who is a merchant can seldom if ever please God,” St. Jerome said, expressing the prevailing belief in Christendom about the relative worthiness of a life devoted to trade. The choice to enter business didn’t necessarily deprive one of salvation, but it certainly hazarded his soul. “If thou wilt needs damn thyself, do it a more delicate way then drowning,” Iago tells a lovesick Rodrigo. “Make all the money thou canst.”

The problem of money-making was not only that it favored earthly delights over divine obligations. It also enflamed the tendency to prefer our own needs over those of the people around us and, more worrisome still, to recklessly trade their best interests for our own base satisfaction. St. Thomas Aquinas, who ranked greed among the seven deadly sins, warned that trade which aimed at no other purpose than expanding one’s wealth was “justly reprehensible” for “it serves the desire for profit which knows no limit.”

Read more. [Image: Library of Congress]

Zero Sum versus Humanism: What's Wrong With Entrepreneurial Culture

I am going to try to not overgeneralize about the entrepreneurial community from this post by Mark Suster, the entrepreneur turned VC, but it’s hard not to, based on my experience in that world and his insistence on calling on the support of ‘every experienced operator in my inner circle’ to support some of the most zero sum economic arguments about business management and human motivations.

I fisk some of his claims in brackets, others I will explore after the quote.

Mark Suster, Understanding the Politics of Startups

Many startups these days are started by young, technical or product founders who are in the idealistic phase of their lives and careers.

[Meaning that at some point we leave our idealism to one side? Once we wise up?]

Thus I hear many talk about “radical transparency” when virtually every experienced operator in my inner circle talks knowingly about that naiveté. It’s not that I don’t love idealism – I was young once, too! – it’s just that the more experience you get in your career the more you come to realize certain truths.

[So wanting new levels of transparency is branded as 'radical’ and associated with being naive, without a discussion of its rationale, benefits, or even negatives. It is simply stamped naive, the outgrowth of childish idealism.]

One of the most common refrains I hear is, “I want to have a company with no politics. You know, no bullshit.” Ok, I ad-libbed the last bit.

But there is no such thing as “no politics” since we’re human beings and we’re genetically wired for politics. It’s called social interaction and understanding peoples’ motives, what makes them tick, who they don’t get along with, what rivalries exist, etc. is a very important part of being a leader.

[The fact that we are wired to be social does not at all justify what is coming next.]

It’s why I wrote a post outlining why the job of a CEO is often “chief psychologist”– especially if the company grows beyond 20 employees.

And it’s why many early-stage companies blow up. We spend all our time as an industry talking about “growth hacking,” “design principles,” or “product/market fit” and not enough about the most important skills for success – people management. 

[…]

Think about it – most of us accept the world of free-market capitalism in which [all] of us acts [sic] as greedy individuals but the well-being is guided by an “invisible hand‘ the ends up maximizing benefits for society.

[No, many of us don’t accept the premises of neoliberal ideology, the self-regulating nature of markets, or the inherent greed of human beings as the foundation of human civilization. Many of us believe that humans are at their best when they strive to put the interests of others – family, community, society, and the world – before their own, and that we have formed governments to in fact moderate the actions of the powerful or unlawful, who may have adopted the premises of greed that Suster baldly states as a law of the universe. And as the economics of the past 30 years has demonstrated, leaving the markets in the hands of people that agree with Suster has not led to 'maximizing benefits for society’, to say the least.]

Of course it sounds nicer to live in a utopian socialist society where everybody has the same amount and life is “fair.”

[Actually, most socialist societies aren’t based on everyone has the same amount of property or money. There are predicated so that everyone has the basics – education, health care, opportunity – and to care for those who are unable to do so for themselves.]

But the reality of why socialism or communism don’t work is precisely because as human beings we’re fundamentally motivated by power and greed and thus those that set out to form perfect societies end up just controlling the resources and people for their own personal benefits.

[The collapse of Soviet style communism, and the faltering 21st century future of democratic socialism as widely adopted in Europe are too large a pair of issues to cover here, but are quite independent of each other. But once again, the notion that they 'failed’ because their leaders or ideologies ignored the basic greediness and power hunger of humanity is not an argument, it is a dogmatic oversimplification to the point of cartoonishness.]

I would argue that each individual team member of your startup trying to maximize their own personal outcomes (promotions, stock option grants, future resume successes, personal wins) produces better results for companies than pretending that we’re not human beings motivated by success.

[I am certain that in any company Suster has led, those were the rules laid down, and those are exactly the sorts of people he would attract and advance: power-mad competitors, putting personal success ahead of other considerations.]


I reject the proposition that idealism and humanism are only for the young, and that with age and experience we naturally adopt a zero-sum, dog-eat-dog philosophy because that is 'human nature’.


This is one proof of a central thesis in my investigations into a new way of work. On one hand we have the contemporary norms of business culture, which, at least here in the US, are grounded on an ideology of human drives and social cohesion that is not too far from Gordon Gecko’s 'greed is good’. This is a worldview that denies the science that demonstrates the opposite to be the fact, that denies the evidence before us, in the wreckage of the world economy, the lost future of our children, and the growing inequities in a society increasingly dominated by people that are in complete sync with Mark Suster’s small-minded, zero-sum theories of business and human motivation.

On the other hand there are the progressives, the freethinkers who reject the neoliberal dogma of winner-takes-all, every-man-for-himself competition, who believe that markets have their place but not all that is good in the world should be managed by unfettered capitalist competition. And in the context of business, we believe that the same holds true.


No, many of us don’t accept the premises of neoliberal ideology, the self-regulating nature of markets, or the inherent greed of human beings as the foundation of human civilization. Many of us believe that humans are at their best when they strive to put the interests of others — family, community, society, and the world — before their own, and that we have formed governments to in fact moderate the actions of the powerful or unlawful, who may have adopted the premises of greed that Suster baldly states as a law of the universe.


I reject the proposition that idealism and humanism are only for the young, and that with age and experience we naturally adopt a zero-sum, dog-eat-dog philosophy because that is 'human nature’. 

On the contrary, my belief is that the fullest wisdom and best leadership trait is to completely invert the presumed order of Suster’s hierarchy of needs. To put the good of others before yourself, and to find ways to share what we have rather than grab as much for yourself as possible. 

What we have come to understand through modern cognitive sciences and new research into human motivation is that people are largely motivated by intrinsic drives: the need for mastery and autonomy in our work, to be loved, to belong, and to gain the respect of those we respect, in turn.

In cultures where respect is only tied to winning and wealth, people may adopt those trappings as the measure of self-worth. But people are not made happier by the extrinsic motivations – more money or more stuff – after they have enough. And people can only be happy if their intrinsic motivations are met, no matter the size of their bank account or how many people report to them at work.


What we have come to understand through modern cognitive sciences and new research into human motivation is that people are largely motivated by intrinsic drives: the need for mastery and autonomy in our work, to be loved, to belong, and to gain the respect of those we respect, in turn.


So, I don’t want to live or work in an entrepreneurial culture of the sort that Mark Suster takes as a given. I think it is a broken remnant of late industrial hypercapitalism, part of the skewed thinking that has led the world to the brink of economic collapse and ecological disaster. And for that I am certain many will call me naive, idealistic, unrealistic, and out of touch with reality. But all they have is ideology: science, on the other hand, is on our side.

The … logic of self-other symmetry means that for the first time in history self-interest has officially been given moral weight: “officially” because in daily life it’s still assumed that generosity ≻ selfishness.



The experts however now have been divided from the folk; and they’re left with the trolley problem.
—  Seth Edenbaum
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The Wolf of Wallstreet

see with the whole “greed is good” thing, lots of other fandoms in similar situatious (cough cough JUSTIN BIEBER cough) would have tried to defend him like “oh no its good so artistic wow good decision justin!!!!”

and we were just like

johnny

what the actual fuck

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 and greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the U.S.A.
—  Gordon Gekko

Greed is good. That bit of twisted moral logic, popularized by Michael Douglas in the movie Wall Street and seemingly adopted on real-life Wall Street, is what David Korten, in Yes! (Fall 2010), calls “the most incredible moral perversion.” So steeped are we in this topsy-turvy view that we don’t even notice that those no-no’s of the Christian faith—the seven deadly sins—have been co-opted by corporate and capitalist entities and turned into virtues.