2009 – 5th Grade 3d Place Winner.

Noah Amsel, New York.

The Impact of Greed

If someone asked me to support the statement that giving has a greater impact on society than greed, I would not know what to say. If someone asked me to prove the opposite statement, I would have no trouble answering. I believe that greed has a bigger effect on society than giving. Here is what my answer would be: First of all, the economic crisis, one of the worst economic recessions since the great depression, owes its existence partly to greed. Second of all, Thomas Hobbes, one of the greatest and most famed philosophers, said that greed is one of the forces that shapes society. He didn’t say that about giving. Lastly, one of the central proofs of the contrary theory – that giving affects society more – is not reasonable.
Greed has had an important role in one of the biggest issues of today: the economic crisis. We are experiencing the worst economic recession since the great depression. The banks were greedy for money, so they gave loans to people who couldn’t afford to pay them back. They made it seem like the sub-prime borrowers were going to be fine, then increased their payment overtime. Think of it as a bucket brigade. The community trusted the banks to “pass the bucket”, but instead they got a two year old who couldn’t even lift the bucket. By doing this they put the entire community in jeopardy.
Thomas Hobbes was one of the most famed philosophers in human history. One of his main beliefs was that human wants and fears drive the universe. Greed is, by definition, an excessive desire or want. So in Hobbes’ mind, greed is one of the forces that shapes everything. And it has. Hitler, Augustus Caesar, Alexander the Great, the conquistadors, Napoleon, Genghis Kahn, Attila the Hun, and William the Conqueror were all people who acted out of greed for power or riches, and changed history forever.
People who think giving has a greater effect on society may deny greed’s impact on the world on the basis that greed is a desire and a desire does not change anything. They say that just because you want something doesn’t mean you get it. Actually, a human’s want for a certain thing may drive them to do things that they otherwise would not do. Richard the Third of England was, before he was king, made the guardian of twelve year old Edward the Fifth, who was the new king. Out of his greed for power, Richard had Edward and Edward’s brother murdered. This example illustrates how people become willing to do things (like kill your nephew) that they would not do had they not been influenced by greed.
Greed plays a larger role in shaping society and the world both in the past and in the present than giving. One of the reasons that we are in this economic situation is greed. Thomas Hobbes, said that the universe is shaped partly by, you guessed it, greed. Though people think that greed, a desire, will not change anything, it actually changes much. The Roman Empire would have been a small city if it were not for greed. Unfortunately, greed’s effects are usually negative. In sum, greed affects society more than giving, but I hope that changes.

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