2009 – 5th Grade 5th Place Winner.

Spencer Gordan-Sand, New York. 

Greed or Giving: Which Has a Greater Impact on Society?

Greed or Giving

On your block is there one person who you would deem very giving? Is there one person who you would deem very greedy? Which one makes a bigger impact on society? I believe that the greedy person makes a bigger impact on society. All it took to turn the economy upside down was a few greedy leaders and bank CEO’s who decided to take advantage of loophole in regulation sin the stock market. The philosopher, Machiavelli had a theory that said that all leaders are greedy and their decisions, which are sometimes influenced by greed, have a large impact on society. Some people say that enough people give that their impact is larger than greedy peoples. This is not true. In order to have enough money to give, you must be greedy first. Bill Gates was a very ruthless businessman, which is how he got enough money to create the giving Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The great philosopher Tomas Hobbes also believed that Greed had a bigger impact on society. So, as you can already begin to see, I believe that greed makes a bigger impact on society than giving.
The stock market is a place where you can make or lose a fortune. It is a meeting place for the greedy. But what is greed? The widget dictionary says: “Greed |gred| noun, intense and selfish desire for something, esp. wealth, power, or food.” A group of bank chairman and CEO’s who found loopholes in free market regulations used these loopholes to make large sums of money. These loopholes were discovered when the stock market fell apart and now the government is trying to fix it. But why did these people do this? Professor Michael Walzer of The School of Social Science said, “Competition in the market puts people under great pressure to break the ordinary rules of decent conduct and then to produce good reasons for doing so.” Simply put, greed puts people under pressure to break the law and since the laws is what makes our society run smoothly, when it is broken, it has a large effect on society.
The great Roman philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli thought that the only way for a ruler to achieve power is by being tricky, conniving, and greedy. If this is how all leaders come to power, then they must all be greedy. Since these leaders play such a crucial role in society, there greed must influence their decisions, which in turn influence society. Another great philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, felt that the fear of death and chaos is the most powerful force and that it can drive men to do regrettable things that they might not otherwise have done. Many people feel that money gives them power and believe that without money, they will be powerless. Without money and power, some people can feel like they will soon die, which can make them greedy in their lust for both. The greed of some people is so intense that it makes them do things that they would not normally do in order to gain money. Hobbes was right in my opinion, when he said that fear of death was the most powerful force.
Some people say that people and foundations that are giving make a larger impact on greedy people. This is not so. In order to have enough money to make a major difference in the world, you must first be greedy so that you have enough extra money to give away and still have money for yourself. For example, the multi millionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has donated millions of dollars to people in need and made a major impact on society. But that’s not the only a way he has impacted society; he is a ruthless and greedy businessman who tried to monopolize the computer software market. Many people consider this a very greedy business tactic because it meant that no other companies could market their software. On May 18, 1998 a lawsuit was filed against Microsoft by a set of consolidated civil actions led by a man named Joel I. Klein. Klein won the lawsuit, and the Microsoft monopoly was broken. Bill Gates’ greed and desire to crush the competition made him break the law. Although the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated millions of dollars, those millions of dollars were obtained through ruthless and greedy business practices.
So when you are trying to answer the question, who makes the greater impact on society, the giving person or the greedy person, always remember what the great philosopher Machiavelli wrote and what I believe, which is greed is the bigger influence. The stock market lies in a crumpled heap because of greed, a powerful and sometimes very dangerous force. As the Star Wars Jedi master Yoda said, “Let our emotions fall into the hands of greed and jealousy we must not, or driven to the dark side we will be.” Many of our fellow Americans have been driven to the dark side and are engaged in light saber business duels impacting our everyday lives without even knowing it.

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