2009 – 7th Grade Honorable Mention Winner.

Kelly Catlin, Minnesota.

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

The people who made the United States the greatest and strongest country in the world were not greedy in an excessive and wasteful way. They were dedicated to the ethical and moral standards of their professions or work, ignoring most distractions and completely focusing on creating a greed-free society. They succeeded in spite of, not because of, the greed of others. They overcame the negative and costly effects of greed on society. Our founding fathers developed our country and its societies in the hope of the eventual destruction of greed, only to have them be solely impacted and run by greed.
Human nature, considered the essence of greed, is that which evolved for our individual and species survival. We have also evolved, however, the capacity for acknowledging our nature and even subduing it in the forms of love, friendship, and generosity-traits which improve and further society, which is, after all, a group of interdependent people. But what is bad about greed and pleasure, if not used in excess? These are instincts that are necessary for survival. We learn over time that there is a priority list of our needs. We learn that there are some things which we may consider more enjoyable than our basic needs. They may be a priority, but it does not mean that our instinct of getting our basic needs met is bad in most ways.
Everything in the present and future boils down to our decisions, and their impacts on society. Without a doubt, our largest wrecking ball is greed. Why? Look at how much time and money and sweat and tears that we force into our ever-growing pockets of consumerism. Greed drives consumerism, demanding bigger, better and faster. Take a thoughtful look around you, and it will not be long before you realize that our greediness is like a ticking time-bomb, about to explode and take society down with it. Today, greedy corporations are aggressively advertising caffeinated drinks, for example, that are the cause of the recent, horrible case of childhood obesity. Companies are also slowly oozing over the weak walls of restraint formed by sanctions that were created for the very purpose of containing greed in its worst forms. People and their livelihoods are astronomically effected by misleading advertisements for tobacco, alcohol, cell phones, and SUV's that are destroying our health, pride, and the environment that supports our very lives and societies. Even hunters now kill and endanger species that have done us no harm, simply for the cause of greed, and its partner, death.
But some cynics would say that greed is a main driver in society because it is human nature to be greedy and that we don’t want to give away anything unless we absolutely have to. Even when we are giving, we are being greedy. If someone gives some money to charity, he is really giving this sum to a good cause because he feels guilty about the money he has compared to others. To most people he may seem like a good person, but in reality, he is acting selfishly. This raises the question, is greed such and thing in our societies? If we didn’t have greed, maybe selflessness wouldn’t even exist, and our societies truly would be demolished under the heel of greed.
If it is true that even when giving, we are acting under the iron fist of guilt and greed, then can we truly help or give things to other people? The answer is, we can't. Even when we are being greedy by stealing or waging war, or even acting under guilt, humans evolved for the purpose of themselves. The cynic is correct: humans are greedy by nature. But because of our greed, we can do great things, good and bad. Therefore, both giving or acting greedy are controlled by our natural greed. No matter what, our lives and the societies we are a part of are solely under the control of the greed of the world and its inhabitants. Our societies are, and will forever more, be impacted most dramatically by greed.

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