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Greed

Essay by   •  October 7, 2010  •  Essay  •  958 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,385 Views

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For more than fifteen years psychologist Julian Edney has visited college campuses across the nation to study the effects of greed in a society where over $100 billion in new wealth accumulates each year. On each of his stays, he would play a game with randomly selected students where 10 metal nuts in a bowl represented 'extra credit'. The students would then take the nuts for a single extra credit point. In this, he promised to double the amount of nuts left in the bowl every 10 seconds. Hypothetically, the game could last forever yielding limitless rewards as the students took turns taking a nut from the bowl. However Dr. Edney determined that 65 percent of the groups couldn't get pass the first 10 second round, and the others could only make it a few more cycles until modest students turned into rambunctious maniacs scrounging for that last nut. Edney's conclusion: Greed trumps trust. (U.S. News Magazine, 6/17/96 Special)

"Small towns and neighborhoods in America used to be cohesive," political scientist Bruce Frohnen pronounced in the May 1999 issue of Family Policy. "They did not seek openness to all ways of life. Nor did they seek economic betterment as the sole proper goal," he added. "Faith and tradition were ruling forces in the lives of Americans, bidding them care for their families and neighbors and their souls, as much as their pocketbooks." But as the material girls and boys grew, so did the need for greed. In a recent study by Roper Starch Worldwide, the values of teenagers moving into the new millennium have drastically changed from their parent's visions. The percentage who said they wanted to earn "a lot of money" grew 25 points from the 38 percent in 1975. Those who said they needed a microwave oven as a necessity rose 19 points, and the percentage that believed life without an answering machine was incomprehensible grew more than 18 points. At the same time, teenagers who believed "developing a meaningful philosophy of life" dropped by 42 percent. However the rise of money's power in student-age adults coincided with a reward system for the newly transpired talents. Repetitive tasks are being replaced by super technology while responsibilities requiring intelligence and skill are more emphasized. It is a "winner take all" society though, where the lopsided share of benefits go to very few players.

The ostentation is not all coming from the upcoming generation though. Many citizens believe the behavior and actions of CEO's in the nations largest corporations play a large part in the growing materialism crisis in America. Graef Crystal determined that of the 500 largest organizations in the country, the average CEO compensation package of salary, bonuses, stock grants, and exemptions was $4.06 million in 1995, up 16 percent from the previous year. That is about 200 times higher than the salary of the average American worker, up only 2.8 percent after the profits grew 14.8 points in 1995. Then again, there are plenty of reasons for the recent uproar in CEO compensation: wealth generated by smart CEO decisions, demanding hours, and the need to retain these services from the gifted individual are vital to a companies success. Plus with the influx in wealth comes a new state of philanthropy. In the January, 1997 edition of Fortune Magazine, president of Soros Fund Management, George Soros, was noted for donating more than $350 million for aiding legal immigrants and

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