Superficiality Is Spectacular

Not. But this kind of headline would surely please the chuckle-headed editors at the Los Angeles Times who use their musing on corporate participation at the Sundance film festival to¬†proclaim, “Greed is good”. Right away, let’s not lose our balance over the participation itself — the partying, free goodies, and financial support given to independent film makers and others. Sundance is a staging ground for potential commercial successes. Of course corporations want to be there to seek out opportunities to promote their brands and companies. There is nothing necessarily bad in that and much that might — might — be positive. We do live in a world of markets, networks, organizations, friends and families. We do live in a world that must find a way to integrate and blend our concern for value with our concern for values.

But, ‘greed is not good’. Greed has never been and will never be good. Greed’s more modest cousin — self-interest — has and can fuel markets to produce all kind of good. But self-interest and greed are not the same thing. Greed is what drives a sociopathological obsession with value that splits off and subordinates concern for other values. Greed is what causes the yuck-it-up editors to lament that their company ethics policy forbids them from accepting any of the free gifts. Hey, why not? Get on the greed bandwagon. Open yourselves up for all comers. Why not put Jack Abramoff on your editorial board while you’re at it? Or Tom Delay? Or Ken Lay? Or Jeff Skilling? Or Bernie Ebbers? Or Martha Stewart? Or Richard Scrushy? Or Armstrong Williams? Or Duke Cunningham? All these folks believe and behave with full fidelity to the precept that ‘greed is good”. And, hey, look at the kind of country they’ve given us?

Oh, and while you’re at, go home tonight and celebrate greed with your kids. Bring them into the party. Encourage them to go out there and be greedy. And to grow up believing and behaving that greed is good. Go ahead. You say you believe it.

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