Greed, or avarice, is a vice of character that consists in an excessive desire to acquire things, including, but not limited to, money, wealth, or possessions.
In some religious traditions – Christianity, in particular – greed is viewed as a sin.
Secular and religious traditions alike view greed as a vice of because the excessive desire that characterizes it may overwhelm, or lead the greedy person to ignore, other considerations.
Most would agree that it is a bad thing to disregard one’s relationships with other people, one’s common decency, or one’s integrity for the sake of, for example, money. Since greed often leads a person to disregard or overlook these considerations, greed is a bad thing.
In addition to overwhelming, or causing a person to ignore, these considerations, greed can also lead a person to disregard moral considerations, in which case greed may result in immoral conduct.
Financial scandals, such as the recent Raj Rajaratnam and Bernie Madoff cases, are often attributed to greed. In both the case of Mr. Rajaratnam and the case of Mr. Madoff, illegal and immoral measures were taken in order to acquire massive profits.« Back to Glossary Index