Threatening to Devour

Reference work entry

Greed is blamed for the malfunction of financial markets. But there is more to it than that, argue Amitava Krishna Dutt and Charles K. Wilber who see greed and dishonesty overlapping across the economic spectrum.

In the wake of the global financial crisis, President Obama declared that ‘the days of reckless greed are over’ adding, ‘We will not go back to the days of unchecked excess [when] too many were motivated only by the appetite for quick kills and bloated bonuses.’ In any discussion of the crisis, greed has figured as a major cause. But what do we mean by greed? A clear definition is hard to find. Taking as our framework the neoclassical concept of individuals in pursuit of maximum utility, greed may simply be the accumulation of goods and money in preference, say, to leisure time spent with others.

But greed is also used to describe behaviour that transgresses laws and regulations. This might include insider trading and falsifying accounts. The problem here is that it is not...


  1. Dutt, Amitava Krishna and Wilber, Charles K., Economics and Ethics: An Introduction. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.Google Scholar

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