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Bernie Madoff: An American Greed Story

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❶The common knowledge principle was still is that humans will always choose pleasure over pain. It is about ulcers as well as accidents, about shouting matches as well as fistfights, about nervous breakdowns as well as kicking the dog around.

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However, no matter how Claudius may have been a good king, he is not armed with legitimacy, and thus he has no right to the throne. In this, Claudius has, by the time of the meeting between the ghost and Hamlet, not yet been punished. Yet the Hamlet figure is pivotal in the play, for although Horatio is possibly a better example of human perfection, Horatio has no power whatsoever to fight corruption. Unbefitting his important role, Hamlet does not do enough to prevent corruption and greed spreading to other people, only making sure himself is clean, and this slowness in action has some serious consequences for Denmark.

Like dominoes, one character after another fall into the trap of corruption. Polonius, always a shrewd, scheming man, collaborates with the king in shamelessly sacrificing Ophelia as their bait to dig out the secret of Hamlet.

Later on, Laertes, encouraged by the king, does not hesitate to use underhand methods to kill Hamlet. This idea of the rapid infection of Denmark by corruption is also reinforced by the extended metaphor of the weed. In the end, while Hamlet succeeds in killing Claudius, Denmark is not any better than it started out to be. Although corruption is very deceptively attractive and is embraced by many characters, it brings true happiness neither to those who submit to it nor those who do not.

In a corrupted world, everybody lives a state of uncertainty and fear, for nobody can trust anybody else, nor oneself. It was later discovered that Madoff had been orchestrating the Ponzi scheme since early s and according to some accounts, it has been said that the scheme had started in early s. The firm used to produce a false paper trail which was sent to the clients to present a false impression of the financial position of the firm which led towards investment by the investors.

Later, gains were fabricated and false financial performance reports were released. Madoff was held guilty for 11 federal felonies and he sent to prison for years which is the maximum number of years in prison allowed. The story of Bernie Madoff is the perfect representative of American greed and its consequences.

The consequences faced by Madoff are exemplary and they set a precedence for anyone who intends to make wealth by fraudulent means. A list of the key ingredients should always be by your side.

Conniff traces this old saying to Balzac: And what of our popular belief the wealthy are that way because they work very hard? Conniff interviewed one extremely wealthy woman who told him, "I'm the most normal, normal person, I'm not like most rich people. I work really hard. Most rich people I know don't do anything but eat, drink, sleep, pardon the term, fuck, and have a good time" But evolutionary psychology says many of our more complicated behaviors are partly genetic.

The implications ripple across our legal system. Think of the possibilities: Evolutionary psychology is deliberately pushing into public policy. The appearance of a new book Evolutionary Psychology, Public Policy and Personal Decisions shows its intended scope But two topics - we might not have guessed which - are keeping biologists agitated.

Are we run by selfishness? And how important is the individual, as opposed to the group? But the central issue being kicked around: Or does a species of animal also need another type of behavior, like cooperation or altruism, in which members help each other?

One camp, the hard-nosed Darwinists, says yes to selfishness — that also means genes-powered greed, genes-powered waste-to-impress 28 — and no to altruism. Selection between whole groups. Darwin said natural selection happens between individuals. But what about selection between communities and herds and flocks? This issue is so hot, arguments between sober academics almost read like kids having tantrums. The point is this: A group of only selfish individuals is weakened from within.

And these two issues go hand-in-hand. Daniel Batson writes on this debate. At this point, sociobiology is new and unsure. It keeps issuing statements then correcting itself. Does natural selection exclude group selection? Yes; correct that, no. Does natural selection produce only selfishness? Yes; correct that, no Actually this is not just a scuffle under the stairs among academics.

So a lot of people are watching this fight When these infant disciplines finally get their sea legs, they will bring home the bogeyman of all questions, because selfishness and altruism are not just behaviors, they are moral values.

Who does this sound like? It would change the basic assumptions of both of their whole theories. And we get the hint that Charles Darwin and Adam Smith were singing off the same sheet of music. Any alliance between biology and big money should keep us nervous. This alliance has a scurrilous history. Spencer became very popular with the monied classes towards the end of the nineteen century. On the lecture circuit in America he said humans, like the animals described by Darwin, are all in a competition for survival.

For wealthy industrialists to exploit and discard hordes of the poor in their factories was also understandable. The poor were the unfit. Spencer also said welfare - even charity - was a bad idea. It encouraged the poor, who would multiply and spread their unfitness.

Overall, did the rich prosper at the expense of the poor? Of course - and in the long run, Spencer said, this was good for a nation. At the time, communist ideology was flourishing in Europe, and the argument that the workers were going to control everything was turning Russia inside out like a glove. Socialism was on the rise in Europe, and America decided to keep one eye on its poor. Pro-worker feeling grew and between the World Wars, President Roosevelt built a more poor-friendly, worker-friendly atmosphere, and started Social Security.

But it is now sixty years since WWII, and times have changed again. Science itself made vast progress, reaching peaks, so that at it could point back at a moon walk, the atom opened, the defeat of plagues as points on its startling ascent. Today science has tectonic credibility. If a layman attacks science, nobody listens. But this topic, Darwinism, will not sit down. Among the few with credibility to question science are philosophers.

Philosophers are carefully trained in logic. Philosopher Richard Perry, in the staid journal Ethics , quietly walks up and kicks the struts out from under sociobiology. Is it really science? Or is it a con? Perry shows the logic under all sociobiology to be not the grid of deductive logic you would expect in science, but only a patchwork of analogies. Now there is a certain use for analogies, but analogies do not prove anything, they only show likenesses.

The best use of analogies is in the persuasive arts, oratory and poetry. Analogy is the warp-and-woof of sociobiology. If you want to say humans are aggressive, describe the aggressiveness in rats — show the similarities. If you want to prove humans territorial, talk about the territoriality of mockingbirds - invite the similarities. Perry says, but wait. Why these analogies in the first place? Why are we studying animals to understand humans? Would you investigate houseflies by studying blue herons?

It is more like weaving a net with the study of animals and throwing it over humans. And it should tip us off to ulterior purposes. We should look for what else it does. Perry urges us to decline trust in sociobiology. It is engaging reading. But it does what Herbert Spencer did. It gives comfort to perpetrators of social injustice The next point in this essay is that Social Darwinism, or some modernized variation, is rising again. Supported as a science, our neo-Darwinism is fed by hours of exquisite photography on Discovery Channel where we repeatedly watch hungry leopards stalk innocent deer, fell them and gorge on their entrails hour after hour.

Darwinism has a dangerous ally. Another twist in logic, which always gate-crashes the party and says, if it happens in nature, it must be right. But the problem is, you cannot logically convert a fact into a right. Morality should step in. It took a long time to get that right in western civilization. Then as now, using analogy as a justification for ignoring human pain and fear, or creating it, is a perversion. Social Darwinism will be much harder to get rid of this time.

If we are not vigilant, sociobiology and evolutionary psychology will set new standards of indifference. The implications are stirring. What if our politicians and policy makers, administrative agencies and bureaucracies, our military, our justice system, our legislators, watching, all believe that rich and poor, good and bad, winning and losing are in the genes? Laissez-faire was the table-thumping cry of monopolistic big business in the s through the s — overlapping the Populist era, but on the capitalist side.

Will power was a virtue, expansion always seemed the way to go, and everything was believed to be better if it was bigger. The Crystal Palace, the Eiffel tower, and the Titanic were industrial symbols.

The concept traces back to , and it means government abstention from interference with individual action, especially commercial action. But it was found that if business was not restrained at all, the economy rose and fell in a cycle of peaks and destructive crashes. Second, it produced monsters that worked people to disease or death.

This is what the Populists battled. The battle was rough and long, with repeated strike actions, and poverty and despair for workers. Laissez-faire , the philosophy of robber barons, was eventually collared and muzzled, notably in Supreme Court decisions headed by Justice Brandeis who saw unfettered business practices as an eventual threat to democracy.

It took many years to produce a real turn. The Seattle General Strike of was another attempt to break through. Eventually both Social Darwinism and laissez-faire were abandoned. Laissez-faire is rising again. The Libertarian Party, formed in , looks New Age-ish. Libertarians promises a bright new beginning, the kind of thing that always attracts young people with spirited talk about freedom from authority.

In fact libertarians almost never stop talking about freedom. Individualism is what a society is all about. The promotion of self, and self-interest, life, liberty and property rights are important. Businesses and markets should also be free from restraint. Here are its founding assumptions.

At heart, libertarians believe that all human relationships should be voluntary. They think there is a natural harmony of interests among people, and any society works by a sort of spontaneous order. In politics, libertarianism claims to be against both the left wing and the right.

It states opposition to fundamentalist religion as much as against any state agency - both threaten individual freedom. How do we know the old ideology of laissez-faire is in here? Because a book which explains the basics, by David Boaz executive vice president of the Cato Institute called Libertarianism: A Primer , says so. It states that laissez-faire capitalism is the answer to everything because it brings incredible wealth to all.

Justice in Two Pages. Those founding assumptions are nonsense. Some are excessively greedy. Some people prefer power, which tends to corrupt. Second, world history books have shown few human societies working smoothly by spontaneous order. What does libertarianism say about exploitation?

Next, its treatment of justice is negligible. And what does it say about equality? Just over one page is given to equality. Consider a modern concern. What about big-business abuse of the environment? Among other points in the book - to give environmentalists nightmares - is that libertarians see no contradiction between industry expansion and the environment.

Reading Libertarianism reveals something much more troubling. The book explains that freedom is so prime, it is more important than democracy.

Libertarianism is disinterested in democracy. Rather, libertarians believe in Natural Law, laws seated in ancient, even tribal, crude customs, which are hardly enlightened ways. There is actually a fringe element among libertarians, gaining momentum, which seriously wants to dismantle democracy in America 36 which it interprets as mob rule. While this style of business in the s, for profits, freely harnessed uneducated millions of the poor into sweatshops and mills, at wages that always seemed to keep them frightened and hungry, all those problems are now forgotten by libertarians - as if the century had no shadow.

Corporate businessmen cite as their biggest enemy, government. They see greed as a solution rather than a problem. They despise the push for equality as a death-knell.

They refer to justice as something the envious dreamed up For them, democracy is no more than a bright tinsel wrapping to be torn off the moment it poses any real constraint to their freedom. Despite these concerns, our market economy is not weakening in any way. At this point in history, capitalism is just getting started on a second Big Bang.

We are recently launched into another expand-or-die wave that dates back approximately to the fall of the Berlin Wall and is already showing geometric power. And, less benevolently, by the starting of foreign wars, which require repairs, for which we provide contractors, whose profits return to us. This new wave is not powered by any single ideology. But this odd combination of Social Darwinism and laissez-faire is a soil mixture that produced the explosive capitalism and empire-building at the turn of the last century, and it will work again.

I say odd combination because these two theories are actually contradictory. Libertarians should look over their shoulders. Sociobiologists say even the functioning of our societies is constrained by our genes, so the idea of us choosing to expand our liberties is hilarious to them.

These two theories were also contradictory a hundred years ago. Turn on the television and watch our national leaders talk policy. They explain we are bringing our way of doing business to foreign lands because capitalism brings democracy. We are the bringers of fortune, uplift, goodness, opportunity and freedom for all - the best destiny humanity has to offer.

Just because this argument is delivered from a podium bathed in rotating lights does not make it true. It is also broken logic. One of the main events in capitalism is the creation of inequality. We recall that the two basic values of democracy are freedom and equality. They are the two wings on which that exalted bird flies.

And we notice these official speeches on foreign policy promise freedom, but they never promise equality. We cannot export equality. Second, a point always omitted from these speeches is that capitalism comes in different species. One type is authoritarian capitalism and it is decidedly undemocratic.

A governing power, sometimes a military dictator, promises businessmen they will make astonishing profits if they just follow his orders.

This - the melding of business and state - happens to be one of the elements of fascism. Another defining element of fascism is that inequality is a virtue. But free market economics are being built everywhere. This is so powerful, it has the face of a titan. So we cannot do it any harm, analyzing it. We have plenty of time to pull up our chairs, and at our leisure examine its beating heart.

The major musculature of our modern free markets is corporations. Corporations are collections of people doing business. Other types of business entities exist, sole proprietorships and partnerships, but corporations are surely the largest.

Some corporations are more wealthy than some countries. They inspire joy in some people, fear in others.

Corporations have been harshly attacked in several books by investigative reporters. As a rule, they lack transparency. And they seem invulnerable surrounded as they are by walls of lawyers 38, Many corporations hire their own economists so they are also difficult to comprehend.

But these attacks have made no difference. One book, however, written by a lawyer, may make a difference. It translates the stygian legalese and economics into common language. The book is no less frightening. The author reveals the corporate Achilles heel. Bodies in Two Parts.

From the start corporations were peculiarities, being bodies that are split into two parts. Directors and managers run the firms, but stockholders own them. And the stockholders are an ever shifting bunch, being owners today, sellers tomorrow.

Most stockholders have no interest in how the firm does business. They only look at the daily value of the stock. Since the only business of a corporation is to make profit, this is a recipe for corruption, because the stock's value can fluctuate on rumor and reputation, and a firm might grow wealthy on lies, or by overcharging, or by selling a dangerous product, or by not doing anything except issuing promises, and the stockholders are just as delighted.

And then return to do it again. Most of what we know as morality and humanity are externalities. This breakage can have enormous effects on the world. Corporations are externalizing machines, says Bakan. Yes, there are some corporation CEOs who exercise morality and judgment. But they are not supported by Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, who believes the only moral duty of the corporation is to put profit over social and environmental goals and business guru Peter Drucker thinks likewise.

He likens corporations to psychopaths sociopaths. For his book he interviewed Dr. Robert Hare, a psychologist and expert on psychopathy, to get a list of personality traits that psychopaths exhibit no empathy, asocial behaviors, manipulativeness, no conscience, no remorse and then tries those out on corporations. For instance corporations return repeatedly to make profits from things they know are lethal and that strew grief - cigarettes, cars that catch fire in crashes, drugs with devastating side effects - because the money is there.

In corporate culture there is an emerging social order that is wide and dangerous, as dangerous as any fundamentalism, Bakan states. I will return to this point in the later section on remedies Tens of millions of regular folks work in corporations, of course, which gives them the surface look of well fed averageness.

But because of their aggressive business agenda, they also attract some odd personalities. Suave and charming, manicured starters of conversations, many look like they come from the pages of GQ. There are plenty of lissome women sociopaths too.

Consummate actors, you melt when they talk to you. They are smooth as glass. They exhibit a tapered arrogance. In corporate maneuvering they have no loyalty, virtually no emotion, and no conscience. Promiscuous in friendships as in sex, they start instantly and leave an alliance instantly it creates advantage.

Their specialty is stirring and steering feelings in others without being touched themselves. Usually the epitome of self control, they are capable if cornered of sudden viciousness.

Few will challenge them, sensing that underneath is their calculated enjoyment of the destruction and humiliation of others. This is not a new type of personality. But in modern culture, where success has become separated from honor, they thrive. The sole passion they have is to win. The particular combination of sociopathy and high intelligence is a prototype for business success.

You may have one at your picnic; there was one in your classroom at school; at one time you probably tried to date one. Stout sketches a prototype sociopath growing up. He came from a privileged city family and stole from his parents. He was so intelligent he cruised through college almost without studying and, graduating with an MBA, he was quickly hired by a large corporation, where he proved he could sell anything.

He makes many millions of dollars for the company and enjoys his female subordinates as sexual plunder. Stout explains that the brains of sociopaths work differently. Stout also says there is a genetic base. Sociopathy runs in families and is partly hereditary — she estimates about 50 percent of it is inborn There is debate among evolutionary psychologists over whether psychopaths are mentally disordered i. From an evolutionary point of view, this type is becoming more common.

Our culture is unwilling to stop them. We furiously promote these smooth surfaced, antisocial people when they turn their talents to making money for the company. Wrap this all around in the ruthless ideology of Social Darwinism, and nobody is safe. Democracy itself is not safe. What he often practices in the corridors and boardrooms is coercion and intimidation. Why is this type so successful? And the reason for that is that the system is malignant.

History contains several examples of sociopaths who have flattened democracies. Large corporations sometimes hire high-ranking specialists and managers who come with personal problems which wear everyone down. These people are not just occasional curiosities; they can be found in every large organization. Company owners are aware of these scabrous personalities under the roof, but are startled to find out just how much they are draining the company since their styles affect many other people.

In her book Red Ink Behaviors she gives illustrations. These personalities are not easy to confront. They are extremely judgmental, to the point of mild paranoia, and if confronted they turn rabid or wall themselves up in their offices which is devastating to company morale, creating ripples of anxiety across the cubicles.

And because coworkers usually back away from them, the offenders interpret this as a win, and they do it again.

So the toxic atmosphere spread by these bullies is borne, and everybody dreads going to work Adam Smith never talked about these odd personalities. But individual self-interest will not explain everything. You cannot build a successful economy with something like self-interest any more than you can toss a bunch of boards in the air and expect them to come down in the shape of a house. Which means a search. Requiring a long journey through rarified concepts?

No, I believe the search will take us places we already know. And I am swayed by Nietzsche and his habit of scorning academics who want to make things complicated. They are in the street. Particularly they are in places we don't expect.

We don't care to look down. Is it because that direction is filled with nothing interesting? The media seems to affirm that.

Apparently, time spent on the lives of workers would be gilding a vacuum. If we follow the media, we will always look up. That is why we are missing answers. Everybody accepts that because the tree is an organic whole.

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Essay on Greed for Power and Money in Catch - Greed for Power and Money in Catch Although Catch is a novel that entirely takes place at war, the book uses comedy to emphasize the physical and emotional pain of war. The novel shows us how people are changed by war and how their focuses are changed through different experiences.

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In the dictionary greed is defined as a selfish desire to acquire more than one needs or deserves. Greed is something that just about everyone has/5(4).

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Greed essaysThere is a little too much greed going on in society and some psychologist believed that America is the land of the greed. Greed means selfish on desire beyond reason. America is the leader of capitalism. Capitalism makes a country rich and a lot of modernized things to fit in people&apo. What does our essay on greed entail? In the modern society, greed and corruption are some of the most rampant observations. Greed is the selfish interest of both individual members and government that leads to these groups of people amassing lots of wealth for their own personal gains.

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Unlike most editing & proofreading services, we edit for everything: grammar, spelling, punctuation, idea flow, sentence structure, & more. Get started now! Free Essay: Pre-AP English Mrs. Rudd September "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts.