Thomas Sowell asks (here) why the desire to increase and retain one’s own earnings should be characterized negatively as ‘greed, yet living at the expense of others is not?
Here, Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner makes the case that growing wealth at the top of the pyramid also reduces poverty along the way.
From economist Thomas Sowell’s “The Vision of the Anointed” (1995):
Among the many other questions raised by the nebulous concept of “greed” is why it is a term applied almost exclusively to those who want to earn more money or to keep what they have already earned—never to those wanting to take other people’s money in taxes or to those wishing to live on the largess dispensed from such taxation. No amount of taxation is ever described by the anointed as “greed” on the part of government or the clientele of government. . . .
Families who wish to be independent financially and to make their own decisions about their lives are of little interest or use to those who are seeking to impose their superior wisdom and virtue on other people. Earning their own money makes these families unlikely candidates for third-party direction and wishing to retain what they have earned threatens to deprive the anointed of the money needed to distribute as largess to others who would thus become subject to their direction. In these circumstances, it is understandable why the desire to increase and retain one’s own earnings should be characterized negatively as “greed,” while wishing to live at the expense of others is not.