Kant’s moral philosophy was the categorical imperative. As per Kant stated rules are rules, and commands are commands – unconditionally. Kant would have said that Gekko’s speech and ideologies were immoral. He would have said that greed was immoral as it was morally wrong intrinsically. As per Kant’s formula of universal law if the world population had to live with the maxim that “greed is good” the planet would soon run out of all its resources as everyone will be fighting to amass all the wealth and love there is to get hold of. It is not conceivable to state that greed is good in a world ruled by universal law. This would result in a perfect duty to refrain from acting on this. Excess money does not lead to happiness and the more money you have to more you want to earn more money. The economy would fall if people were going to live according to Gekko’s maxim. It is not rational to act on the “greed is good” maxim as it does not meet the requirements based on Step 2 and Step 3. The maxim does not meet the requirements of Universal Law.
Gekko’s speech would fit in with Nietzsche’s philosophy as it was driven by a desire to see human kind moving to higher and higher states of being. A quote from Gekko’s speech: “Greed, in all of its forms – greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge – has marked the upward surge of mankind.” Nietzsche’s viewed morality as a dead end in human development and I am of an opinion that he would agree with Gekko’s views about greed. Gekko’s views would have also resonated Ayn Rand’s philosophies as she believed that self-interest was morally good. Her three central virtues were rationality, productiveness and pride and these virtues centre on selfishness and greed. As per Rand “sustaining life, one’s own life in particular, is the original objective standard of value.” Not forgetting Adam Smith’s thinking about one’s own security, gains, interest and capitalistic views. I believe that self-interest and the pursuit to riches leads to greed.
Greed is socially destructive. The agents or law-making bodies of a country should have laws in place to handle the equitable distribution of wealth. Greed can lead to an economic melt-down as every individual will be pushing to make more money and their self-interest forgetting that we are living in a world with limited resources. Self-interest and egoism may lead to greed and that could be destructive. The agents should use the veil on ignorance to put proper policies in place on the amount of wealth individuals can amass. All the inhabitants of planet earth should have fair and equal opportunities and at the same time take care of the environment we live in and living sensibly. This discussion links to the Sustainability assignment as greed according to my opinion is also the root cause of high ecological footprints in this planet. As individuals are consuming more resources than what our planet can provide for us.
We should start living consciously and sustainably. As individual move higher and higher the more resources they consume hence depleting the scarce resources the world can offer us. This course was an eye opener to me and I am planning to live a sustainable lifestyle going forward to ensure that the future generations will have resources to sustain them. As individuals we do not realize that our pursuit to “live more comfortable lives as we call it” have serious repercussions. We are chasing wealth, glamour and high statuses but at what cost? Is it all worth it?