Friday, May 09, 2014

There's No Such Thing as Greed, Only Theft

In my economics class I tested my students' ability to not just regurgitate what I told them, but see if they can take what I taught them and start drawing logical economic conclusions.  To do this I asked one rather difficult question:

Why are stock prices going up faster than earnings?

It is a difficult question, but of the many guesses I get, the most pluralistic one is:


I have to temper my immediate ire and remind myself of the innocence of that answer.  Nearly nobody has adequate education in economics, and nearly everybody has misinformation and propaganda fed to them by state schools.

However, the prevalence of that answer only indicates just how widespread leftist indoctrination has become and it's time to explain greed as a means to undo this political brainwashing.

Understand there is no such thing as greed.  There is only theft.

In other words the only REAL form of greed is when somebody steals something that is not theirs.  That act - stealing - is the only behavior that can truly be considered greed.

What the left has managed to do is change the meaning of the word "greed" to mean "not sharing enough of your wealth, income, profits, resources or time with other people."  The problem is "well, how much is enough so that the person is no longer considered 'greedy'?"

This puts us on a slippery slope, and was done so quite intentionally by the left.  Because since there is no objective standard as to what is "enough" this leaves it up to the interpretation of the person accusing somebody of being greedy.  And no doubt, almost always this accuser is

a leftist,

and the answer to "how much is enough" is always


The problem is this cowardly tactic by the left does not adhere to reality in two ways:

Morally and mathematically.

Morally, nobody has to share jack with anybody else.  The reason is simple - that person gave up part of their precious and finite life to get what wealth and income they have.  Ergo, when you are asking somebody to "share" you are literally saying, "become my slave for part of your life so that you may work up the money and wealth to give to me."

Doesn't matter if that person earned a trillion dollars.
Doesn't matter if that person uses diamond spoons.
Doesn't matter if that person has 30 mansions.

It accusing somebody of being greedy, and thereby implying they should share, you are in PLAIN ENGLISH telling them to be your slave, albeit for a limited time.

The second way the accusation of greedy doesn't work (from a leftist standpoint) is the "how much is enough" component.  Not one leftist, NOT ONE can answer the simple question:

"How much is enough?"

When it comes to the public schools, there is never enough money.
When it comes to welfare, the poor, and the elderly, there is never enough.
When it comes to the children or global warmer, there is never enough.

The reason why is that leftists are by their nature lazy and never sit down to calculate how much money would be necessary to finance their demands.  They are emotionally driven, parasitically even, to constantly demand more and more and more and more and more (matter of fact I intend on doing a little research project where I am going to contact various political parties and ask them what their economic plan is, namely what their goals are and what are their financial plans to attain said goals - I already know NONE of them, Republicans included, will have said plans).  It doesn't occur to them that there may be limited funds, and even though we're already spending around 40% GDP, I do not doubt for a second that if asked they would demand 2.5x's or more than what is currently being spent.

The larger point is that the accusation of "greed" is the perfect weapon for leftists because it provides a reason to take other people's money and allows them to take as much as they can as there is no objective standard or adherence to reality governing what is "enough."  And so as long as somebody just "thinks" said person has too much money (be it a kid whose brother found $40 or an adult whose neighbor makes $400,000) they can make the accusation of "greed" just as they "racism" on equally flimsy and intellectually dishonest grounds.

The key is to ignore the accusation knowing deep down inside you are neither a thief nor a racist.


Karl said...

Great post Comrade Captain!

Allow me to offer an alternative to your opening point: I think greed would be evident if/when the stock markets are dropping, as those "greedy" are getting out first, at a high point. And would this suggest that when markets are going up that investors should be called "generous?"

I think contacting political parties and asking for quantifiable goals is pointless for two reasons: 1) in politics it seems the one who shows a plan first loses, as that plan then becomes demonized by the other side, and 2) a plan is only good at the moment it is made with the facts, and realities, at hand.

I follow this rule when choosing a political party: Identify which party lies, cheats, steals, agitates and tolerates others who do the same. Then vote for the other party.

Keef said...

Wouldn't a plausible cause of stock prices rising faster than earnings be massive cash printing by the fed?

I realize on the Micro level a particular company may see a stock price rise if they are about to release a new product etc...

But with many companies at the Macro level seeing rises in price without rises in earnings I'm wondering what cause could be other than money printing?

Amateur Strategist said...


I'm thinking the answer is that the stock market is oversaturated with money, and thus the prices of stocks are being skyrocketed without a commensurate increase in earnings. When the baby boomers retire en masse and start selling their stocks to retire on the proceeds, this overflow of money will disappear and the P/E ratio will go back down to historical levels.

Actually, everyone's going to lose their shit first if stock prices go down drastically enough, causing even more sales and making it worse.

It'll be interesting and I'll be staying out of the "long" part of the market until it's over. Maybe play in the shorts and the put option areas.

Just some guy said...

I love to ask leftists if they apply their logic to their children. They of course don't understand so I expand. Well if one of your children does something good do you punish them for it and if one does something wrong do you reward them for it. That of course is "crazy" and it is "different" when you apply it to a on a personal rather than societal level, but they can never explain why it is different.

Just some guy said...

Oh and to answer your stock market question. The market is up and going higher despite all the fundamentals being horrible because the Obamatons at the Federal Reserve have created trillions of new currency units and they have to go somewhere. As a result many assets are grossly overvalued. Greed has nothing to do with it, the problem has been caused by the stupidity of socialist central planners, or more simply it is the same problem as always.

Anonymous said...

"Understand there is no such thing as greed. There is only theft."

Milton Friedman recognized that greed exists and that it is the chief motivator of human action.

That we are made of flesh and blood in a competitive world and greed is the evolutionary trait that makes us want more and more to increase our chances of survival and of transmitting our genes.

Those who are not greedy, in nature, stand less chance of surviving and passing off their genes.

There is nothing wrong in admitting that greed exists.

With that said, many many investors, day traders, swing traders rely on technicals rather than blind faith greed and this explains certain spot movements which are faster than earnings.

Also, the price of the stock also reflects future earnings. A stock is not meant to have a price to equity ratio of 1:1.

Nobody would sell their business for the yearly earnings. A stock is supposed to be a long term investment where you will cash in on the earnings for a long time in the future and that is reflected in the stock price.

The market upbids the stock price in technical analysis and future anticipation of earnings.

Likewise, when bad news or bad conjecture comes along the horizon, technicals and rational fear prompts profit taking and depression of the stock price.

The market will never always go up or always go down, it will always fluctuate.

It is better to employ a tax free savings account when trading a self-directed brokerage account. The compound earnings, exempt from taxation, can mean substantial gain in capital over the course of years and the tax exemption helps alleviate and control risk.

There Mr. Aaron Clarey, am I a stock market and economic illeterate ?

You can be an asshole in your answer if you want.

If what I just wrote about stocks is false and erroneous I want the truth about it, no matter how much it hurts.

When it comes to stocks valuations, I listen to what you say, I take notes and I shut up.

Anonymous said...


It is not in my rational self-interest to be made of flesh and blood. It is not in my rational self-interest to have a fragile biological body exposed to all sorts of dangers and compelled by all sorts of biological needs.

It is not in my rational self-interest to produce and consume.

I want to circumvent nature and physics. I want to be my own source of existence. I want to transcend biology and I want to need nothing and nobody.

This whole "how much is enough" could be said about CEO pay, corporate profits, stock profits, how many masions and land you have.

Also, if you are not individually morally compelled to give to others, consider that it is in your rational self-interest to live in a relatively safe and sane society and this is not possible where there is too much of a gap between wealth and poverty.

Laziness is a feature of nature and even the all powerful lightning takes the shortest path.

Technological progress and productivity gains stem from laziness and greed.

Most people would love to have the opportunity to work as hard as they want to earn as much as they can but they cannot, they have to be hired first.

Most employers want to pay the least possible for productivity so they outsource to cheap labor or technology.

Your system doesn't work and you are conflagrating moral principles with systemic dysfunctions.

In a non-market economy where the means of production are individually owned, most people would wake up, go to work and make a living. Those who are ambitious would work harder, longer and reap additional benefits.

Those who are lazy would suffer poverty or die.

In a market economy, you are slave of other people's profits and private enterprise property.

You fail to see the contradictions of capitalism.

It's totally insane that there needs consumption in order for production to happen.

Before a market economy, people just chopped more wood, baked more bread, knitted more garments. There didn't need to have a demand before people worked hard to save their production.

You fail to see the catch-22 built in capitalism.

Dan said...

I agree that for the most part if you earned you have a right to matter how much you have.

The issue is complicated by the uber rich tiny fraction who don't actually earn jackshit. They manipulate markets, buy politicians to create laws that favor them and engage in unscrupulous shady activities not designed to produce anything, create value or improve anything but merely to facilitate the transfer of wealth from anyone else to them by any means possible fair or foul. Find a way
to deal with this tiny minority who control an enourmous amount of power and wealth and the term
"greed" can truly be as you describe. And far as these people are concerned if you don't get caught, don't go to jail you did not commit a crime.

Just some guy said...

So you think that we could have these ridiculous bubbles without interference in the markets by the Federal Reserve?

Don T Tread said...

The FED is the problem, period. You have to risk your hard earned wealth to just maintain it's value (i.e. keep up with inflation).

Hey Anonymous at 6:09 PM: you are a moron. You seek a magical, fanciful, perfect unicorn farting rainbows solution, "circumventing nature and physics." There is no perfect solution, but capitalism, however imperfect to such visionaries as yourself, is the best of a bunch of bad solutions. Because humans suck. So let's deal with reality, shall we? Capitalism has done more to lift humanity out of its own filth than any other system ever devised from the minds of men.

Great point Cap on greed versus theft. The left deals only with motivations, and so greed is an attractive concept. Theft is an action.

MidKnight said...

Somewha of a tangent, but to paraphrase from "The Kite Runner" - the main characters Dad had told him as a child that the only true sin was theft. That all other crimes follow from that. Murder was taking a man's life, etc...