Greed – From Gordon Gekko to David Hume
By Stewart Sutherland
Haus Curiosities – £7.99
Greed is the most destructive of the vices.
As is rightly mentioned herein, ‘cupidity is a human characteristic…’ (Times Editorial, 27 October 2012); a very unfortunate aspect of human nature, which, lest we need remind ourselves, is very good at repeating itself over and over (and over) again.
One need only embrace the broadsheet editorials and daily news coverage to comprehend the iron-like hold that cupidity has over society. Not to mention certain aspects of the actual media itself – the erstwhile manifestation of which can be anything from terrorism to downright evil to indeed, greed.
Pristine examples of which are forever flaunted before our inexorable over-drafts at an alarmingly indeterminate rate. Everyone from Simon Cowell to the Royal Family to the former Head of the Bank Of Scotland leap forth with resounding, pristine regularity . Indeed all of these – and a whole lot more besides – are the oh so great pundits as well as purveyors, of nigh obsessive greed: ‘Fear and greed are driving a stampede of companies to the stock marker.’ (Sunday Times 16 February 2014).
Is it any wonder that the chasm betwixt the haves and the have nots, has seemingly surpassed the point of no return?
What I particularly like about Greed – From Gordon Gekko to David Hume is author Stewart Sutherland’s penchant to punctuate his dialogue with resoundingly clear and concise logic – of which there are countless examples amid these forty-three pages from which to pick and choose: ”[…] greed is a universal characteristic of individual human beings,” ”[…] it can be encouraged or moderated by the shape which we give to our society,” ”[…] if it is not restrained, then the consequence could well be the total collapse of the society in which we live.”
To be sure, at the outset of chapter four (‘Stability, Property and Greed’), Sutherland reminds us that ”Without justice, society must immediately dissolve.” Underlining this ad infinitum, is surely today’s Syria by way of The Islamic State; although admittedly, the barbarity being committed throughout the region isn’t necessarily drenched in economics.
That said, one need to look as far afield, for as is simply written on the back cover of Greed: ”The banking debacle and the continuing row over bonuses has placed the controversial issue of greed at the very heart of how we view our society.”
The everyday repercussions of which appear currently endemic throughout Britain; which is why I can’t recommend this overtly readable little book more highly.