A selfish want
for something beyond one's need
. Typically, greed is associated
Greed describes a desire to have or acquire something that is not necessary for their own survival but also to the detriment of another. In addition, greed usually describes someone that cannot have enough. The more he or she attains, the more he or she wants and is never satisfied. Potential consequences of unchecked greed include bankruptcy, destitution and even criminal punishment.
In American business, greed is most often associated with investment scams and tax evasion.
Perhaps the most infamous example of greed is Bernie Madoff's Ponzi Scheme, which was the biggest fraudulent scheme in U.S.
history. Bernie Madoff, financial
advisor of his own firm named Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities
LLC, was also the past chairman of NASDAQ
. He used his position
as a financial advisor and chairman of his own firm to convince investors that he would earn
. Instead of investing
, he deposited the money into a bank
account. Statements to investors would show gains that were, in actuality, money procured from new investors. The plan worked
as long as new investors came on board
and existing investors did not want to cash out
. In fact
, no gains were earned
at all, and eventually, the scheme collapsed, only after Madoff had cheated investors out of $65 billion
. Madoff was very greedy according to his own words, "I lived very extravagantly. In the end, I bought
a plane with another person
. I had a boat [and four homes]. You're talking about someone who had a billion dollars."
Madoff's greed resulted in a prison sentence of 150 years, where he claims to be helping his victims recover their money.
His wife is estranged, and his son, who worked with his father, committed suicide
. According to Madoff, he regrets his mistakes. "The thing that was important to me was family
, but that's all gone. That's more punishment that being incarcerated."
While the consequences of greed are not always so harsh, greed does damage
relationships with family and friends. The subprime mortgage crisis
that coincided with the recession
in the United States
between 2007 and 2009 can be attributed to greed. Banks desire to earn more profits caused them to lower credit standards
, which allowed people to get home loans beyond their means. The lure of living in an expensive home was very attractive to many. However, many could not afford the mortgage payments and eventually were forced to sell
their homes at a loss or file
for personal bankruptcy.