Vol. 1 No. 15 (2019): Journal of Leadership and Management

How Confusing Greed with Self-Interest Nearly Destroyed the World Economy

Hershey H. Friedman
Hershey H. Friedman, Ph.D. Professor of Business, Department of Business Management, Koppelman School of Business, Brooklyn College, CUNY, 2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11210, USA e-mail: x.friedman@att.net
Sarah Hertz
Sarah Hertz, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Empire State College, State University of New York, Saratoga Springs, New York, USA email: Sarah.Hertz@esc.edu
Published February 1, 2019
How to Cite
Friedman, H. H., & Hertz, S. (2019). How Confusing Greed with Self-Interest Nearly Destroyed the World Economy. Journal of Leadership and Management, 1(15). Retrieved from http://leadership.net.pl/JLM/article/view/148


Adam Smith demonstrated how self-interest and the “invisible hand” of the marketplace allocated scarce resources efficiently and promoted social welfare. Unfortunately, the invisible hand argument led to the belief that regulation is unnecessary and that “greed is good.” Greed should not be confused with self-interest. In the long run, greed is selfish and can destroy an organization or country. Self-interest, on the other hand, may include benevolence and could therefore be used to justify moral capitalism.

Keywords: Adam Smith, capitalism, greed, Karl Marx, rational man, maximizing shareholder value, pay it forward, Peter Singer, Pope Francis, self-interest, tone at the top, world poverty


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