Greed (or avarice or coveteousness) is the self-serving desire for the pursuit of money, wealth, power, food, or other possessions, especially when this denies the same goods to others. It is generally considered a vice, and is one of the seven deadly sins in Catholicism.
- If money is, as it is often posited, the root of all evil, then where does that leave greed? Let's do the math: Greed takes up most of your time and most of your money, so therefore greed = time x money. And, as we all know, time = money. Ergo, greed = money x money. So, if money is the square root of all evil, then we are forced to conclude that greed is evil as well, perhaps even more so, in that it forced us to do math.
But when does the desire to simply possess something turn into unchecked greed? That's easy: when the things that you possess start possessing you.
- Dale E. Basye and Bob Dob, in Rapacia: The Second Circle of Heck (2009), "Backword", p. 361.
- Marketers keep inventing desires, necessities for you and for me. I need this. I need that. I need. I need. It’s the need of a smoking fit. If you don’t smoke that cigarette now, you’ll die—when in reality you die because you succumb to the rage and rattle of the needy greed that keeps you busy needing more and more things. Is this the American Dream—the greedy need?"
- novelist Giannina Braschi, from the chapter "Piggybank" in "United States of Banana", 2011.
- Greed will always leave you dissatisfied because you'll never be able to get everything you desire. Greed never allows you to think you have enough; it always destroys you by making you strive ever harder for more.
- Rabbi Benjamin Blech, American academic and writer. Taking Stock: A Spiritual Guide to Rising Above Life's Financial Ups and Downs (2003).
- Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.
- Bible: New Testament, Luke 12:15.
- We find greedy men, blind with the lust for money, trafficking in human misery.
- Thomas C. Clark, address before the Boston Chamber of Commerce, Boston, Massachusetts (October 8, 1947); reported in Boston Business (November 1947), p. 16.
- Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not for every man’s greed.
- Covet. I am Covetousness, begotten of an old churl in a leather bag: and might I now obtain my wish, this house, you and all, should turn to gold, that I might lock you safe into my chest. O my sweet gold!
- Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, Act II, Sc II, ln. 127-130 (1616 edition).
- Excess of wealth is cause of covetousness.
- Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta (c. 1592), Act I.
- When everyone covets something, they are easily annoyed by it.
- Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647), Maxim 85.
- Men hate the individual whom they call avaricious only because nothing can be gained from him.
- Voltaire [François Marie Arouet] (1694-1778), French philosopher and essayist. [Philosophical Dictionary (1764).
- Greed, like the love of comfort, is a kind of fear.
- Cyril Connolly (1903–1974), British literary critic and author. The Unquiet Grave (1944).
- Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.
- Erich Fromm (1900–1980), American psychologist. Escape from Freedom (1941).
- The covetousness or the malignity, which saddens me, when I ascribe it to society, is my own. I am environed by my self.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), American essayist, poet and aphorist. 'Character', Essays, Second Series.
- The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms: greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind, and greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.
- what man calls civilization
always results in deserts
man is never on the square
he uses up the fat and greenery of the earth
each generation wastes a little more
of the future with greed and lust for riches
- Don Marquis, "What the Ants Are Saying," stanza 5, Archy Does His Part, in The Lives and Times of Archy & Mehitabel (1950), p. 475.
- Nature … has born and reared all men alike, and created them genuine brothers, not in mere name, but in very reality, though this kinship has been put to confusion by the triumph of malignant covetousness, which has wrought estrangement instead of affinity and enmity instead of friendship.
- Philo, Every Good Man is Free, 79
- I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.
- Thomas Sowell, American economist and political commentator. Barbarians Inside the Gates: And Other Controversial Essays (1999).
- Greed is alright, by the way. I think greed is healthy. I want you to know that, I think greed is healthy.You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.
- Ivan Frederick Boesky Former Wall Street arbitrageur (notable for his prominent role in an insider trading scandal that occurred in the United States in the mid 1980s). Quotation from his Commencement speech at School of Business Administration the University of California, Berkeley, 18th May 1986.
- If you take away ideology, you are left with a case by case ethics which in practise ends up as me first, me only, and in rampant greed.
- Richard Nelson, American playwright. From the Independent (UK) newspaper, 12th July 1989.
- There is nothing inherently wrong with greed as a human motivator—greed motivating evolution.
- Oliver Stone, American film director. Taken from DVD Director's commentory (2000) on his film, Wall Steet.
- Lesson number one: Don't underestimat...the other guy's greed!
- Lust and greed are more gullible than innocence.
- Mason Cooley (1927-2002), American literary academic and aphorist. City Aphorisms, Eighth Selection (1991).
- Greed often finds more pleasure in taking from others than in giving to itself.
- Simon May, English philosopher. The Pocket Philosopher: a handbook of Aphorisms (1999).
- Enter stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
- J. K. Rowling, 'Diagon Alley', Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997).
- Greed is eternal.
- Ira Steven Behr, Rule 10, The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition (1995).
- Covetrousness brings nothing home.
- English proverb, from J. Clarke's Paroemiologia Anglo-Latina (1614).
- When all sins grow old, covetousness is young.
- English proverb. As noted in George Herbert's Jacula Prudentum (1651).
- Greedy folk have long arms.
- English proverb. As noted in J. Kelly's Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs (1721).
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 53.
- So for a good old-gentlemanly vice,
I think I must take up with avarice.
- Avaritiam si tollere vultis, mater ejus est tollenda, luxuries.
- If you wish to remove avarice you must remove its mother, luxury.
- Cicero, De Oratore, II, 40.
- Ac primam scelerum matrem, quæ semper habendo
Plus sitiens patulis rimatur faucibus aurum,
- Expel avarice, the mother of all wickedness, who, always thirsty for more, opens wide her jaws for gold.
- Claudianus, De Laudibus Stilichonis, II, 111.
- Non propter vitam faciunt patrimonia quidam,
Sed vitio cæci propter patrimonia vivunt.
- Some men make fortunes, but not to enjoy them; for, blinded by avarice, they live to make fortunes.
- Juvenal, Satires, XII, 50.
- Crescit amor nummi quantum ipsa pecunia crescit.
- The love of pelf increases with the pelf.
- Juvenal, Satires, XIV, 139.
- That disease
Of which all old men sicken, avarice.
- Thomas Middleton, The Roaring Girl, Act I, scene 1.
- There grows,
In my most ill-compos'd affection such
A stanchless avarice, that, were I king,
I should cut off the nobles for their lands.
- This avarice
Strikes deeper, grows with more pernicious root.
- Desunt inopiæ multa, avaritiæ omnia.
- Poverty wants much; but avarice, everything.
- Publilius Syrus, Maxims, 441.
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers
Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
- It is impossible to conceive any contrast more entire and absolute than that which exists between a heart glowing with love to God, and a heart in which the love of money has cashiered all sense of God — His love, His presence, His glory; and which is no sooner relieved from the mockery of a tedious round of religious formalism, than it reverts to the sanctuaries where its wealth is invested, with an intenseness of homage surpassing that of the most devout Israelite who ever, from a foreign land, turned his longing eyes toward Jerusalem.
- Richard Fuller, p. 20.
- Avarice is to the intellect what sensuality is to the morals —
- Anna Jameson, p. 20.
- Objects close to the eye shut out much larger objects on the horizon; and splendors born only of the earth eclipse the stars. So a man sometimes covers up the entire disk of eternity with a dollar, and quenches transcendent glories with a little shining dust.
- Edwin Hubbell Chapin, p. 20.
- Jesus, save me from the infatuation of avarice! I, too, will lay up a treasure, but Thou shalt have the keeping of it.
- Christian Scriver, p. 21.