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I = S - M

The modern way of thinking about economics has been I = M - S Where I is the I as in me, M is what is 'mine' and S is what ...


My purpose here is not to set a dichotomy: x is good and y is bad. I do not think that the issue of the right means of organizing society's economics can be answered in a black and white way. The problem is that we have been seeing economics too narrowly. We have been ascribing to greed the guiding principle for action by calling it self interest. There is nothing wrong with greed. To be human is to be greedy. I know I myself am greedy.

However there is a slight possibility that on occasion I display, to my surprise, actions that are not guided by greed. Once in a while I do things that in fact go against my greedy nature. That benefit others. Or the communities that I belong to. I sometimes sweep away the plums that had fallen in our community garden and are lying rotting on the paths. Once in a while I pick us garbage right off the street. This leads me to believe that I am not wholly greedy. I may act greedy but I am not greedy: greed is not the sum and substance of who I am. There is a slight possibility that I may have much more complex motivations and given a guide for behavior other than modern society's atomistic, every person for himself and herself attitude, I may be capable of other kinds of behavior motivated by very different kinds of things.

I find that in the few instances when I am able to overcome my very natural, very human greed, and act from a higher, inexplicable need to do what is right rather than what benefits me immediately, I feel good. Engaging in such action a few times makes me feel much lighter and engaged with the world in ways that I did not know of before. Why am I doing such and such a thing when it does not feed my greed/self interest? I often do not know why because the motivations are more subtle compared to the dense reason that I am greedy.

What I am saying here is this: is it possible for each of us to expand just a little bit outside of the purview of greed each day? What if we do one thing every day that is motivated by anything other than greed? We would suddenly find ourselves with the possibility that life is rich in ways that go beyond what greed and self interest can measure. So we remain in the world that we inhabit and create a new habit to pursue each and every day. It is that simple.