Destructive Achievers could not live comfortably in society if greed were not justified. Therefore, the corporate-controlled mass media justify greed and materialism almost daily.
The rationale seems to be that "greed is what made our country successful," "greed is responsible for the greatest economy mankind has ever developed," and "greed is the essence of capitalism."
None of the above claims is true. As Toynbee and the world's mainstream religions have concluded, in one form or another, greed is one of the seven deadly sins—and for good reason. It eventually destroys human organizations and societies. If unchecked, it will destroy our capitalistic system.
Apologists for America's wealthy and powerful deliberately confuse greed with a normal, healthy, self-interest. Self-interest is the necessary motivation that enables a person to provide for the welfare of himself and his family—adequate housing, food, education, health care, a good sense of values, and so on.
But self-interest becomes greed, as any dictionary defines the term, when it becomes excessive: when it leads to behaviors that are dishonest, fraudulent, devious, deceptive, or manipulative.
The people who made the United States the greatest and strongest country in the world were not greedy. They were dedicated to the ethical and moral standards of their professions or work. They succeeded in spite of, not because of, the greed of others. They overcame the negative and costly effects of greed on society:
Since the mid-1970s, wealthy conservatives have pursued policies that have changed all that—at least for our most basic industries and businesses, for some of our most important professions, and, especially, for our political environment. Now, greed and materialism have replaced the virtues of fairness and justice. Profit, the bottom line, and personal wealth, in themselves, justify any kind of behavior as being morally acceptable:
The transfer of wealth and power from those who work to those who manage money, information, ideas, and people is just about complete. Unprincipled investors, corporate executives, accountants, consultants, investment bankers, and related professionals who have risen to the tops of their professions now have the power to command almost unlimited incomes for themselves.
They do it by inserting themselves between those who produce products and services—workers, engineers, scientists, doctors, true "family farmers," nurses, truck drivers, and so on—and the consumers of those products and services. At every step, from financing a new business venture to advising corporations about how to prevent unions, they take huge amounts of money for themselves and leave relatively little for those who are the true producers of wealth in our country.
It took conservatives at least 20 years to create this kind of political and economic system, although they've been working at it and making slow progress for the entire century. It also will take at least 20 years to reverse. It will be a long and difficult task, but it can be done.