Is Greed Good? Learning Business Ethics from King Leopold II, Mass Murderer
26 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2015
Date Written: June 11, 2015
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.” This paper uses the life of one of the greatest mass murderers of history, King Leopold II, who caused the death of 10 million people, to show how greed can actually result in great harm. Greed should not be confused with self-interest. In the long run, greed can destroy an organization or country.
Keywords: Greed, self-interest, pay it forward, maximizing shareholder value, capitalism, social responsibility, care ethics, Mao, Hitler, King Leopold II, Congo, red rubber
JEL Classification: M12, M14, M19, M31, M54, J50, A22, A23, D81, G18, G21, I20, L20, L21, Q20, Q38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation