Is Greed Good? Learning Business Ethics from King Leopold II, Mass Murderer

26 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2015

See all articles by Hershey H. Friedman

Hershey H. Friedman

City University of New York - Department of Business Management

Sarah Adel

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - International Business, Students

Linda Weiser Friedman

Baruch College, CUNY - Zicklin School of Business; CUNY - The Graduate Center

Date Written: June 11, 2015

Abstract

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

Friedman, Hershey H. and Adel, Sarah and Friedman, Linda Weiser, Is Greed Good? Learning Business Ethics from King Leopold II, Mass Murderer (June 11, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2617553 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2617553

Hershey H. Friedman (Contact Author)

City University of New York - Department of Business Management ( email )

Sarah Adel

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - International Business, Students ( email )

NJ
United States

Linda Weiser Friedman

Baruch College, CUNY - Zicklin School of Business ( email )

17 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States

HOME PAGE: http://cisnet.baruch.cuny.edu/friedman/

CUNY - The Graduate Center

365 Fifth Avenue
New York,, NY 10016
United States

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