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Greed Is Good But Envy Is Bad

"Greed is good," said the Ivan Boesky-inspired Gordon Gecko in the first "Wall Street" movie. And greed certainly is one of the prime movers behind many a successful business, along with altruism, curiosity, necessity, etc.

Greed is absolute. Wanting more for the sake of it.

But "Envy is bad," says yours truly.

Envy is relative, and all the nastier for it. It's about wanting more than your neighbour, even at a cost to yourself.

There's too much envy in finance. (No kidding, Paul, what an insight!) And this has led to an escalation in salaries and, in consequence, risk taking; an unspoken conspiracy in which senior management encourage gambling by their traders so that they all get 'rewarded.'

You know what though? Just divide all bankers' pay packets by ten. And since envy is relative no feelings will be hurt!

I don't really do envy myself, see my Cheese blog in which I explained my retirement needs as cheese, wine, books (mostly fiction), oh yes, and a swimming pool ;-)