Gluttony & Greed
Greed is an intense and selfish desire for something. Gluttony in this context refers to habitual greed, primarily symbolized by excessive eating, drinking, and indulgence. Both gluttony and greed are sins of desire. Basically, people never being satisfied and always wanting more. Of all the sins, this is probably the one with the most examples of people taking advantage of it. The reason being, our society has wanted us to always want more. We see the guy with the fancy car and we want it. We see a chance to turn our dollar into a hundred dollars and our eyes turn green (which incidentally represents jealousy, a close cousin to the cardinal sin of envy).
Businesses that monetize greed & gluttony
Since the beginning of human civilization, people have always wanted more. After all, that is what has got us to where we are now. If we did not want stuff, then we would not go out of our way to improve and get more. In general, history is ridden with individuals that loved to be above others. This goes for every aristocracy, dictatorship, and democracy. Democratic leaders, in particular, once put in positions of power, often forego interacting with those that got them into the positions of power.
In general, the rich do not live with the poor. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that the rich want to be distinguished from the poor, that’s what the whole luxury market is after all. The poor are associated with insecurity globally. The rich more often than not can base the roots of their wealth on greed. They understand that the poor want what they have and perceive that as a threat. Now… While it may sound like I am not advocating for greed, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Greed is good because greed fuels ambition and progress. It is okay to be a little selfish and to want a little more. The problem arises when we do so to the detriment of others. That being said, understanding and embracing that humans are greedy creatures will take you a long way.
We need not go far to find examples of businesses that make money off this primal desire. Think about all the businesses that bet on people wanting more than they can have. Businesses that bet on the greed and selfishness of their prospective customers. Here’s a couple of them:
1. Gambling / Casinos
Want to start with a small amount and end up with a large amount? Who doesn’t! This desire is what every gambling business counts on.
Statistically speaking, you will NOT win against the house. The house in this case means the gambling business owner. Casinos and similar gambling businesses are structured in such a way as to maximize profit. They do this by selling hope and betting on greed.
As was mentioned before, anything that has survived a thousand years has to have some truth in it. If a trait (such as greed) has persisted throughout humanity for the past couple of thousands of years, there is no reasonable way that could change over a short amount of time. In other words, it is quite safe to bet on greed.
2. Banks / Loan businesses
Banks and loan businesses are in the business of lending money. They understand that people want what they can’t have and money gets them those things. In some cases, this might be money to expand their businesses while in other cases people may borrow money to buy stuff that they don’t need and can’t afford. It is not uncommon to see a person take out a loan to buy a car that does not provide them with any returns.
Loaners love people that borrow money from them to make money for two primary reasons. The first one is that these people are likelier to have the money to pay them back. The second reason is implicit and it is that these people have insatiable greed that fuels the loaners’ greed. Think of it like this; a person who borrows money to make money needs some level of greed to want to do so. A loaner wanting to make money needs some level of greed to do so. When these two meet, they develop a symbiotic relationship where they feed off each others’ greed by making each other money.
Whether or not wanting to make money would be considered being greedy, I shall leave it up to you. Generally speaking, we want to make money for ourselves, to benefit ourselves and the people around us. Sure, there are some charitable individuals that give away all that they make, but you won’t find them taking out loans to give away nor will you find loaners wanting to give them money. That’s just business. Greed makes the world go around and giving the one thing that fuels most greed (money) out is a good way to make some for yourself.
Developing nations are especially guilty of using politics to fuel their own greed. Their citizens suffer while the leaders live lavishly. In most countries, politicians can be bought and influenced. They can be bought when their greed and pride exceed their morality and integrity. Being a politician puts you in a position of power and other than changing things, those in power tend to want more of it. That burning desire is what leads to greed; for money or for power. Either way, such individuals are susceptible to being bought through their desires.
If you are looking to get your hands dirty investing in human greed, then paying lobbyists (individuals that aim to influence political decisions) might be a good ploy for you. The entire business of lobbyists is to create favorable political conditions for their clients, often corporations and wealthy individuals. How do they influence these political decisions? By puppeteering politicians through their greed, pride, and other vices. The companies being lobbied for are greedy as well as they often want politically favorable environments to increase their business or weaken their competitors.
There’s a lot more that could be said about greed and where it could be applied. For example, every sales offer takes advantage of the fact that people are greedy. That’s why people will rush to buy things they don’t need just because they have been told that they are getting 50% off. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, those that understand the psychology of greed and gluttony among humans profit from it.
If you want to be one of those who benefit from it, you might as well invest in any of the aforementioned businesses or start one yourself. Feel free to also analyze businesses and things in your life that may be counting on human greed. You can never go wrong with betting on primal human vices. Embrace the greed.