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The McKelvy House Scholars will host a dinner discussion Sunday evening on “Does Greed Drive the Economy? Should It?”

Dinner will begin 6 p.m. at McKelvy House, 200 High Street; RSVP by Saturday with McKelvy Scholar Creighton Conner ’04 (Lewisburg, Pa.) at connerr@lafayette. Led by Scholar Hart Feuer ’05 (Portland, Ore.), a double major in economics and business and German, the discussion will start at 6:30 p.m. and requires no reservations.

“One could argue that the word ‘greed’ has become somewhat of an accepted and almost endeared tenet of American business behavior,” he says. “With the advent of the movie Wall Street, this has been even further established. Despite having heard our mothers scold us with ‘don’t be greedy!’ as children, Americans almost crack a sardonic grin when they hear the word ‘greed.’ Well, why not – it’s what drives the economy, right?

“We will be discussing why greed and avarice have united to become this almost universally accepted method of emotionally encouraging hard work and innovation How did this come about? Have recent news highlights about Enron, World Com, Global Crossings and Alan Greenspan’s label of ‘infectious greed’ caused a change in mentality?Is greed going out of style?”

Greed is an effective motivating force for hard work and creativity in market capitalism and may even be essential to it, notes Feuer. Those critical of greed argue that it is responsible for creating greater inequality, alienation, and deception in society, and hinders the long-term future of an economy.

“Despite such opposition, I believe greed sits on a proverbial pedestal; for many (possibly most) people, it describes what has brought America to its position of economic power and what will keep it there,” he says. “It is revered in such a way that to undermine it is to undermine the foundations of the country. Because substantial research and empirical evidence in favor of a greed-driven economy do not exist, I would like to concentrate mainly on the tangible influences that arise from it. Specifically, I will present the opposing viewpoint – but not to convince one against greed, rather to help guide the discussion.”

This spring, Feuer was one of 80 students nationally who were honored as recipients of Morris K. Udall Scholarships.

Since 1962, the McKelvy House Scholars program has brought together Lafayette students with a wide range of majors and interests to reside in a historic off-campus house and share in intellectual and social activities. Weekly Sunday dinner discussions that engage the students in debate and exchange of ideas are the hallmark of the program. Most members also contribute to the annual McKelvy Papers, written on a topic of each person’s choice. McKelvy Scholars participate in activities together such as field trips to plays, concerts, and exhibits, and sponsor events for the campus as well.

Past discussion:
Sept. 28 — Value

Categorized in: Academic News