Peter Singer on Greed & Wall Street Excesses

Peter Singer, an Aus­tralian-born philoso­pher who teach­es at Prince­ton, cre­at­ed the ani­mal rights move­ment back in the 1970s, and, more recent­ly, launched a cam­paign to end world pover­ty. One can’t con­tem­plate pover­ty with­out also con­sid­er­ing greed, and that brings us to the clip above. Inter­viewed in 2009, Singer sug­gests that greed dri­ves us bio­log­i­cal­ly (as does social col­lab­o­ra­tion for­tu­nate­ly). Greed helps us sur­vive and inno­vate. But there is also a point where it becomes point­less and patho­log­i­cal, and that’s what we have wit­nessed in the finan­cial world. Greed brought us Bernie Mad­off. But it has also brought us (my infer­ences) bankers who cre­ate a cat­a­stro­phe one year and take record bonus­es the next. And it has brought us to the point where  our coun­try has dan­ger­ous­ly slipped off of its demo­c­ra­t­ic moor­ings. Lloyd Blank­fein, this clip is for you. Thanks Ted for send­ing this one along.

Look­ing for free phi­los­o­phy cours­es? Vis­it the Phi­los­o­phy sec­tion of our Free Course col­lec­tion.

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