Were human beings always greedy? Was it genetic to covet more? Was it a defence mechanism that helped us survive. Territorial control, for example, would give a lion the ability to feed over a large land area. Access to territory ensured the survival of the race. Or was there something beyond biology that drove humans to become lustful toward more and more. If it was not biological did our greed increase with time?
Greed is the antithesis of how the great masters ask you to live your life. They ask for simplicity of thought, non-attachment to material things and letting go. Greed requires attachment to materiality, holding for dear life and believing whatever it takes for your desire to be satisfied. The cost at which your need is satisfied does not matter.
An intelligent person could argue about boundaries. At what point does something become greed? In the case of the lion, was it a 100 square kilometre of land before it became excessive? How would you define this? Perhaps, the answer lies not in the number but the thought behind. Did the lion embark on the journey with a desire that would not satiate at any number?
A reading of history shows that for vast swathes of humanity, it simply wasn’t possible to be greedy. They didn’t have the tools, the ability or the power to be so. For the most part, you took what you got and barring an occasional bumper event; you made do. It could be argued that progress in the past few hundred years has enabled all of us to give wings to our greed. Prior, a simple word from our local priest that God would be offended was sufficient for most. Empowered, today, every person can argue back and break free from the shackles imposed by religious dogma. As greed takes flight, ideology has to catch up to create countervailing balance. We could ruin our world otherwise.