Greed is the selfish want for more wealth or power than a person actually needs, and to the detriment of others. The concept can be taken further, where a person can never have enough, and so is always striving for more. The concept can be confused with the needs of an extremely ambitious person – the difference is that an ambitious person knows when to stop after having reached his or her goal. Also, an ambitious person is more likely to work within the rules set by society, whereas a greedy person will either ignore or actively circumvent those rules. Thus, a greedy person will be more likely to steal money from his employer, while an ambitious person will instead focus on advancement within the firm, in order to reap the benefits from increasing amounts of compensation over time.

People who are endlessly greedy may possibly be influenced by the emotional rush associated with the pursuit of wealth and power, rather than the attainment of any specific amount of wealth or power. This does not mean that this rush impacts only a few people – most individuals just get it from other pursuits, such as powder skiing, mountain climbing, surfing, and so forth. Such other pursuits (usually) do not lead people to engage in illegal or unethical activities, and so are not frowned upon by society.

Even when a person is greedy, there is usually a countervailing sense of justice toward others that mitigates the greed. However, in cases where the need for money or power is overwhelming, a person will engage in any number of greed-based actions, such as bribery, kickbacks, collusion, and insider trading.

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