Schumacher references Gandhi as saying “[e]arth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not for every man’s greed.” Greed is looked at through a materialistic lens, here the primary concern is for natural resources, but in doing so Schumacher denounces all greed. Similarly, he espouses the goal of having “enough.” Not only do these values conflict with human nature but they do not recognize how greed and dissatisfaction can contribute positively to existence.
I don’t think greed always translates to material wealth and always has to create envy. There can be a greed for knowledge, and truth and understanding. Our intense curiosity of the world is fueled by our tendency to never being satisfied, which compels us not to settle with our current understandings and continue to gather knowledge. This nature contributes deeply towards the process of finding meaning as deeper and wider progress towards truth is obtained.
With this in mind, and an attitude of acceptance of the duality of human nature, are there ways of cultivating our greed that results in a happier, spiritual and more balanced life?
It makes me think of the not so inaccurate stereotype of environmentalist trying to out green each other in their greed for prestige. Possibly gamification could play a role. There are applications that directly contribute to development like freerice.com, tugging at our greed to win and fill up our rice bowl. Could this work in more standard industries? Other ideas?