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Evil by Design: Interaction design to lead us into temptation by Chris Nodder

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Greed

The point is, you can't be too greedy.

Donald Trump

Greed is the desire to get or keep more stuff than you need, either accumulating money or possessions (“whoever has the most toys wins”) or just to feel better than someone else does.

Because greed prevents other people from having access to a thing that they could use more than the greedy individual could, it’s seen as selfish or spiteful. The reason it’s seen as one of the seven deadly sins is that greedy people obviously distrust that God will provide all they need.

All talk of sin aside, there does seem to be a correlation between having more than one needs and being selfish. When talking about haves and have-nots, there are four possible behaviors: selfishness, altruism, spite, and cooperation.

Greed happens when people pursue their own agenda at the expense of others, leading to selfish or spiteful behavior. Paul Piff, a social psychologist at UC Berkeley, found that people who “had more” (those in higher social classes) were less ethical, and more likely to lie, cheat, or steal. Interestingly, it wasn’t that more greedy people made it to a higher social class, but that getting to a higher social class reinforced those behaviors, making people more likely to be greedy. As Piff puts it, “Upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed.”

The reverse is also true. In another set of studies, Piff found that people in lower social classes are more ...

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