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Hieronymus Bosch : The hay cart (middle wing), around 1500
A Flemish proverb says: "The world is a haystack - everyone picks from it as much as he can."

Greed , greed , greed or Raffsucht is exaggerated pursuit of material property, regardless of its benefits , and closely related to the price to share the exaggerated economy and the displeasure.

Greed is related to egoism , jealousy, and envy .

Perspective of religion

In Catholicism , avaritia , avarice, greed, is the second one of the seven main vices or sins that are considered to be the roots of deadly sins . In the Gospel of Luke , chapter 12, verse 15 it says: "And he said to them: Watch and beware of all greed, for no one lives from having many goods." In Ephesians , chapter 5, verse 5 it says even: “You can be sure that no indecent, unclean or greedy person will ever co-inherit the kingdom of Christ and God.” See also: Vice .

Criminal law

Greed plays a special role in German criminal law as a constituent feature of murder ( Section 211 StGB ) and is one of the features that qualifies killing as murder. Greed is defined by jurisprudence as "the ruthless pursuit of profit at any price". It belongs to the subjective offense (murder characteristic of the first group). In order for the existence of greed to be affirmed, it does not have to be the only motive for the killing, but it does have to dominate the act and / or “dominate consciousness”. According to the opinion prevailing in the case law, it is sufficient if the perpetrator only wants to save expenses through the killing (e.g. maintenance payments or the repayment of a loan). The perpetrator must therefore want to increase his assets objectively as well as directly from his point of view through the act, whereby the elimination of "liabilities" is sufficient (in the attempt , if the success is not successful, the probability is to be used).

Pedagogical perspective

The American family therapist Wendy Mogel , who dedicated a chapter in her 2001 book The Blessings of a Skinned Knee , is one of the authors who have contributed educationally to the subject of "insatiability for things" . Lack of gratitude and an insatiable need for new parental achievements such as B. Toys are one of the main abnormalities of the children who come to their practice. While parents often interpret the child's desire for unnecessary things as a behavioral disorder, Mogel argues that this is a natural condition that can neither be cured nor need to be cured. However, the child must learn to get his yearnings under control through self-control and not to let it guide his behavior.

In Judaism , the principle “deed before creed” applies (German: “Action goes before faith”); Mogel, who develops her educational concept from the Jewish tradition, emphasizes that correct behavior is more important than "correct feeling". Because behavior therapy postulates that feelings follow behavior, it makes sense for parents to stop the child from complaining and begging; the child will then not only refrain from the undesirable behavior, but sooner or later actually feel less greed and more gratitude. A child can also learn to accept a “no” from their parents in a civilized way. Mogel recommends respecting and appreciating the child's passion (because they approve of strong impulses in their child) without giving in to their begging for new things. The child neither needs to understand nor acknowledge the parents' “no”. Since the child is not yet mature enough to distinguish between what is wanted and what is needed, Mogel advises parents not to appeal to the child's insight. Nor does she think of talking to a child out of a wish or pissing them off.

As a stumbling block in the upbringing for self-control and gratitude, Mogel names the language skills of many children who defend their wishes with the argumentative skill of a star attorney, which unsettles many parents, for example because they secretly fear not doing enough for their child. Others admire their child's eloquence and willingly let themselves be drawn into debating contests, which also sends the wrong signal for the child.

Greed in literature and popular media

Greed is morally condemned in many cultures and also leads to punishments in legends , fairy tales and religions .

This is how the Phrygian king Midas is told in Greek mythology . He asked Dionysus that everything he touched should become gold in order to free himself from the obligation to pay tribute and to be able to accumulate wealth. Dionysus granted him this wish. With that, Midas was doomed to starvation, as his food turned into gold. Finally he managed to get rid of this gift by bathing in the Paktolos River.

A relevant fable is Canis per fluvium carnem ferens .

The fairy tale Vom Fischer und his wife tells of a poor fisherman who catches a magic fish that fulfills wishes and whose wife then succumbs to greed, which ends the story badly. In the tragic comedy The Visit of the Old Lady by Friedrich Dürrenmatt , a very rich old lady promises the village where she grew up, a billion if it murders the man who once got her pregnant. Thus she uses the greed of the population to incite murder and to seek revenge. In the novel Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac , the greed is as a predominant trait of male figures, under which the virtuous Eugénie time has to suffer her life.

An example from the popular media is the character Dagobert Duck , who embodies greed. Charlie Chaplin's film Gold Rush is an ironic commentary on greed.


A greedy person is also known as a Raffke .


  • Nothing is sufficient for someone for whom what is sufficient is not enough. - Epicurus
  • It's good to be greedy. In fact, I would argue that it is healthy to be greedy. You can be greedy and feel good about it. - Ivan F. Boesky
  • Don't look for anything but Him. He is enough for you! You may be greedy as much as you want: God is enough! - Aurelius Augustine
  • Make money, make more money, make people make more money! - L. Ron Hubbard
  • The world has enough for everyone's needs, but not everyone's greed. - Mahatma Gandhi
  • Every wish, if it is fulfilled, has kittens instantly. - Wilhelm Busch
  • Greed in old age is folly. Do you increase your travel provisions as you get closer to your destination? - Cicero

See also

Individual evidence

  1. BGHSt 10 399, also hL in the literature
  2. Wendy Mogel: The Blessings of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children , New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Singapore: Scribner, 2001, ISBN 0-684-86297-2 , p. 116f (hardback Edition; limited online version in Google Book Search - USA )
  3. All adulturer-stoning aside, Jacobs' year of living biblically changed his life
  4. ^ Feelings follow behavior
  5. The Blessings of a Skinned Knee, pp. 117f, 122f
  6. ^ The Blessings of a Skinned Knee, pp. 120-122.
  7. The Blessings of a Skinned Knee, pp. 118-120, 123f


Web links

Wikiquote: Greed  - Quotes