How greed outstripped need

From the Monitor on Psychology:

As the world slipped into economic meltdown, the nation started talking about greed: greedy lenders, greedy Wall Street executives, greedy CEOs and greedy Americans who used credit to finance untenable lifestyles.

Greed may very well have driven much of the economic crisis, says University of Rochester social psychologist Richard Ryan, PhD. But does the blame fall on the individual, or on our increasingly materialistic culture?

“America has an economic system set up to create the kind of mess we’ve seen recently,” says social psychologist Tim Kasser, PhD, of Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. “Our form of capitalism encourages materialistic values, and the research shows that people high on materialism … are more likely to engage in unethical business behaviors and manipulate people for their own purposes.”