133 Quotes About Greed (Money, Success, Selfishness and Its Effect On Society)

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Do you ever feel like humanity is slowly succumbing to greed? It seems like everywhere we turn — be it politics, business, or even our own lives.

It seems there’s always something looming around the corner tempting us down a path of self-interest and avarice. But what exactly does it mean when we talk about “greed”?

Is it merely an emotion or trait associated with money and success – or is there more to it than meets the eye?

In this blog post, I’ll unpack why greed has become such a prevalent feature in our 21st-century world by showcasing the thoughts from thinkers past and present about how best to tackle its insidious effect on society.

Most Famous Quotes About Greed

Here is a look at the top ten quotes about greed that have been popularly quoted time and time again. Depending on the context of their use, these words range from cautionary warnings about overindulgence to amusing expressions of human nature’s darker side.

No matter the sentiment, you can be sure that each one of these popular quotes about greed never fails to capture people’s attention.

  1. “The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. – Gordon Gecko (Wall Street)
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  1. “Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.” – Erich Fromm
  2. “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” – Warren Buffett
  3. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” – 1 Timothy 6:10
  4. “We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.” – Stephen Hawking
  5. “Mo Money, Mo Problems” – Notorious BIG
  6. “There is no fire like passion, there is no shark like hatred, there is no snare like folly, there is no torrent like greed.” – Siddharta Gautama
  7. “From the first day to this, sheer greed was the driving spirit of civilization.” – Friedrich Engels
  8. “Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
  9. “Greed cuts in line, greed doesn’t give when it should, and greed always wants more. Enough is never enough where greed is concerned.” – Elisabeth Bennett

Quotes about Greed and Money

Money makes the world go around, they say – but it also drives some people around the bend into rampant greed and selfishness. This section of quotes talks about the (mostly negative) effects of greed and commercialism.

  1. “Wealth is not without its advantages and the case to the contrary, although it has often been made, has never proved widely persuasive.” – John Kenneth Galbraith
  2. “The point is, there is no feasible excuse for what is, for what we have made of ourselves. We have chosen to put profits before people, money before morality, dividends before decency, fanaticism before fairness, and our own trivial comforts before the unspeakable agonies of others.” – Iain M. Banks
  3. “Calm self-confidence is as far from conceit as the desire to earn a decent living is remote from greed.” – Channing Pollock
  4. “It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.” – Bertrand Russell
  5. “Our economy is based on spending billions to persuade people that happiness is buying things, and then insisting that the only way to have a viable economy is to make things for people to buy so they’ll have jobs and get enough money to buy things.” – Philip Slater
  6. “The be-all and end-all of life should not be to get rich, but to enrich the world.” – B. C. Forbes
  7. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” – Matthew 6:24
  8. “The love of money, and the power that possession of it gives, are two things from which all human virtue is derived.” – David O. McKay
  9. “There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
  10. “It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.” -Unknown
  11. “Getting money is not all a man’s business: to cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life.” – Samuel Johnson
  12. “Greed is not a financial issue. It’s a heart issue.” – Andy Stanley
  13. “Fear, greed, and hope have destroyed more portfolio value than any recession or depression we have ever been through.” – James O’Shaughnessy
  14. “Suddenly I find myself feeling sorry for those greedy, needy people whose huge salaries are never quite enough, whose sense of worth is defined by their own personal wad. What a diminished, impoverished world they must inhabit … We should feel sorry for them and their sadly limited lives. Then we should remember never to trust the judgement of those whose priorities are so idiotically skewed.” -Terence Blacker
  15. “I believe greed is actually measured by what it costs you, not by what you have.” -Jimmy Houston
  16. “Greed is a powerful emotion that can blind even the most level-headed of us, causing us to ignore both morality and logic in its pursuit.” – George Bernard Shaw

Greed and Society Quotes

Greed knows no bounds when it comes to our society. The oft-cited description of the seven deadly sins might need an eighth – greediness. Because while gluttony can be mistaken for a hearty appetite, and wrath can be mistaken for assertiveness, greed is simply… well, greedy!

The quotes featured in this section talk about the negative effects of greed on our society as a whole and how it can make life darker and nastier for everyone who falls afoul of a greedy society.

  1. “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  2. “There is much suffering in the world – physical, material, mental. The suffering of some can be blamed on the greed of others. The material and physical suffering is suffering from hunger, from homelessness, from all kinds of diseases. But the greatest suffering is being lonely, feeling unloved, and having no one. I have come more and more to realize that it is being unwanted that is the worst disease that any human being can ever experience.” – Mother Teresa
  3. “Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work together for the benefit of all.” – John Maynard Keynes
  4. “In a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.” – Matt Taibbi
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  1. “Most of the mess that is called history comes about because kings and presidents cannot be satisfied with a nice chicken and a good loaf of bread.” – Jennifer Donnelly
  2. “Humankind has not learned about balance, let alone practiced it. It is guided by greed and ambition, steered by fear. In this way, it will eventually destroy itself. But nature will survive; at least the plants will.” – Brian L. Weiss
  3. “We cannot negotiate with people who say what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.” – John F. Kennedy
  4. “The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm, capitalism is that kind of a system.” – Milton Friedman
  5. “We can’t allow any war for imperialism or greed to be fought in our names. This is what we need to keep fighting for.” – Cindy Sheehan
  6. “This is the worldly doctrine of today. And they believe that this is freedom. The result for the rich is isolation and suicide, for the poor, envy and murder.” -Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  7. “We already have—thanks to technology, development, skills, and the efficiency of our work—enough resources to satisfy all human needs. But we don’t have enough resources, and we are unlikely ever to have, to satisfy human greed.” – Zygmunt Bauman

Bible Quotes About Greed

Greed is something we all experience, but thankfully the Bible has some great insight into how we should think about it. It calls out those who hunger for wealth and teaches us that more isn’t necessarily better.

See some of the powerful quotes about greed from the Holy Bible.

  1. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” – Exodus 20:17
  2. “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes 5:10
  3. “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” – 1 John 2:16
  4. “Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” – Proverbs 11:28
  5. “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry.” – Colossians 3:5
  6. “Envy and desire and ambition drive a man out of the world.” – Torah, Avot 4:21
  7. “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” – Luke 12:15
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  1. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” – Matthew 6:24
  2. “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” – 1 Timothy 6:9

Greed, Power, and Success Quotes

Greed, power, and success can be a powerful trifecta when wielded correctly, but they have the potential to lead us off course if we aren’t careful.

Quotes about greed, power, and success plant seeds in our minds on how these forces come together, whether they should or shouldn’t, and whether the results are worthwhile. Let us explore them today!

  1. “Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed, and love of power.” – P. J. O’Rourke
  2. “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” – Warren Buffett
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  1. “We live in a system that espouses merit, equality, and a level playing field, but exalts those with wealth, power, and celebrity, however, gained.” – Derrick Bell
  2. “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’” – Brian Tracy
  3. “Youth is not enough. And love is not enough. And success is not enough. And, if we could achieve it, enough would not be enough.” – Mignon McLaughlin
  4. “Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed.” – Pavel Durov
  5. “Greed is a kind of philosophical confusion, a misunderstanding of what one really wants—a secure sense of oneself and the respect of others.” -Robert C. Solomon

Quotes About Greed and Selfishness

Quotes about greed and selfishness can serve as inspiring reminders of why such behaviors should be discouraged. For when these two intersect, their potential for both cost and harm increases exponentially.

So, if we want to live in a just, harmonious world, let us keep in mind wise words on the dangers of allowing greed and selfishness to reign supreme.

  1. “Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.” – Thomas Jefferson
  2. “Selfish persons are incapable of loving others, but they are not capable of loving themselves either.” – Erich Fromm
  3. “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not.” – Epicurus
  4. “We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, we now know that it is bad economics.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
  5. “When greed, selfishness, and personal pleasure supersede, any society is subject to collapse.” – Debra Jean Anderson
  6. “Selfishness and greed, individual or national, cause most of our troubles.” – Harry S. Truman
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  1. “Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves.” – Horace Mann
  2. “The greed of gain has no time or limit to its capaciousness. Its one object is to produce and consume. It has pity neither for beautiful nature nor for living human beings. It is ruthlessly ready without a moment’s hesitation to crush beauty and life.” – Rabindranath Tagore
  3. “If your desires be endless, your cares and fears will be so too.” -Thomas Fuller

Funny Greed Quotes

Funny greed quotes have a way of resonating in hilarity while reflecting upon the cold hard truth.

While greed is not that funny, taking a small poke at those who are overly and overtly greedy is a good way to get people to think about doing the opposite and becoming more giving.

  1. “My songs are my hookers. I can’t worry about how they are going to be treated; they just need to bring home the bacon” – Ester Dean
  2. “The man who has won millions at the cost of his conscience is a failure.” – B.C. Forbes
  3. Greed may be the root of all evil, but it sure tastes sweet!” – Unknown
  4. “If you think of life as like a big pie, you can try to hold the whole pie and kill yourself trying to keep it, or you can slice it up and give some to the people around you, and you still have plenty left for yourself.” – Jay Leno
  5. “The only question with wealth is, what do you do with it? -John D Rockefeller
  6. “Greed is the assumption that it is all for my consumption.” – Andy Stanley
  7. “Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear, and greed.” – Albert Einstein
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  1. “Greed is like a bottomless pit, as you take more and more your hunger for it only grows.” – Anonymous
  2. “We are all born brave, trusting, and greedy, and most of us manage to remain greedy.” -Mignon McLaughlin

Philosopher’s Quotes on Greed

Throughout history, philosophers have argued the pitfalls of indulging in too much greed.

From ancient Stoic Marcus Aurelius who believed that character should be guided by reason, to modern philosopher Karl Marx who wrote “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, the agony of toil slavery, ignorance, brutality…“; they unanimously agree that unchecked greed can lead to society’s undoing.

  1. “Men hate the individual whom they call avaricious only because nothing can be gained from him.” – Voltaire
  2. “It is greed to do all the talking but not to want to listen at all.” – Democritus
  3. “Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” – Henry David Thoreau
  4. “Greed is so destructive, and it seems to permeate every layer of society. It’s easy to see it in the corporate world, but it’s just as prevalent in everyday life.” – Emma Watson
  5. “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” – Henry David Thoreau
  6. “Are you not ashamed of caring so much for the making of money and for fame and prestige, when you neither think nor care about wisdom and truth and the improvement of your soul?” – Socrates
  7. “In his love for the world, the greedy is like the silkworm: the more it wraps in its cocoon, the less it has of escaping from it until it dies of grief.” – Imam Muhammad al-Baqir
  8. “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep gaining what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot
  9. “The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  10. “Wars and revolutions and battles are due simply and solely to the body and its desires. All wars are undertaken for the acquisition of wealth, and the reason why we have to acquire wealth is the body because we are slaves in its service.” – Socrates
  11. “There is no calamity greater than lavish desires. There is no greater guilt than discontent. And there is no greater disaster than greed.” – Laozi
  12. “It is the privilege of the gods to want nothing, and of godlike men to want little.” – Diogenes of Sinope
  13. “Do not follow vain desires; for verily he who prospers is preserved from lust, greed, and anger.” – Abu Bakr
  14. “Once greed has taken root in the heart, a man will be drawn in by selfish desire, his head will be turned by greed and he will become weak, stupid, cruel, and corrupt. The treasure of selflessness, however, will last a lifetime.” -Hong Yingming
  15. “The greedy man is not content with a whole world set before him.” ― Saadi
  16. “The ignorant mind, with its infinite afflictions, passions, and evils, is rooted in the three poisons. Greed, anger, and delusion.” – Bodhidharma
  17. “The Master said, ‘If your conduct is determined solely by considerations of profit you will arouse great resentment.’”Confucius
  18. “We shall have to practice to lead our lives on the basis of our needs, not under the influence of our greed.” -Lobsang Tenzin
  19. He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” – Socrates
  20. “The Master said, “The gentleman understands what is right, whereas the petty man understands profit.” ― Confucius
  21. “Our labor preserves us from three great evils — weariness, vice, and want.” -Voltaire

Random Quotes About Greed

There are a lot of great quotes about greed and avarice that don’t fit into any of the buckets above. I have added them to this section (the largest one).

  1. “It didn’t occur to me until later that there´s another truth, very simple: greed in a good cause is still greed.” – Stephen King
  2. “Greed is the pursuit of money, wealth, and power at the expense of others.” – Charles Carradine
  3. “There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.” – Oscar Wilde
  4. “Greed, like the love of comfort, is a kind of fear.” – Cyril Connolly
  5. “If we go on the way we have, the fault is our greed and if we are not willing to change, we will disappear from the face of the globe, to be replaced by the insect.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
  6. “You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.” – Vernon Howard
  7. “The difference between greed and ambition is that a greedy person desires things he isn’t prepared to work for.” – Habeeb Akande
  8. “Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.” – Charlie Chaplin
  9. “You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.” – Charles Spurgeon
  10. “Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.” – Edwin Way Teale
  11. “There was a time in my life when I thought I had everything – millions of dollars, mansions, cars, nice clothes, beautiful women, and every other materialistic thing you can imagine. Now I struggle for peace.” – Richard Pryor
  12. “Greed will always leave you dissatisfied because you’ll never be able to get everything you desire. Greed never allows you to think you have enough; it always destroys you by making you strive ever harder for more.” – Rabbi Benjamin Blech
  13. “One of the weaknesses of our age is our apparent inability to distinguish our needs from our greeds.” – Don Robinson
  14. “Man has but little heeded the advice of the wise men. He has been – fatefully, if not willingly – less virtuous, less constant, less rational, less peaceful than he knows how to be than he is fully capable of being. He has been led astray from the ways of peace and brotherhood by his addiction to concepts and attitudes of narrow nationalism, racial and religious bigotry, greed and lust for power.” – Ralph Bunche
  15. “It’s time for greatness—not for greed. It’s a time for idealism—not ideology. It is a time not just for compassionate words, but compassionate action.” – Marian Wright Edelman
  16. “May you find what you are looking for and realize it is not the answer.” – Ahmed Mostafa
  17. “If your thinking is sloppy, your business will be sloppy. If you are disorganized, your business will be disorganized. If you are greedy, your employees will be greedy, giving you less and less of themselves and always asking for more.” – Michael Gerber
  18. “Greed has driven the world crazy. And I think I’m lucky that I have a place over here that I can call home.” – Nina Simone
  19. “The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.” – Charles Kuralt
  20. “In our daily life, we encounter people who are angry, deceitful, and intent only on satisfying their own needs. There is so much anger, distrust, greed, and pettiness that we are losing our capacity to work well together.” – Margaret J. Wheatley
  21. “Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people.” – Garrison Keillor
  22. “The hypocrisy of some is that we like to think of ourselves as sophisticated and evolved, but we’re still also driven by primal urges like greed and power.” – Michael Leunig
  23. “It was not curiosity that killed the goose who laid the golden egg, but an insatiable greed that devoured common sense.” – E.A. Bucchianeri
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  1. “Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed.” – Mwai Kibaki
  2. “I believe in the sun. In the tangle of human failures of fear, greed, and forgetfulness, the sun gives me clarity.” – Joy Harjo
  3. “I am afraid that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, and that we have more curiosity than understanding. We grasp at everything but catch nothing except wind.” – Michel de Montaigne
  4. “Why can a Grisha possess but one amplifier? I will answer this question instead: What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men.” – Leigh Bardugo
  5. “Greed is so destructive. It destroys everything.” – Eartha Kitt
  6. “Where do the evils like corruption arise from? It comes from never-ending greed. The fight for a corruption-free ethical society will have to be fought against this greed and be replaced with a ‘what can I give’ spirit.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
  7. “From top to bottom of the ladder, greed is aroused without knowing where to find the ultimate foothold. Nothing can calm it, since its goal is far beyond all it can attain. Reality seems valueless by comparison with the dreams of fevered imaginations; reality is therefore abandoned.” – Emile Durkheim
  8. “Greed is the lack of confidence in one’s own ability to create.” – Vanna Bonta
  9. “There is a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it.” – Maya Angelou
  10. “Greed is the inventor of injustice as well as the current enforcer.” – Julian Casablancas
  11. “Greed is a basic part of animal nature. Being against it is like being against breathing or eating. It means nothing.” – Ben Stein
  12. “Greed has taken the whole universe, and nobody is worried about their soul.” – Little Richard
  13. “Human beings may well be unable to break free of the dictatorship of greed that spreads like a miasma over the world, but no longer will we be inarticulate and ignorant humanity, confused by our enslavement to superior cruelty and weaponry.” – Alice Walker
  14. “Lust and greed are more gullible than innocence.” – Mason Cooley
  15. “The curse of the romantic is greed for dreams, an intensity of expectation that, in the end, diminishes reality.” – Marya Mannes
  16. “Ignorance, hatred, and greed are killing nature.” -Masanobu Fukuoka
  17. “Human behavior is subject to the same laws as any other natural phenomenon. Our customs, behaviors, and values are byproducts of our culture. No one is born with greed, prejudice, bigotry, patriotism, and hatred; these are all learned behavior patterns. If the environment is unaltered, similar behavior will reoccur.” – Jacque Fresco
  18. “Greed can blind a person, making wrong seem right, and vice versa.” — Shannon Holmes

Final Thoughts on Quotes About Greed

To close things off, it is worth remembering that while greed can be a motivating and sometimes even positive force in our lives, it can also be extremely damaging.

 In the words of Henry Ward Beecher, “Greediness seeketh to have more than a man’s portion; covetousness beggareth where he lacks enough.

Greed may promise us more, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that we will get there. Just as too little ambition is unlikely to lead you very far in life, so too is an unnatural level of ambition.

Moderation and restraint must always lie at the heart of our actions if we want to turn our dreams into reality – without getting all carried away!

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