The value of greed, fear, and vanity.

Mortgages create fear, which in turn creates productive people, which is in the end good for everyone.

It seems that the most common motivations for success are fear and greed. Vanity and simple obsession follow a close second. Sheer joy in the work is perhaps the least common. In the west most people are motivated by fear - that is the true value of the mortgage culture. Instinctively people know that they need fear to function, to survive. While all people are motivated in the short term by greed, long term greed (usually mixed with vanity) is rewarded by the investor culture.

I make these comments without prejudice. In many ways I think any wealthy society owe fear and greed a debt of gratitude - without them, individuals and organizations could very well grind to a halt, too content for their own good. Indeed, there have been times in my life where I could have used a larger dose of fear to get me over a particularly difficult hurdle.

Consistent joyful motivation to excellence is quite rare. It is probably not possible without being an abstract thinker, and so able to derive pleasure and direction from an abstract ideal. The joyful motivation in its pure form seems more consistent with religious striving than with economic striving but n truth, I think that this motivation is shared by all at certain points in time. For example, the movie mogul (who is normally motivated by greed and vanity) may step back once in a while and appreciate the movie for the work of art that it is.

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