Examples of Greed

Updated November 7, 2020
Girl holding stack of cookies behind her back as examples of greed

Greed is a desire to have more of something than you need. We learned in Dickens' A Christmas Carol that greed is a bad thing and that being stingy with money or possessions is unkind. Greed doesn't just have to do with money. Consider these examples of greed.

Real-World Greed

Unfortunately, in today's world, there are many examples of greed that exist including:

  • Dishonest banks who give people mortgages that the banks know they cannot afford just so the bank can make money and foreclosure on the house.
  • Dishonest credit card companies that set up a system of changing payment dates without making it obvious to customers to encourage defaults so that very high interest rates can be charged.
  • Dishonest companies that take government bailouts and then give multi-million dollar bonuses to executives that ran the company into the ground.
  • Dishonest people like Bernie Madoff who set up pyramid
  • schemes to steal money from investors.
  • Dishonest banks that set up a scheme to cash larger checks first so that people bounce many smaller checks and are subject to large per check penalty fees as a result.

These are some real-world examples of greedy companies and individuals that put their own desire for wealth and possessions ahead of the needs of others.


Other Examples of Greed

Greed often has to do with wanting lots of money or material wealth, but it doesn't necessarily only relate to money. Any time someone wants more than their fair share or has a strong desire to accumulate something, especially at the expense of others or if there is only so much to go around, this can be considered an example of greed.

Some examples of greed that don't include money are:

  • A person who takes all of the cookies in the house for himself, not sharing even though he know others will want some.
  • A person at work who takes credit for the hard work of others and who takes a larger share of the bonus money or prize for sales, even if he didn't actually do anything to earn it.
  • An employee who takes lavish vacations at the expense of his employer by claiming that the vacations are business trips, even when they really aren't.
  • A person who signs up for government benefits like food stamps that he doesn't deserve and didn't earn and who then sells the food stamps on eBay to get cash.
  • A person who steals the Christmas decorations that his neighbor put out because he wants them but doesn't want to buy them for himself.
  • A person who takes computers and supplies home from work because he wants to have them for himself, even though he isn't supposed to and his behavior means that others cannot use the computer or supplies.
  • A person who sees a starving person and takes the bread right out of that person's hands to eat for himself, even if he has enough money to buy his own food.
  • A person who refuses to pay his income taxes that he is required by law to pay because he wants to keep more of the money he earned for himself, despite the cost to society as a whole.

These are all examples of greedy behavior. Any decision to take from others or to enrich yourself at the expense of others is an example of greed and is something that should be avoided at all costs.