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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/21/10

Why Greed Matters

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It is thought that a greedy nature is one of pure self-interested avariciousness based on nothing of any substantial value to anyone other than the greedy person.

Since no drastic change in the way business gets done in this country without a major upheaval, I have a suggestion to make.

Why not co-opt their use of those greedy genes inside us all and use them, not as they do, but as we would have wished them to do? Why not become the greedy bankers who take over the entire neighborhood but not for our own personal gain but for the neighborhood's gain? If our self-centered ego-driven goals are subsumed into the collective identity and that identity becomes greedy, i.e., driven to succeed and to make the communities in which we live the best they can be, there can surely be no moral or legal reasons not to.

The question becomes how do we proceed?

At this juncture I can only respond from personal experience. I am a writer and a publisher and a worrier. The worrier part of me has been concerned for decades with the ways in which the corporate media have been dumbing down the reading materials available to us all. From the pursuit of nonsensical blockbusters and the mega-million advances to writers of these books, we have watched and done little to end this corrosion of our literary heritage.

I am not just talking about the wonderful past this country can pridefully point to: from the pamphleteers to business advocates, from letter writers and and essayists and those whose full lives spawned excellent autobiographies and then to the more contemporary trove of poetry, drama and fiction, we have a rich library of writers. For such a young country, we have experienced an extraordinary output from our literary citizens.

Now, however, in publishing, just as in many other industries, we are witnessing a relinquishing of responsibility for the tradition we inherited. Today, too many people do not read because the schools are not able to give children the time to learn why reading is important nor do they have the necessary tools to help each child learn to read critically. As someone who could not learn to read in school when everyone else did, I know what it is like to be illiterate. I flunked first grade because I could not read. I remember the humiliation and the fear of having to go to school, knowing that I would be called on to read aloud and could not. Not one word. But sometimes one learns because there are no options and luck intercedes and for me that became the magic combination. Not everyone is as lucky as I was.

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Deborah Emin is the founder of the publishing company, Sullivan Street Press ( She is also the impressario of the Itinerant Book Show as well as the program director of the REZ Reading Series in Kew Gardens, NY. Her (more...)
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