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John Stossel - Greed

0 (0 Likes / 0 Dislikes) Good evening. Greed -- l think of greed as wanting too much, more than you need, wretched excess. By that definition, this is a monument to greed. lt's the Vanderbilt mansion. lf Vanderbilt had a motto, it must have been ''excess is barely enough.'' The house is gargantuan -- 250 rooms. Yet it was all built for just one man to live in. This is the dining room. lt's as high as a five-story building. The dining room table seats 64. l guess when you're this rich, you make friends pretty easily. From here, you can take in the millions of dollars of art on the walls -- Renoirs and Whistlers, Renaissance tapestries. Very beautiful, but isn't this greedy?. Who needs a $100 million house? Who deserves to have this much? Of course, Vanderbilt isn't the only person to have more than he needs. (Singing) Money, money, money, money. (Singing) Today, there's plenty of excess around. (Singing) Money, money, money, money... (Singing) Junk bond king, Michael Milken, paid himself more than $500 million. Who needs that much? Hotel mogul Leona Helmsley, now a billionairess, sued to get the bulk of her late son's estate. That left his kids with less than $500 each. lsn't there a name for someone like that?. Former Philippines first lady lmelda Marcos took tax money from people who could barely afford food and then used it to buy lavish parties, this yacht and thousands of shoes. She needed them, she said, because she had to change clothes a lot. Haiti's even poorer. Yet while people here were starving, Haiti's rulers, the Duvaliers -- they called him Baby Doc -- lived in this palace, and spent millions shopping. Yet, Mrs Duvalier had the nerve to tell Barbara Walters... ...l don't believe the money was badly spent. Even religious leaders aren't ashamed. Jim and Tammy Faye didn't try to hide the fact that they had mansions and Rolls Royces. They say the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. And the rich keep getting richer. Now to reach the top of the Forbes richest Americans list, you have to have billions. One of these billionaires, Ted Turner, says the magazine's ranking makes them want to get even richer. You're on this list, you see, and you want to move up the list. You want to be number one. Nobody will ever catch Bill Gates. Warren Buffet isn't going to catch Bill Gates. You billionaires look at this magazine and say... Yes!! ...l want to be higher?. Of course they do! Absolutely, just like -- just like Michael Jordan looks at the -- the basketball -- who's got the -- who's the scoring champion, you know?. Everybody wants more? Sure, that's -- that's capitalism. And that's OK? l think it's OK. lt's your money. l believe in private property. You can do whatever you want to. You want to buy a big yacht?. You can buy a big yacht. You make no moral judgment?. lt isn't a little repulsive of somebody who spends it all on... Well, l mean, that's up to other people to decide. But in America, capitalists are vilified. People hate them. Who does? Well, lots of people do. lt's part of the culture. No, no, no, Snidely Whiplash, do not foreclose the mortgage. lt's 40 below zero. So wear a sweater! You go on the street, there's this impression that rich businessmen are evil. You know my wife didn't -- she wouldn't say evil. But she was so surprised when she was dating. l was the only businessman she ever dated. She said, ''l just never thought l'd marry a businessman.'' His wife is actress Jane Fonda -- no stranger herself to earning pots of money. But people don't usually call rich actresses evil or greedy. They don't call Michael Jordan greedy, though he rakes in more than $1 million a week. Why is it OK for entertainers or sports stars, but unseemly when someone in business rakes it in? Well, let's look at this word, ''greed.'' Greed is bad, right?. Yet we like the scientist who's greedy for new knowledge, or the artist who's greedy to create something new. You want to get to the top -- be a big executive or be a movie star or be the best in sports. Ted Turner was always greedy to succeed at something. l tried football, baseball, basketball, track and field, wrestling, boxing. l did everything. l was a klutz! Turn yourjib, turn yourjib! So he took up sailboat racing and became greedy to win. He succeeded. He won the America's Cup. America is about competition and rising above that competition. That's at the basis of what makes our -- makes our economy and our society tick. lsn't that greedy?. Why, sure, it's greedy. And most of us will act greedily given a chance. This is what happens when Filene's Basement holds its quarterly wedding dress sale. We're going to play a game. Psychologist Julian Edney tests people's greed by putting dollar bills in a bowl and saying at the word ''go,'' you can get as many dollars for yourself as you can. But every 10 seconds, if there's money left, he'll double it. lf there's $2 left in the bowl, l will put another $2 in. But the game ends if the contestants empty the bowl. So what happens? Ready, steady, go. They could have made more money if they'd just left half the bills in. But they don't work that out. Even when we let them do it again and again. Most of us want more for us. Frankly, l didn't see many of you turning down your last pay raise. So maybe it's just excessive greed that's the problem. Vanderbilt and others, after all, were called ''robber barons.'' Their wasteful selfishness is what robs other people. Or does it?. We're back at Mr. Vanderbilt's house, which to me looks like a perfect example of greed. Who needs this much house? Just looking at its size makes me think of all the poorer people who don't have a house because robber barons like Cornelius Vanderbilt took so much. With the money you're gonna make... The movie ''Wall Street'' gave us reasons to resent the rich. So tell me, Gordon. When does it all end, huh? How many yachts do you water ski behind? How much is enough? lt's not a wuestion of enough, pal. lt's a zero-sum game. Somebody wins. Somebody loses. Money itself isn't lost or made, it's simply ...ah... transferred. ''A zero-sum game'' Michael Douglas calls it. That means if l win, you lose. That's really a child's view of -- of how the world works. Philosopher David Kelley studies markets. lt's like we're all children sitting around the dinner table, and a pie comes. lt's dessert time. Mom sets a pie down on the table. lf l get a bigger piece, you get a smaller piece. But in reality, there's no mom there putting a pie down on the table. We're producers. We create wealth. Bill Gates is a good example. He's now the world's richest man. He's got about $40 billion. But does his having $40 billion mean the rest of us have lost $40 billion? No. lt's been fantastic... You see, this is the fallacy that there is some pool of wealth there that's fixed. And if l take more, you get less. That's not true. Wealth is constantly being created. Gates got so rich by making the pie bigger for everyone. A key benefit of Windows 95 is... He actually baked a whole new pie. His software created new ways of saving time and money, created thousands of newjobs. Baby Doc got rich by forcing people to give him money. He could do that because he was the government. lf you didn't pay his taxes, his troops could jail you or worse. lt was the same with lmelda Marcos and the British royal family. They got the money they have by using the power of government to compel people to give it to them. The capitalist can't do that. Bill Gates may be just as greedy as Baby Doc. But to get your money, he has to persuade you, entice you. We designed Windows 95... To do that, he has to make something that we will willingly give him money for. All commerce requires both parties to benefit. Take the simplest example. l buy a quart of milk. One dollar, please. l hand her the dollar; she gives me the milk. We both benefit, because she wanted the dollar more than the milk, and l wanted the milk more than the dollar. This is why often both of us say... Thank you. Thank you. Everyone wins. Unless someone cheats... You see products advertised that seem too good to be true. l spent years warning you about the cheaters. Solar-powered clothes dryers only $50. And what did they get in the mail? A clothesline. Greed is a terrible thing if it leads people to cheat. But over the years, l noticed the cheaters rarely get that rich. They just... People wise up, stop buying the product. To get really rich, people usually have to work very hard at giving you something you want... ... better cars, cheaper clothes, faster food, whatever. The businessman has to win you over. From day one, he has to be concerned with, ''Who's buying this? What need am l satisfying?'' And if that's called greed, then l say, greed is good. Greedy, greedy, vicious, greedy, destructive people... Oh, greedy, greedy, greedy -- everybody's greedy. lt's not destructive? No, it's -- it -- a certain amount of it's probably healthy. ln their day, John D. Rockefeller and Cornelius Vanderbilt were depicted as evil. Vanderbilt leeched off the poor. Rockefeller was a snake. But the name-calling rarely came from consumers. lt was competing businessmen who complained. And the newspapers lapped it up, calling the tycoons ''robber barons.'' But you could not find a more inaccurate term for these men than robber barons. They weren't barons. All of them started penniless. And they weren't robbers, because they didn't take it from anyone else. They took it from their customers. Not from the customers, they kept selling the products cheaper and cheaper. Vanderbilt got so rich by pleasing lots of people. He did that by making travel and shipping cheaper. He used bigger ships, faster ships. He served food onboard. People liked that. And all this lowered his costs so much, that he cut the New York to Hartford fare from $8 to $1 . Rockefeller got rich selling oil. Competitors and the government called him a monopolist. But no one was forced to buy his oil. Rockefeller had to persuade people by offering it to them for less. And he did. Working-class people, who used to go to bed when it got dark, could now afford fuel for their lanterns. Suddenly, everybody could stay up, read, learn more? Exactly, it gave people who, remember, were working probably 10, 12 hours a day -- it gave them a private life. The consumers were better off. The workers were better off. And of course, they themselves were better off. l'll say. So we can call them greedy, but the fact remains that their greed did more than make them rich. lt gave the rest of us good things. That wasn't their goal. Their goal may have been just greed. But to achieve that, they had to give us what we wanted. So we've seen that greed has helped bring us many of the major advances of our times. But shouldn't most activities be untouched by greed? Don't we want people motivated by the thought of helping others, by selflessness? Take the crucial job of lifeguarding. lf my child's in the pool, l don't want some greedy profit-driven company training and overseeing lifeguards. l'm relieved that most are trained by the Red Cross. They're nonprofit. So they're selfless. That's a good thing when someone's drowning. Help! l need a backboard. Get me a backboard! Victim does not appear to be conscious. Water's coming out on the Heimlich process. Water is coming out. One, two, three. Victim is not breathing. Call 91 1 and come back. lt takes a well-prepared lifeguard to deal with this. One and two and three and four and five -- breath. One and two and... ...and to hold off a panic stricken father. What are you pushing on him for?. Excuse me sir. Why are you doing that?. That's my son! That's my son! Actually, this drowning isn't real. lt's a surprise drill done to test these lifeguards in Orlando. Nice job, good stuff, good stuff. Alright, so you've been working all year... And that hysterical parent is really Jeff Ellis, the man who staged the drill. And surprise -- he doesn't work for the Red Cross. The Red Cross doesn't require on-the-job testing. Ellis is an entrepreneur. He trains lifeguards for money and says simple training isn't enough. There must be ongoing supervision... All right, let's rotate. make sure the swimmers are safe. We're constantly criticized for being a profit company versus a nonprofit agency. And l think, by all measure, the profit company delivers a better service at a cheaper price. The city of Orlando switched to Ellis' system last year because, says city pool manager Robert Barrows, Ellis' guards are better. They are more alert. They are -- they are definitely doing a betterjob for the city of Orlando than -- than we have in the past. Help me! To win business, Ellis has had to constantly innovate. You went over the victim and sunk him, no good. He invented the ''rear huggie'' rescue, which places the weight of the victim on the rescue tube, instead of on the lifeguard. He was the first to require the ''compactjump.'' One - 1 ,000, two - 1 ,000, three... He makes guards carry a plastic mouthpiece to help with mouth-to-mouth. The Red Cross has since adopted many of Ellis' techniques. Why didn't they think of doing what you do? l think they'd been very complacent. Complacent -- it may be one reason that hundreds of pools have now switched from Red Cross guards to Ellis. They like the training and the follow-up. Profit is going to make people do it better?. lsn't saving lives enough to keep the Red Cross vigilant?. There's an -- always an extra mile to go in creativity, in thinking of that solution no one has yet tried. Thinking harder, longer. Working harder and longer. For money. For money and for having your company flourish and succeed. To make money, Ellis has to win over more pools. He does that, he says, through vigilant oversight that includes secretly taping his lifeguards to make sure they follow his rules. lsn't there something creepy about this, spying on people? We don't consider it spying. They were given forewarning that in order to be in this lifeguard program, they were going to be held accountable. Accountable means his guards must constantly scan the water with their rescue tubes always in hand. His camera caught this guard being friendly, talking to a girl, getting off the chair to sit next to her. He still looks at the swimmers, but Ellis yanked his license. You never know when he's there. Exactly. He could be in a van 400 feet away from the pool. These lifeguards claim they don't mind Ellis' spying. l'm glad he's doing it because, with the Red Cross, we never had anybody really come up and check up on us. Ellis has taped Red Cross graduates, too, working at pools where no one seems worried about a Jeff Ellis checking on them. We have film of people that got off the chairs and went and cooked hamburgers outside the pool while people were swimming, and no one was watching them. There's our lifeguard. We asked the Red Cross about this. They say they stand by the quality of their training and say we're making an unfair comparison because neither they nor other nonprofit programs provide the extra supervision Ellis does. That's the local pool's responsibility. Maybe that's why our Cleveland TV station found these non-Ellis guards lying down on the job. We saw none of that at pools with Ellis guards. His lifeguards are vigilant, like ''Baywatch.'' Even whistle twirling is banned. This Florida pool switched from Red Cross guards, because pool manager Marie Sheba liked Ellis' scrutiny of his lifeguards. l think it really makes a difference to them. They want to do well. So even though greed and even profit have become ugly words in America, compared to nonprofit, caring, the public good, we forget what profit can inspire us to do. Economist Walter Williams... Normally in our country, those areas where people are motivated the most by greed are the areas that we're the most satisfied with. Supermarkets, computers, Fed Ex -- those areas where people say we're motivated by caring are the areas of disaster in our country, such as education, the post office, city garbage collection, police services. l could add my own selections, like the Department of Motor Vehicles. Another good thing about greed is that it gets people to cooperate, to work together. Now you think the opposite would be true -- that pursuing profit, greed, would drive people apart. But the reason we have all these products in the supermarket is that greed inspires millions of people all over the world to work together. Take this steak. How did this get here? lt's sunrise in Manning, lowa. At the Weise farm, David Weise is saddling up for another 1 4-hour work day. lt's longer during calving season. There's so much work for the ranchers -- fixing fences, digging ditches, feeding the cows, harvesting hay. Why do they work so hard to get their beef to people like me in New York?. Do you think it's because they love people in New York?. No, they love themselves. And by promoting their own self-interest, they make sure New Yorkers have beef. lt's not because they care about New Yorkers. They care about themselves. The Wieses are only the first of a series of people who by caring about themselves make sure l get my steak. There's Virgil Rosanke, who delivers the propane that heats the cattle's water. They've got to drink water. And they can't drink frozen water. Wanda Nelson keeps the packing house clean. l make sure the plant is sanitized before we start production. Then there are the people who slaughter the cattle, who cut the beef, the people who make their knives, their overalls, their protective gear. And the people who make the plastic that seals the meat, the machines that do the sealing. And the people who pack the meat in boxes and the people who make the boxes and inspect the boxes. You got to check the boxes to make sure they don't get bad boxes. Then there are the people who run the freezer facilities, the people who track orders by bar code, the people who make the bar code machines. And the truck driver, Randall Gilbert, who's hauling my steak to New York. Thousands of people have to work together to get the food to market. Are they doing all this for me? No, l don't think of it that way. No. l think about making boxes and money. Who's John Stossel? l'm no one to Virgil Rosanke. l've never heard of him. Virgil and all these other people don't really care if some TV correspondent gets his steak. Yet they cooperate to make it happen, motivated by self-interest. ls that greed? Well, the line isn't so clear. Remember the money grab experiment?. Go. People got less by taking everything at once. But eventually, people figure out they'll make more if they work together. But if we each take a $1 at a given time, then it will never empty the bowl. They're just as greedy, but now they're cooperating and making more. That's just how business works. We're in business just like everybody else, you know, to make money. Provide for my three boys, my wife. lt buys you a house. Buys you really nice vehicles. ln a free market, you get more for yourself by serving your fellow man. You don't have to care about him, just serve him. And ask yourself, ''How much would get done if it all depended on human love and kindness?'' l'd feel sorry for New Yorkers in terms of beef. lf it all depended on human love and kindness, l doubt whether you would have one cow in New York. Probably right. Still, l don't like to admit that self-interest or greed is the motivator. And we certainly don't like to teach that to our kids. But what if we did? This school was once considered New York City's worst. Lowest reading scores in the state. Kids assaulted teachers more than once a week. One teacher's hair was set on fire. lt was around then that Steve Mariotti left his import/export business to teach here. What's 40 plus 20? At first, he says he was a horrible teacher. l lost control of my classes. A kid got me in a headlock-rubbing my head. ln desperation, he asked the kids, ''Why are you doing this to me?'' One kid said, ''Well, we did it, because we can't -- just can't stand you. You are boring.'' And l said, ''Well, was there ever a time when l was a good teacher, when l touched you or taught you something that had any value?'' And the same young man said, ''The only time you really had value to us, to me, was when you told us about your import/export business. And how you'd bring in ladies shoes at $5 from Agar, lndia, add $1 on for insurance and freight, take it down to the lower east side and sell them for $7, and your income statement would be $126,000.'' He remembered all this from the beginning of the term? He remembered. He remembered, and here was a guy that had been defined as -- as brain damaged, emotionally upset. Everybody -- people were afraid of him. And he re-created in total, a Harvard Business School income statement. Does anybody have any ideas for a small business that you could start right now as a kid? Mariotti changed his way of teaching. And you can trade with anybody in the room. He started talking about making money, and suddenly, the kids were different. When you hear people complaining, that's where the big money is! They're suddenly interested in learning? They're suddenly interested in learning. And they come to life in the classroom. His teaching changed lives. You find my gotcha jersey? ln high school, Frank Alameda was floundering, until he took Mariotti's course. He graduated and went on to open this sporting goods store. Now he employs six people from his old neighborhood. l'm probably the biggest thing to happen to my family. Because l got people looking up to me, people that l grew up with, just were patting me on my back, will say, ''Frank, keep it up. You're the only guy that got something going for you out here.'' That's $1 , my friend. Howard Stubbs grew up in a poor section of The Bronx. Mariotti's course led him to rent a hot dog stand, Now he owns five and makes as much as $3,000 a week. You do get a lot of respect. You know, people look at you, say, ''Wow, every day that guy, he's out there. He's making his money, he's doing his thing.'' You know?. (Singing) Will there be better days? Jimmy McNeil, has a music business that makes more than $1 million a year. He says he has this because of what Steve Mariotti taught him in high school. Children that are born into poverty are fascinated by capitalism and by ownership and by markets. Visualizing from the top. We think of capitalism as something the privileged practice. But in some ways, capitalism is the big equalizer. Money doesn't care if you're black or white or green. Have a good day. lt's the people at the bottom who need capitalism most, who need the system in which everyone is free to trade and free to pursue money. Because capitalism opens up opportunities to climb up that economic ladder. Somewhere along the lines, Bill Gates started off with zero. Somewhere along the lines, Quincy Jones started off with zero. My rule for kids... lt's not a color thing. You know, it's an opportunity thing. So greed has its benefits. But aren't we ignoring the downside here? What about all those workers who've lost jobs while their bosses built places like this? Shouldn't there be limits on how much people can make? Shouldn't the owners' greed be restrained for the sake of the workers? We'll consider that, next. OK, Vanderbilt did good things, greed puts food on my plate, and so on. My brain is convinced that greed has made America better, but my stomach still tells me something else. Yes, this house is beautiful. But isn't this unseemly?. There's just something nasty about some people having so much when others have so little. Shouldn't there be rules that limit the disparity, make wealth more equal? 'Teldar Paper has 33 different vice presidents each earning over $200,000 a year.' Why, for example, should the bosses, the executives of America's biggest companies -- why should these fat cats be paid so much? 'With their -- their steak lunches, their corporate jets and golden parachutes...' When the stockholders and workers usually get so much less. Hold the presses. The corporate boss is now Hollywood's favorite villain. ''...Remove Mr. Bond's hat.'' One survey found that on TV, criminals are more likely to be portrayed as businessmen than any other occupation. ln the latest James Bond movie, the villain isn't a mad Russian scientist or bomb-throwing terrorist. He is, of course, a businessman, greedy for more. ''l want books. l want films. l want TV. l want radio.'' And why not portray them as villains? Lots of real-life chief executive officers, CEOs they're called, have been closing factories, laying off workers while still writing huge paychecks to themselves. This wine is probably $500 or $600. CEO TJ Rodgers once fired hundreds of employees, even though his company was making a profit. Rodgers said he did it to cut costs. But Rodgers didn't give up his personal vineyard or his big house with its $100,000 pizza oven. l have a nice house. l paid a million bucks for my house. l built it myself. So what?. l mean, l've earned it. Rodgers earned his millions by founding Cypress Semiconductor, a Silicon Valley computer chip maker. l built it. l own it. l deserve it. There's nothing wrong with that. He's already made more than $30 million. Yet he's determined to make more. What for?. Now you're just being greedy. Well, you could say that. The fact is, l can take what l have, and l'd never have to work another day in my life. As a matter of fact, l'd never have to spend another day in the same city for the rest of my life. Aren't you ashamed of yourself?. No, l'm proud of myself. l'm a good guy. He's a good guy, he says, because he turned a one-man business into a billion-dollar chip company. These are all the different kinds of chips we make. Our company was worth zero in 1982. lt had one employee, me, and it was in debt. Today, it has 2,500 employees. Our company today is worth $1 .4 billion. All of that money has been created. That is a positive thing that impacts favorably the lives of a lot of people. They buy cars with it. They go to school with it. They retire on it. Rodgers himself is a driven man. Competition is an obsession. He thrives on it. lnstead ofjustjogging, he does wind sprints uphill. He still works 15-hour days... OK, l'll work on this later. ...trying to make him and his business richer. You've got millions of dollars already. You're running around frantically trying to make more? lt's just ugly. Well, buried in your question is an assumption that making money is bad. lt isn't. l do good stuff, not bad stuff. And the world's better off when l make a dollar, not worse off. Rich as Rodgers is, he still makes much less than some other CEOs. Take my boss, for example. Michael Eisner recently took home more than half a billion dollars. My instinct tells me that when he gets so much, l and others get less. But is that true? The board of directors had to approve the payment. Are the boards of directors stupid? Are they all corrupt? Or are they seeing something that maybe you and l don't see? Since Eisner took charge, Disney's net worth has climbed from 2 to 53 billion dollars. That's $52 billion more than Eisner was paid. He's creating a lot more money for the company than he's getting back. To do that, Rodgers says CEOs have to be tough. Big picture, Steve, what's your problem? ...we're going to use elements of compiling... When Fortune magazine wrote about America's toughest bosses, they put Rodgers on the cover. Rodgers isn't embarrassed about that, and look how ruthless he is when an employee wants to earn not even close to what Rodgers gets. lf this guy is going to leave for $2,000 a year, l want him gone. That's mean. You're being mean to people. Hey, you're fighting a war, an economic war with a major power. You better look to the top guy to be tough. Do you want the head guy to be touchy feely, wear earth shoes, eat granola and drive a Volvo? Traditionally, businesses see their jobs as maximizing their profits. Not long ago, the owners of Ben & Jerry's lce Cream said they'd practice ''caring capitalism.'' For example, they'd limit how much their next CEO could make. How can you possibly justify somebody making $1 million or more a year when their line-level worker can't make enough to afford a house? Ben & Jerry announced that the highest paid workers would make no more than five times what the lowest paid workers get. Lot's of people cheered the idea. (Singing) We second that emotion! But it didn't work. Ben & Jerry weren't satisfied with the people who applied. They ended up hiring this man at a salary of, not five times more than other workers made, but 14 times more. l'm glad to be the CEO. And l hope that a year from now, you'll say the same thing. Thank you. Then he didn't work out. Ben and Jerry paid even more to hire today's CEO. No! Executive salaries are too high at lots of companies, say these workers at a union rally on Wall Street. When these guys are making more, that means there's less for you? Yes, without a doubt. They don't give back what they take. One pie? They get a bigger piece, you get a smaller piece? We get the crumbs. We don't even get a piece. We get the crumbs. lt is true that the wage gap between the highest and lowest paid has widened. The AFL-ClO complains that in the past 15 years, bosses' pay has risen 500 percent. That's greed. Still, this doesn't mean the workers were hurt. Factory wages were up, too -- up 70 percent. We will not allow you. Still, says AFL-ClO president John Sweeney, that doesn't justify the absurd payments the bosses get. This is basically about corporate greed. They're just greedy?. At its worst. What does the word ''greed'' mean? Greed means selfishness. lt means taking more than you deserve. More than you deserve. Of course, who decides what we deserve? TV reporters make lots of money. Now, l've never turned down a pay raise. l want as much for me as l can get. And John Sweeney makes more than $200,000. Do you ever turn down a pay raise? No. You're not greedy?. No. But that's wanting more. We could live on less. Well, l'm not sure about you. Well, you could, couldn't you? No. You need every penny you got?. l mean, you could take less, right?. Give some to the workers? Yeah, some. So aren't you greedy?. No. Nor am I, says the rich entrepreneur, as he pours his guests fine wine from his expensive wine cellar. lf we can ship 10 new products every quarter for the next couple of years, we will all be very well off. And if they're well-off, we will have benefited. Of course, there are exceptions -- the CEO who pays himself a fortune even when his company isn't doing well, the meat packing plant that defeats itself by being dirty. But those are exceptions. ln general, greed works for businesses only if they create something we want. Still, once they have all this money, aren't there more moral things they should do with it?. Coming up next, when people are this rich, shouldn't they give more money away?. Wouldn't that be the fair thing to do and help more people? How much money does anyone need? When you have this much, shouldn't you give some of it away?. Vanderbilt gave one percent of his money away. That's how Vanderbilt University got started, but one percent is pretty cheap. Ted Turner calls it appalling. l thought all rich people gave lots of money away, because when l saw ''A Christmas Carol,'' l just assumed that everybody with a lot of money gave it away because they didn't want to be Scrooge. That's why, like, Warren Buffet -- he's a wonderful guy. And he's going to give all his money away when he dies. But he could live another 20 or 30 years. He should give some away now, because he's already worth $18 or $20 billion. You'd have to say that he falls into the Ebeneezer Scrooge category! But you just called him a good guy. He is a good guy. But he should give a little more away now. That's all. ln my opinion -- that's one man's opinion. Shortly after we did this interview, Turner stood up at a UN function and announced that he'd... ...donate a billion dollars to the UN causes myself and announce it tonight. The press cheered -- finally, a tycoon gives something back. Turner now says we should shame other rich people into giving more. What he said is patently stupid, okay?. Turner doesn't get it, says TJ Rodgers. What he should do is take his money and invest it. And he can't help people any other better way than to invest it and to have the companies and buildings and plants that are created with his investment create jobs and wealth and products for other people. So running around giving his money away is a way to maybe make himself feel good. But it sure as hell isn't a good way to help people. Whoa! lt's not?. Clearly, we need charity to help those who cannot work or feed themselves. And if Turner's UN gift does that or helps clear away land mines from fields where kids play, then the money will help people. But of course, there's no guarantee of that. UN charities are famous for squandering money on their own bureaucracy. Why do we think that giving away money is better than making money?. Giving away money is a lot easier than building a new business or a new industry where you've created something that didn't exist before. l have a lot more respect for Ted Turner for building CNN at a time when no one thought it was possible, than l have for any possible good he could do as a philanthropist. lt's kinder to give money away. ls it kinder to give money away than to create something that enriches all of us -- to create newjobs? lf you create a job, you are giving someone the means to support himself. lf you give money away, you're not helping him to be self-supporting. Good morning Mr Milken. Just how far can we take this argument?. Let's consider the greedy, junk bond king, Michael Milken and Mother Teresa. Milken made himself a fortune and went to jail for breaking securities laws. Who did more for the world, Michael Milken or Mother Teresa? Michael Milken, no question. Milken far surpassed the benefits that she provided. That's a surprising claim. But it is true that Milken, by pioneering a new way for companies to raise money, helped create tens of thousands of jobs. Mattel, the toy maker, was rescued by Milken's junk bonds. Now it's the world's biggest toy company. TWA, Revlon and many other companies were saved by Milken's junk. Millions of people now make cheaper phone calls, because Milken funded the phone company MCl. His bonds made CNN and Turner's companies possible. We're all much, much better off as a result of what he did. Now people look at the two, and they say, ''That's absurd. Mother Teresa was a moral hero, and he was a criminal.'' Because they're looking at motives. Michael Milken didn't suffer. He didn't go into the slums. She went into the slums, and she suffered. But l say, what's so good about suffering? l'd look at the value that people created. And on that scale, l have no trouble - Michael Milken. l have trouble saying Milken did more. Mother Teresa's deeds live on after her death. Four thousand sisters now continue what she began. And of course, charity work just feels more noble than making money. The plan is to make it $100 million a year for 10 years. The highest thing you can do is to help others. Why is giving your money away better than creating all these jobs? l didn't say it was. Yes, you did. They're both good. No, l didn't. lf creating jobs is important, why not do both? Because, says David Kelley, people like him and Bill Gates are so good at creating jobs. And that's the best gift. Working with someone where you're both pursuing your self-interest treats people with a kind of respect -- a higher degree of respect than treating the person just as a hungry mouth that needs to be fed. lf Bill Gates says, ''Look, l'm good at making money. l serve people.'' But this is ridiculous, l mean, you know... l tried to argue this with Ted Turner, but he wasn't buying it. Am l wrong in thinking that l'm happy if Bill Gates gives nothing to charity. But wouldn't you be happier if he did? What are you... But just hear me out. What are you beating on me about?. You're just another -- this is why people don't like newsmen. l'm a newsman, too. l know your dirty tricks! There's nothing more to say! Good-bye.. l'm walking off the set! (Laughter) Whoops! Maybe l went too far! We'll return in a moment with some final thoughts. Greed isn't a nice thing. Unrestrained greed would mean theft, fighting, taking by force. But as long as theft is illegal, as long as we have to trade with each other to get what we want, greed is a productive force. So the next time someone tells you you're greedy, remind them that greed helped build civilization. ls that so bad? l'm John Stossel. That's our program for tonight. Thanks for watching.

Video Details

Duration: 39 minutes and 41 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: John Stossel
Director: John Stossel
Views: 5,817
Posted by: on Dec 21, 2009

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