Don Boudreaux casts aside the lid on social attitudes. Behold:
Ever notice how enthusiastically our popular and political culture endorses and even celebrates self-interestedness?
Nope. But wait --
Many obviously self-interested actions are admired and encouraged. Only some self-interested actions are slapped with the label "greed" and condemned as ugly and harmful.
Jogging to stay healthy is virtuous; managing your pharmaceutical firm to stay profitable is inconsiderate (and for many people downright scandalous).
Damned greedy, those joggers.
Boudreaux analyses the patterns of double standards in the "greed" definition -- and reaches a surprising conclusion.
Don B. doesn't delve into the whys and wherefores here, but I think people tar financial aspirations as "selfish" because they believe it's a zero-sum game. Nobody loses out if you run a mile, but if you earn a hundred dollars -- why, you might as well have taken it out of a homeless person's pocket, the way you'll be reviled.