Jeremy Stein - Journal

« »

Greed Disguised

I’ve read that the efficiency of a purchase (i.e. the satisfaction gained from the money spent) goes from high to low with the following situations:

  1. spending your money on yourself
  2. spending someone else’s money on yourself
  3. spending your money on someone else
  4. spending someone else’s money on someone else

This is used, among other things, to explain why capitalism is more efficient than communism. But my application is far more personal…

You see, I’m pretty sure that you were planning on spending some of your money on me. Don’t ask me how; I just know these things. That would put you in category #3. Hmm, that’s a bit low on the efficiency scale.

I have a proposal. How about you let me control how you spend the money? This would move you to category #2. How would I do that, you ask? Through the time-honored system of distributing a wish list, I reply triumphantly. By purchasing items from my wish list, you improve the efficiency of your money.

And remember: efficient people are happy people. Be happy.

June 7, 2005 5 Comments.


  1. Jeremy replied:

    Of course, if you want to move all the way up to category #1, you could just give me the the money.

    But I wouldn’t suggest that.

    June 7th, 2005 at 1:00 pm. Permalink.

  2. Jess replied:

    That doesn’t move me to category 2; it moves YOU to category 2. Nice try, though.

    June 7th, 2005 at 3:13 pm. Permalink.

  3. Tara replied:

    FYI, the dried yogurt starter we purchased some 6 months or so ago is still in the fridge waiting for you. That was a #1, I believe — are you feeling efficient?

    June 7th, 2005 at 7:27 pm. Permalink.

  4. Tara replied:

    By the way, what happens if I spend money you earn on you. Is that a separate category?

    June 7th, 2005 at 7:28 pm. Permalink.

  5. Dave Wolfe replied:

    I believe I detect a hint of greed from my dear brother, but birthdays (and human nature) can do this to a person. Let me give a list that perhaps you can consider. The revised premise is taken from Luke 12:33 (“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear not, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys”). Thus, the “efficiency” (from high to low, i.e. the degree of heavenly reward) of the matter may be as follows:

    1) Giving your money to the poor (anonymously, without any expectation of payback) – Matt 6:3-4
    2) Giving your money to the poor (in person, without any expectation of payback)
    3) Giving money someone has given you to the poor
    4) Expecting others to give you money or gift (can we say b-day list?)
    5) Keeping your money for yourself (see #1 and #3 above)

    As the LORD said to Abram, “Be not afraid…I [that is, ‘God’] am your…great reward” (Gen. 15:1). Ah dear brother, as you said of worldly things last Wed night, “It’s all going to burn up!” Perhaps someone else can refine my very rough list…

    June 8th, 2005 at 12:03 pm. Permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *