The Pathology of the Rich White Family:
"Pleonexia" is a Greek word, first used--as far as I know--by Hesiod in the 8th c. BCE, to characterize his brother's desire for more than his fair share of the family inheritance.  The word was later used by Aristotle in both his Politics and the Nichomachean Ethics to help establish the guidelines of a well functioning polis.
Today pleonexia is usually mistranslated as simply “greed”. This is a grievous error. Instead, Aristotle was quite clear that pleonexia is far more than greed: it is the insatiable desire for more, no matter what the object of desire—and this insatiable desire leads to both injustice and instability in the polis. Usually it was “excessive acquisitiveness of all divisible goods” as Ryan Balot writes, but we can simply identify it as insatiability and thereby recognize it as a disease akin to addictions of all sorts. This is exactly what University of Illinois psychology professor Arthur Nikelly found in his work: pleonexia can be thought of as a mental illness. 
It is important to take a step back and wonder whether our economic system—a system that requires endless growth—is in fact pleonexic itself. If you reflect a bit on this I think you’ll find the answer is quite clear—and although I won’t go into it here, you should be able to see most objections to this analysis are self-justifying attempts to avoid the obvious. Or, as Kenneth Boulding said way back in the 1960’s, “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” 
The word “psychopath” is critical as well. Most often we think of some deranged criminal committing heinous acts. But more accurately the condition is the absence of empathy and the resultant behavior doesn’t need to rise to criminality. In fact, in our upside-down world, we have psychopaths as venerated leaders and role models. I prefer to use the word to convey “single-mindedness”, meaning the pursuit of one’s goals with near total disregard for consequences. I won’t elaborate here—you can find more under the tabs, Capitalism and Unhappiness and Pleonexia and Psychopathy. Suffice to say that “driven” is a laudable attribute of most successful CEO’s. Driven to what? The maximum growth of their companies. And so, our economy is both pleonexic and psychopathic.
This is why we must understand that business leaders are not our leaders and they have no business constructing our world. Yet this is our current condition, the hierarchy we have in place. We have, in fact, put the fox in charge of the hen house and so widespread anxiety, and the aforementioned social and ecological ills should be no surprise.
All of the above is a too-long introduction to Chris Hedges’ insightful essay, The Pathology of the Rich White Family. Hedges gets it right. The very wealthy are often sociopaths—a rough synonym of psychopath—and their pathology, their disease has a devastating impact on all of us. Combining sociopathy with greed nicely connotes the overall pathological impact while pointing towards the endemic deficiencies of the very wealthy. If I can quibble (or a bit more than), we need a different word than “greed”. When we attribute certain behaviors to greed, we naturalize those behaviors—and therefore naturalize the word. Although we may condemn the acts, we recognize greed as part of our human nature (I’ll argue with this another time!). If we are to undo our current condition it seems to me that we need to more clearly identify pathological behaviors and institutions. This is why I’ve adopted Hesiod’s pleonexia: it is the condition of insatiability that causes injustice and instability in our collective polis. It is, as professor Nekelly argues, a disease that requires treatment. I don’t think is too much to say that it is the pandemic of our time: inasmuch as nearly all policy is guided by the sufferers and the sufferers are lauded as successful role models, until we upend that hierarchy, we have little chance of continuance, let alone sustainability.
 Hesiod, Works and Days. See: Hesiod, Theogony Worlds and Days. Trans and Intro by Apostolos N. Athanassakis, Second Edition (Johns Hopkins 2004)
 Ryan Balot, Aristotle's Critique of Phaleas: Justice, Equality, and Pleonexia. Hermes
129. Bd., H. 1 (2001), pp. 32-44 http://www.jstor.org/stable/4477400
 See reference to two articles by Nikelly under the Pleonexia and Psychopathy tab
 Kenneth Boulding, The Economics of Spaceship Earth. 1966 Yes, he’s an economist!
The Pathology of the Rich White Family
Truthdig; Posted on May 17, 2015
By Chris Hedges
The pathology of the rich white family is the most dangerous pathology in America. The rich white family is cursed with too much money and privilege. It is devoid of empathy, the result of lifetimes of entitlement. It has little sense of loyalty and lacks the capacity for self-sacrifice. Its definition of friendship is reduced to “What can you do for me?” It is possessed by an insatiable lust to increase its fortunes and power. It believes that wealth and privilege confer to it a superior intelligence and virtue. It is infused with an unchecked hedonism and narcissism. And because of all this, it interprets reality through a lens of self-adulation and greed that renders it delusional. The rich white family is a menace. The pathologies of the poor, when set against the pathologies of rich white people, are like a candle set beside the sun.
There are no shortages of acolytes and propagandists for rich white families. They dominate our airwaves. They blame poverty, societal breakdown, urban violence, drug use, domestic abuse and crime on the pathology of poor black families—not that they know any. They argue that poor black families disintegrate because of some inherent defect—here you can read between the lines that white people are better than black people—a defect that these poor families need to fix.
Peddle this simplistic and racist garbage and you will be given a column at The New York Times. It always pays to suck up to rich white families. If you are black and parrot this line, rich white people are overcome with joy. They go to extreme lengths to give you a platform. You can become president or a Supreme Court justice. You can get a television talk show or tenure at a university. You can get money for your foundation. You can publish self-help books. Your films will be funded. You might even be hired to run a company.
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