As the world reels in the wake of a banking crisis, the likes of which have not been seen in a generation, attention is naturally turning to the role of greed. For all of the technical explanations for meltdown in the financial markets, the simplest, most readily accepted and almost universal explanation is the single word 'greed'. The prospects of easy, risk-free, large profits which caricature the instinct of international finance might seem a world away. But, whatever some commentators might like to portray, greed is not confined to the financial markets. Greed is not the preserve of bankers, traders and brokers operating in isolation of the society in which the rest of us reside. Greed is a big subject which can at once be seen as the disease at the heart of society and the motivating force behind the progress of mankind.