What is right?

I often struggle with ideas on religion and politics and when the two should be intertwined. My atheist associates will tell you that never the twine shall meet. I don't think I can agree there. I think many political view points, and our ability to accept them, or not accept them is directly related to our moral compass. And our moral compass is defined in many ways, not the least of which, for those who believe, is our religious affiliation.

I mention this because I struggle with the argument for the necessity for greed. I think it is something we can function without. It encourages all the negative vices of humans, and is in fact one of the deadly sins. But In discussions I have had with others they say that with out greed, humans would be lazy, unimaginative and become stagnant. We need motivation. Is greed the only way? Is apple only successful because of Mr. Jobs obsession with being the best? Does a company focused on having the best product and not on having the best profits fair worse in the marketplace? Are those two concepts related?

To me greed is an excessive desire for something, especially for things that are not needed. If you have everything you need, are comfortable and happy, do you think that would prevent you from expanding your mind? For me Greed is a materialistic thing. I don’t have an issue with a person wanting to know more, or prefect a skill. As long as those things aren’t to the detriment of others, (ie you don’t stop others in their quest for more knowledge or betterment of themselves).

Perhaps I’m too idealistic. I want to be optimistic about human nature, I want to believe that we can be good, if we chose to be, but capitalism and commercialism does not lend itself to those qualities. If everything around you is focused on telling you that you aren’t happy. That you need more, that you have to be better, how can the society function with out greed.

And I brought up religion for this reason. If you do not believe, its your moral compass that directs your actions, that tells you right from wrong, what outside of religion/spiritual belief stops you from not focusing only on carnal needs? I am asking for specific answers here, not an attack on religion/spiritual connections. What stops an unbeliever from not only focusing on self and family? Social stigma? Lack of power? Lack of ambition? Lack of resources?

If you don’t believe in something, you don’t feel anything when you don’t adhere to the rules of it. So if you don’t believe in a law, do you still follow it? Why? The ramifications? Because you can SEE jails and prisons? What is good? What is right? If the basic human feeling is to SURVIVE, what stops you from doing those things that hurt others?