Greed is the selfish desire for or pursuit of money, wealth, power, food, or other possessions, especially when this denies the same goods to others. It is generally considered a vice, and is one of the seven deadly sins in Catholicism.
Some desire to increase one's wealth is nearly universal and acceptable in any culture, but this simple want is not considered greed. Greed is the extreme form of this desire, especially where one desires things simply for the sake of owning them (such as the desire to have great amounts of money not to purchase objects, but possession or the money is an end in itself). Greed typically entails acquiring material possessions at the expense of other person's welfare (for example, a father buying himself a new car rather than fix the roof of his family's home) or otherwise reflect priorities.
A well known example of greed is the pirate Hendrick Lucifer who fought for hours to get in the posession of Cuban gold becoming mortally wounded fighting for it. He died of his wounds just hours after having transfered the booty to his ship.
Greed for food or drink, combined with excessive indulgence in them, is called gluttony. Excessive greed for and indulgence in sex is called lust, although this term no longer carries as negative connotations as it once did.
A woodcut by Ugo da Carpi, is entitled "Hercules Chasing Avarice from the Temple of the Muses". Thomas Aquinas metaphorically described the sin of Avarice as "Mammon being carried up from Hell by a wolf, coming to inflame the human heart with Greed".
Proponents of laissez-faire capitalism sometimes argue that greed should not be considered a negative trait and should instead be embraced, as they claim that greed is a profoundly benevolent force in human affairs, as well as a necessary foundation for the capitalist system. Critics have argued this definition confuses greed with self-interest, which can be benign. This viewpoint is presented by the character Gordon Gekko in the film Wall Street, who famously declares that "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good."