Aristotle did not glorify riches, but he did note that dire poverty or other significant scarcity of means had a way of making the achievement of the good life more than a little bit difficult. Some of the great religious traditions have endorsed a renunciation of wealth as a high virtue. Enlightenment philosophers have praised the achievement of sufficient wealth as essential to the sustaining of personal sovereignty. In the film Wall Street (1987), Gordon Gekko tells us that greed is good, and look where that left him and the country in 2008! Under the guidance of Professor Dana Gioia, professor of poetry and public culture, students will update to their own satisfaction Aristotle’s notion that wealth along with health and friendship are essential to the good life.
Dana Gioia holds the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California. Professor Gioia is the former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning poet. His poetry collection,Interrogations at Noon, won the 2002 American Book Award. A true polymath, Professor Gioia has also written an opera.