Think tank: 10 Greediest Americans

The Institute for Policy Studies has published its list of the 10 greediest Americans for 2011.

"Unfortunately, it was very easy to choose 10," says Sam Pizzigati, editor of the think tank's "Too Much" weekly newsletter. "That's the problem with our economy at the current time."


Pizzigati says he could have made things easy by just choosing the top 10 players in the hedge fund industry.

But, he adds, "We try to give a little flavor of the variety of the greed."


This is the fourth year that the liberal think tank, which focuses on inequality, has published the list.

Larry Ellison, chief executive of Oracle, has made the list annually and this year ranks No. 3. "And he shows no sign of slowing down," Pizzigati says.

But Ellison has some new competition.

Mark Pincus, chief executive of online games developer Zynga, tops the greed list.

According to Too Much: "High tech start-ups typically attract talent by offering shares of stock in their new concern, and Pincus had done just that with Zynga. But Pincus had apparently concluded, with the big IPO pending, that he had given away too many shares.

"In early November, the Wall Street Journal revealed that Zynga management had demanded that various employees "give back" their stock "or face termination."

"Pincus, in response to the Journal story, sent out what amounted to a non-denial denial. But follow-up news reports would soon reinforce the image of Zynga as more shark tank than romper room of inspired gamers.

"The New York Times would describe a "messy and ruthless" Zynga workplace chock-full of "loud outbursts from Mr. Pincus, threats from senior leaders, and moments when colleagues broke down into tears."


With behavior like that, Pincus may be a recurring name on the greed list. "He shows great promise," Pizzigati says.