I prefer to think the good outweighs the bad. You shouldn't judge someone by their shortcomings alone, y'know? We all make mistakes, but that doesn't make us ZOMGtehEVILZppl. We're just struggling along with our own different moral compasses. And some of us use ours more than others.
I've been selling on Ebay for years. It's a 100 percent FACT that people are generally good. I've only had 3 evil people out of literally 10,000++ people. So, based on Ebay Logic, people are mostly GOOD!
People are generally good, imo. They usually mean well. However, the majority of people are ignorant, which can make good people unintentionally do bad things, and let the bad people take advantage of the ignorance to be their bad selves.
people are neither intrinsically bad or good. however, there are relevant criteria if you want to compare them... i.e., the things which mark each human distinctly from the next.
unfortunately, most people think this is physical features, as they are the simplest and most distinguishable, as well as by other social stigmas that are nearly as superficial. personally, i believe it is someone's choices that defines them, regardless of whether their choices make them "good", "bad", or whatever label you wish to apply.
a person's choices are their foremost characteristic... one example i can think of is two men who were born in Europe in the late 1800s. although they were both quite intelligent, in their early years only the first was prominent--a loyal soldier, twice decorated for bravery, who eventually went on to become a successful politician. the second struggled a bit more as a young adult, and spend a good portion of his time unemployed or working a dead-end job despite being smart. this second man, though, made immeasurable discoveries in the field of physics and the other attempted to take over Europe, ordered the murder of over 6 million people in cold blood, and due to his arrogance, eventually lost WWII due to his losses when attempting to invade the Soviet Union. Of course, I am talking about Albert Einstein and Adolf Hitler.
it is difficult to understand the choices someone makes in the same way they do, though. i say choices, and not actions, because sometimes good choices and bad choices can result in someone taking the same actions depending on what the decision was. you have to understand what the person thinks the decision is, what their options are, and why they made one choice or another.
it is easy to think many people are bad. we are selfish beings by nature, and the social dynamic is very powerful... it's hard to say who is truly despicable and who is simply following the crowd because they think it's necessary to follow suit in order to survive. conversely, it is much more difficult (and rewarding) to forcibly ignore a person's crappy behavior and give them a real chance to show their true nature. however, as i say, the social dynamic is very powerful, and it can work both ways.
the question is not whether people are good or bad, but which of the two you are contributing towards. surly you wouldnt think it's about everybody else but you, right?
In general, people are all afraid.
But to answer the question, I think that there is an innate goodness in people that is not always actualized. But then I could argue that if the goodness is not always actualized, maybe it doesn't exist and we're bad by default?
Or maybe we're tabula rrrrrrosa! We're born as neither good nor bad, and then we go through life with the sum of our experiences branded onto our hearts. Some of us become Hitlers some of us Ghandis.. Most of us become that jagoff who cut you off in your car this morning, last night, the other day.
So really, my post is entirely insubstantial.
But I'm a cynical optimist so they must be good..
"Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?"--Thoreau