In "The Morals of the Prince," Niccolo Machiavelli argues the various methods of being a successful prince. He states that a prince can not always be good, and if he wants to keep his post he must learn not to be good. Basically, Machiavelli states that if you are too generous, the non-generous people will take advantage of you and will take away your power.
If a prince does not want to rob his people and avoid poverty, he must be a miserable, or greedy. This is what keeps a prince in power. Machiavelli always states that it is better for a ruler to be merciful than to be cruel. A ruler must be somewhat cruel in order to keep his subjects united and loyal, yet he must be merciful as to not drive always his subjects. Also, Machiavelli believes that it was better to be feared than loved. He believes it is simply safer and that the nature of man makes it harder to overthrow a feared leader than a loved one.
I agree with most of the points Machiavelli makes. I do believe that you can not be too generous to your subjects or well they will take advantage of you. Many of the great rulers who were too generous to the people ended up in bloodshed because of small things that the ruler overlooked. You must keep guard and not be taken advantage of if you try to be generous.
I also believe it is smarter to be merciful than cruel. A cruel leader will drive his subjects away and eventually lead to a revolution. A merciful leader will earn the respect of his subjects and thus continue to peacefully rule. Lastly, it is better to be feared than loved. This makes sense because if you're loved, certain people have control of you because you most likely love them back. However, if you're scared, you're on top of everyone and nobody can force you to do anything against your will, yet you can still keep your subjects loyal.