Friday, October 10, 2008
Money. Power. Respect.
Just read "The Wolf of Wall Street". Really interesting book. It's about a guy who started off cold calling for a brokerage firm, became big time, started his own firm, and became very very corrupt. At age 26 he made hundreds of millions, by 36 he was federally indicted. Late 80's, early 90's he ran a pump and dump scheme hyping up a mid-cap stock, some that he ipo'd, and then shorting or selling it at it's high, screwing many of the investors and clients. He began money-laundering, drugs, and other immoral activities. It's always interesting reading or watching a story like this unfold. They usually come from modest means, work their way up, become embarrassingly rich, too rich for their own good, and think they're bullet proof. It's funny how money and/or power can change someone. Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Elliot Spitzer, Kenneth Lay, and in this story Jordan Belmont come to mind. Some are politicians, some are elite business men. But they all share the same characteristics. It starts off slow, it always does, and then once the line becomes blurry, they do the most unbelievable things. Since the beginning of time people in power have done this. What's unbelievable to me, is that what Jordan was doing was actually legal. He was ripping off hundreds of millions of dollars from business owners/investors across america and if he didn't become flagrant with it, or lose sight of the line, he could've stood to make hundreds of millions more. It's almost depressing thinking that our government and regulators have more holes in the laws and regulations "than swiss cheese" as he puts it. He ended up serving 22 months for hundreds of millions. Isn't that worth it? Many people would do that crime for that time in a minute. I just don't get how so many white collared corporate criminals get away with it. He says he believes 90% of wall street is good and 10% might be bad. Well, 10% could definitely kill the market. i believe it has. It's even worse than the 80/20 rule. It is even more destructive to our economy and my psyche. I can't even phathom all the criminal activity on wall street, all the schemes, all the profit from lawless activities. Hedge funds definitely come to mind, naked short selling, pump and dumps, ipo's. Where is the moral fiber in the successful man? Is the temptation too great? The will power to weak? Is this the culture our most successful men have created or is the culture something that created the man? Once the money comes, once you get everything you ever wanted, is there nothing more to life? Dale Carnegie has said, "It's not who you are, or what you have that determines your happiness, it's what you think about." It's all about attitude, perception=reality. Rockstars, millinoaires, athletes, those who become bored turn to drugs, hookers, and even suicide. Where is the light at the end of the tunnel? The thrill of the chase or the thrill of the kill. Once the chase ends, what's left? I would hope a loving family, children, religion. Something to work for, something to hope for, someone to love, and something to believe in. This new prolonged youth phase of 23-30, that didn't exist a generation before us, has my generation reach new heights of boredom, selfishness, instant gratification. Are our generation's moral threads coming untied from these new years of youth. Are we worse off? Are we better off? More imporantly does anyone "Know Thyself" anymore. What's the purpose of your lifetime? I guess only you can answer that.
Posted by Renwei Chung at 12:44 PM