March 30, 2005
Don't let life be just about the 'Benjamins'
Is everything about money? Television provides a cesspool
of programs that make big profits. Some sports superstars
are out of control and still make big bucks. Corporate
scandals haven't hindered fat paychecks
for unproductive executives. So, where is the integrity?
Money itself has never been the problem. The
love of money is a different story. When individuals
and cultures are driven by the need to show off wealth
and power, (often interchangeable in the eyes of observers),
then values are conveniently compromised and integrity
Our society often appears to worship those who have
lots of money, celebrity and power. Check out the list
of top-selling books and you will see that one near the
top concerns the crime and conviction of Scott Peterson,
an unfaithful husband who was convicted of killing his
wife and unborn child. Amber Frey, Peterson's "mistress" has
produced a bestseller. Who spends money for a "pulp" rag
like this? Answer: a large number of people.
Publishers, program directors, product developers and
advertisers know how to respond, profitably, to the appetites
of the marketplace. Millions cannot wait to become part
of the lowest common human denominator - a frenzy that
enjoys the agony, degradation and misbehavior of others.
Back to money: One more example is the Fannie Mae scandal
emerging from a private, shareholder-owned company. This
organization, operating under a Congressional Charter,
was created to increase the availability and affordability
of homeownership for low-, moderate-, and middle-income
In December Fannie Mae ousted its CEO, Franklin D.
Raines, but not before he received $140 Million Golden
Parachute including $19 million severance, an annual
salary (lifetime) of $1.37 million. And the board approved
it all. So much for public-spirited executive accountability
and responsible board leadership!
So, what might individuals do? Identify quality organizations
whose integrity-centered priorities build trust and respect.
These companies put customers first. Let your dollars to
do the talking. Click off smut and dribble and boycott
culture-destroying products and programs. Your decisions
about spending can have a positive impact. Money can shape
society, constructively. Act now.