Over the last week or so I have become addicted to the television show American Greed. American Greed is a show that airs on CNBC which highlights some of the biggest corporate and white-collar crimes in the history of the United States. One of my boys put me on to this show and I have been hooked. I have now watched dozens of episodes on Hulu and YouTube. The reason I have become so hooked on the show is because it shows how everyone from the average real estate investor to a top Wall Street executive can be lured by greed to crime. The people on American Greed that I find the most interesting are the everyday hard-working person who gets way over there head and the next thing they know they are involved in a Ponzi scheme. I understand some of these people total intent was defraud and steal money but some people I feel just get caught in the paper chase. They all decided to go hard after money at all costs.
Lil Wayne in his song “Hustlas Muzik” says “Money is the Motivation”. Like everyone I nodded my head to the track thinking it’s talking directly to me. Shit I can even here myself saying, “Ya Damn right you better paper chase son!” The thing is everyone is out to get money. It’s the ruling principle of this capitalistic society we live in right? We live in a society where we let the material things on the outside define who we are. When we should let who we are define the wealth we may get.
A person reading this post so far probably is thinking “what the hell are you talking about I have to get money to survive and live get my piece of the American Pie”. Now I am the first person to shout out Cash Rules Everything Around Me…Dolla Dolla Bill Ya’ll!! (shout out to the Wu-Tang Clan) I am cool with someone getting their money and advancing their lifestyle. But,What does one do after they get the C.R.E.A.M.? How much of your soul are you willing to sell? If you don’t have a purpose I figure the only thing for you to do after getting paper is to strive to get more paper. This is where I believe Greed can begin to rear its ugly head.
This capitalistic society leans the carrot on the string out in front of us. You know the proverbial “American Dream”. We hustle in bustle to get this “dream” while never realize our true purpose or being on this earth. It’s almost like a societal Jedi Mind trick because we all do things we truly don’t love or believe in because of the all mighty dollar. It promotes greed and foregoing purpose just get these material thing. In turn they continue to make us slaves to their system.
After you make it whats the real difference? Example: You have 5 Million dollars and I have 10 million dollars. What can I really do that you can’t on a basic level? We both millionaires, right? There is not much more I can do more than you but buy more of items than you. So, I can buy 5 Ranges(Range Rovers) and you can only buy 1. The funny thing about having 5 Ranges you can only drive ONE Range at a time. Now this is where the game gets crazy. Since you found out I have 5 Ranges you decide to get in a Cold War arm race with me to show society how much more you can get than me. I think this case just as many others begin to make some one go from being motivated to greed. There is a very fine line between greed and competition.
Of course more money does get you more power but, where does your thirst for power and money stop? You can get as much power as you want but if you do not have purpose it won’t mean a damn thing. The strange thing is more money and power without purpose can sometimes be a detriment to you. It will make you think you need to get more money and more power to feel truly satisfied. One of the con artists on American Greed said something that resonated with me. He said he was able to get money out of people and sell them on dreams that may not be logically true because he was able to tap into every humans carnal instinct of greed!
The way that you can satisfy your quench of capitalism and some sense of internal sanity is to strive to find your purpose. If you find your purpose in what you are doing the money, power, and success will come with hard work and playing the game correctly. As I have read and surveyed I have found those who have been able to have continued success are the ones that found some sort of purpose in their work. As Common said…”What good is having a Range when its time to go home?”