Wednesday, July 1, 2009

free market democracy


Another thing to balance.

The only thing to balance?

Being consumed by an insatiable desire to work, is to be driven to be drove into the ground. This comes at a metaphor and an eventual literal prediction. The sacrifices made to quell a workaholic appetite can easily cross the border from healthy to otherwise. The "sacrifices" come at the expense of personal physical health, psychological health, family....the list goes on. These sacrifices can be seen as misplaced. Not only to suffice for the inevitable need for the basics, namely: food, clothing, shelter and now in some societies, an education, but to elevate the accumulation of monetary digital decimal places in order to take the place of what used to be the desire to accumulate tangible resources necessary for survival but now for credit in the form of ones and zeros.
Bernard Madoff just sentenced to 150 years. What kind of arbitrary number is that really. This man embodies the idea of greed, is the new face of "deadly sin". Why not simply give him life in prison? To put a number on it, any number, is to subversely acknowledge that we as a society do not fully condone greedy behavior, for our precious Free Market Democracy is based on it. If Madoff was sentenced to life in prison it would send the message that, "well people, look what happens when you get are bound to die in a place that is confining and undesirable". Of coarse being 71 years old, Madoff is probably destined to die in prison anyway even if he had the same sentence at age 7. That is besides the point. The rhetoric is still leaving the door open. The belief that rehabilitation for reintegration is one that is highly admirable and one that is under utilized in the United States to some standards but in some ways you can not teach an old dog....and the extent and thorough devastation that was inflicted is unforgivable and in some extremely unique cases figureheads for such acts of selfish impropriety, these kinds of people, just like those who bless our species with examples of selfless propriety could be treated as standards on one end, high, of the spectrum, could be treated as lower ends of the same spectrum (the spectrum that we all adhere too) and could be made into examples in the form of a deterrent by their sentence.

Yeah, 150 years is a long time. Longer than our life times. He will die in jail. What does the wording do to our collective conscience? The sentence handed is finite and idea that we are able to comprehend, that this will end, like everything else that we have ever experienced including the life giving source of the Sun. This finite number will end independently of the lifespan of the individual responsible for the acts of extremity. Life in prison would show that there is no independent end to the punishment, it is terminated when you do. It could be seen that his wife should have the same fate for the rest of her days in stead of living off of what is probably another hand out of a quarter of a million dollars per year or whatever they have figured on.

To be driven to accumulation is to be asleep at the wheel. You can not stay on the road forever in that condition.


  1. Colleen15.7.09

    I've been enjoying your blog, Joe. :)
    Madoff arrived in NC yesterday. He has been sent to a prison in Butner. That's right off the Durham County line.

  2. Myles Duncanson20.7.09

    $$ If Madoff was sentenced to life in prison it would send the message that, "well people, look what happens when you get are bound to die in a place that is confining and undesirable". $$

    In regards to the above statement, I would like to point out that in a manner of speaking, most of us do die in a place that is confining and undesirable. It is not the literal jail cell of concrete and Iorn, but rather the rigid stucture of our dayily lives. For those of you who have seen the movie Old School, there is a point where one of Luke Willson's co-workers asks Luke if he can join the frat, when Luke says no, the guy has a little monolouge about how he really needs it, becuase he works the same job, week after week, and the only variation is that he gets to go golfing on sundays, and he hates golf. If you've seen the movie you'll know what im talking about. At any rate this is what im getting at, that we work a 9-5 job 5 days a week 50 weeks a year for 40 years, and then die. We spend all our lives amassing a wealth, and rarely spend time enjoying the good stuff in life. As you said joe, it is no longer about simply surviving, it has become "necessary ...(for an acumulation of)... credit in the form of ones and zeros". An interesting comparison could be made between the US and France, where they have either a 4 or 3 day work week (can't remember which). One could argue that they are coming much closer to "just surviving", and "living" more. Anyways, just thought I'd add my 2 cents.....

  3. I think that the difference between going to prison and being conditioned by the norms of society are vast. I agree fully that the 9-5'er is one that is detrimental to the individual and societies that involve it, equally. This is a cultural structure that has been systematically set up to benefit a governmental agenda, in my view, leaving the mental and creative well being of the individual far in the rear view. I no more think that the individual is to blame for being conditioned from the earliest age to be destined for this kind of employment regiment.

    The extent to which Madoff had thoroughly ruined so many honest hard working peoples lives (very possibly a large number who lived the above mentioned life but non-the-less hard working folks), is deplorable and I feel that he should be made and example of in a harsher light. The power of terminology and rhetoric is substantial in this case, is what I think I am trying to say.

  4. myles Duncanson2.8.09

    Yeah, I was just sort of thinking more along the lines of how we're told that "we can do anything we put our minds too", and that while this statement may be true to a certain degree, i feel that it should often be coupled with some sort of cautionary statement, like your can do anything you put your mind too, as long as it is within the acceptable norms of our culture. Like they're really saying you can be a dentist or a auto mechanic depending on how hard you apply yourself, but exploring the jungles of south america, thats preposterous. I mean yeah, i totally agree with you that the 9-5ers and a prison cell are two totally different things, but i guess i was getting at more the "mental prison" that we are locked into from a young age.

  5. The following it only to play devils advocate that is all: I am assuming that by writing "locked into" you are referring into a cultural conditioning of the norms of getting a 9-5'er, and I would agree....But, by conforming to the standard job regiment, that could give someone the financial option of exploring the Amazon, for a week or so if desired, or by pursuing a standardized education in the appropriate field, one could land a 9-5'er of sorts exploring those same jungles.....

  6. myles4.8.09

    oh yeah, most deffinately. I guess i was just sort of trying to say that it seems or rather feels to me that the 9-5 mentality is more confining than anything else. One could make an arguemnt that we are encouraged not to do things that we enjoy as ocupations, but rather things that will bring better or the best financial income. As this thought is fairly far off topic from the orginal post, i figure its probaly better not to actully argue the point but rather I merly present it as a means of adding to the conversation. I dunno, there are just some time where I feel so opressed by the 9-5 lifestyle of our society, with our goals in life boiling down on a fundemental level to securing a good 401k or retiremnt plan..... I dunno, im sort of grasping at straws at this point......

  7. Straws are good, so is grasping. I agree the work mentality is more confining, directed towards bettering the economy that feeds the industrial war-profiteering complex... my humble opinion, the topics of the original post are a way to start an organic discussion and that they by no means dictate the flow or content of that discussion.